Zup’s Cook Food Market lost to fire

City’s only grocery store hopes to re-build

Photo by Tom Pearson

Sometimes tragedy hits more than once. Having buried Happy Joe Zupancich, the patriarch of the sausage departments for Zup’s Foods, two weeks ago,the family’s Cook, MN store was declared a total loss after suffering a major fire Monday night and into Tuesday.
Around 8:45 p.m. Monday, the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office received a report of the structure fire at Zup’s. A sheriff’s deputy was on the scene within a minute and called for mutual aid. The store was not open and there were no injuries.
“Our community is suffering the loss of an anchor business. Our hearts are with Matt Zupancich and the Zupancich family, the employees of the store, and our residents who shop there daily,” said Cook Mayor Harold Johnston in a press release Tuesday. “Cook is a close-knit community. We will all come together to get through this loss,”reported the Mesabi Daily News.
The help from the close-knit community of Cook was praised by Jim Zupancich of the Ely store.
“The people of Cook are such good people. It would be a shame if we didn’t rebuild. We have to rebuild,” said Zupancich. “We have a group of 12 business owners and the general consensus is that we want to rebuild.”
Gary Albertson of the Cook New Herald reported that the local McDonald’s stayed open to provide food and beverages to firefighters.
“Right now we are working and speaking with the insurance company,” said Jim Zupancich. “We don’t have logistics of the fire or extend of the damage. We are just so glad that no one got hurt and no one was in building at time of the fire. We don’t know extent of fire but may have been total loss — but we are crossing fingers.”
Zup’s Food Markets are also found in Babbitt, Ely, Silver Bay and Tower, MN.