Congratulations to Zup’s

There were a lot of Zupancich family members gathered in Ely Thursday morning. The reason? Celebrating the official opening of the new Zup’s Food Market in Ely.
This was truly a monumental project that was two years in the making. Zup’s and Ely Northland Market would be combined into one super store where Shopko once operated.
On Thursday there were speeches, congratulations and a ribbon cutting. It was the icing on the cake. The story really began 106 years ago when Grandpa John bought the original market back in 1916 from Ely grocer Frank Jenko. It was located on the southeast corner of Third Avenue East and Sheridan Street.
Grandpa John and his sons Joseph, Eddie, Ludwig, Bill, Leonard, Albert and John Jr. would operate the business, featuring their “old world” sausage selection.
Jim Zupanich Jr. started his speech telling that story of how seven brothers and their sister Angela were looking down from heaven on what a grand store was being opened.
Buying Ely Northland Market from Jim and Donna Richards was a key part of the move to the east side of town, along with selling their building and the old Zup’s store to Eagle Wolf Development, owned by Jay and Jacki Bregier-Poshak, who are now working on renovations.
Then it was a matter of scheduling so there would continue to be one grocery store open. The Zup’s store closed first and we all shopped at Northland Market for a time until the new Zup’s store was ready to be unveiled.
All of that was celebrated on Thursday, where Mark Phillips of the IRRRB and Ely mayor Roger Skraba thanked the Zupancich family for their investment not only in Ely, but in Cook, Tower, Babbitt and Silver Bay as well.
Both Cook and Babbitt know what it’s like to not have a grocery store when fires left them without a place to buy food. Just in case you’re wondering, the Ely Fire Department held a training session at the new Zup’s store recently to familiarize themselves just in case something happens. Let’s pray it never does.
It’s going to be a busy summer by all counts and Zup’s is going to be tasked to handle all of the traffic that is sure to come their way. Already they have purchased a chunk of land to expand their parking lot. Skraba mentioned on Thursday that another city-owned parcel is also being looked at to sell to the company, putting the land back on the tax roles.
Thursday’s event was about thanking all of the people who helped make the new store happen, from the “bologna brothers” in the meat department to each department in the store along with suppliers, family and friends.
Congratulations to the Zupancich family on a magnificent project!