LETTER: …we don’t attack someone for something their spouse does

Dear Editor,
The Zup’s board of directors would like to respond to numerous negative comments made about us by Minnesota Senate candidate Grant Hauschild. As president of the company, I am wondering why Mr. Hauschild continues to attack a business in northeast Minnesota that has been selling groceries for the past 106 years.
Andrea Zupancich may share the same last name and be married to one of our board members, but she does not make decisions for Zup’s Incorporated. Mr. Hauschild’s attacks against her make as much sense as attacking me based on a decision my wife makes at the business she runs. I don’t know how they do things in North Dakota but in northern Minnesota we don’t attack someone for something their spouse does.
There are two attacks I would like to respond to so we can set the record straight. The first was our decision to close the Zup’s grocery store in Aurora. We kept that store open for 16 years after LTV closed. That was the beginning of the end for our 46 years of serving customers in the Aurora-Hoyt Lakes area.
When we closed the union took us to court even though we offered every employee a job in any of our other stores. We were told the union pension was unfunded by $130,000 due to a shortfall in the pension fund. The union forced us to make up the difference, even though we paid in full as agreed for 46 years. So we paid an additional $130,000 for a pension deficit that we had no part in creating.
When our grocery store in Cook burned down, all full-time employees continued to have their wages paid for an entire year. We also paid for their health insurance as well. Nobody missed a paycheck. We did the same when the Babbitt store burned. In Cook, there was an issue over pension funding. We disagreed with the union that pension payments should still be made even though people weren’t working. We could’ve just not paid anyone but these are our friends and neighbors, so we paid them even though they weren’t working while the store was being rebuilt.
We’ve been in business for 106 years and we have always tried to make the right decisions. Apparently, Mr. Hauschild enjoys attacking businesses in northeast Minnesota and making fabricated accusations. How many more small businesses will he attack if elected? We understand he has never employed people. We’ve employed tens of thousands over the past 106 years. Our company is well respected and strong supporters of our communities. No matter what happens on November 8, we will continue to employ people at our grocery stores where we are known for our great service, competitive prices and our world-famous sausage.
We look forward to serving northeast Minnesota for another 106 years.
Ed Zupancich, President
Zup’s Incorporated