Zup's buys old Shopko, plans move into new Ely store in fall 2021

The family owners of the grocery store say they'll specialize in sausage and bring dry goods, like bedding and some clothing, into the new store.


A vacant Shopko building in Ely has familiar new ownership with plans to reopen the facility, said a Wednesday news release.

Zup’s Food Markets, a well-known grocer on the Iron Range, made the purchase Monday with an intent to revive the facility.

Jim Zupancich Jr., one of the owners, confirmed purchase of the 30,000-square-foot facility at 1500 E. Sheridan St.

“(W)e’re looking at a future expansion to that location,” he said in a statement. “We plan to work with the city of Ely and (Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation) to bring our world-class sausage facility to the building.”

Zupancich thanked state Sen. Tom Bakk, state Rep. Rob Ecklund, St. Louis County Commissioner Paul McDonald and IRRR Commissioner Mark Phillips for their work on the company’s behalf.


The goal is for Zup’s to move into the Shopko building by September, Zupancich said.

“We’re moving slowly and looking at all options for that space,” he said. “This includes dry goods such as sheets, bedding, socks and underwear. We want to be able to provide items that Shopko did carry and make it convenient for people to shop locally.”

Zupancich Brothers Inc. owns stores in Ely, Babbitt, Tower, Silver Bay and Cook.

“When we go to that building we want to make sure we have everything ready to go,” he said. “We have contacted different companies, including banks and pharmacies, to see what would work in that space.”

As for the company’s current building at 303 E. Sheridan St., no commitments have been made to purchase it, but there are interested parties, Zupancich said.

The facility on Ely’s east end is much larger than Zup’s current store, which is 17,000 square feet and was built in 1983.

“We’re doing what we can to make this move a good one for our community,” Zupancich said.

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