Plans firm up to rebuild Zup's grocery in Babbitt
Babbitt will have a grocery store again, although the timing isn't certain. "I'd like to say it's going to be done in six months, but I can't say that's definitely going to happen," said Ed Zupancich, a member of the family that owns Zup's grocer...
Babbitt will have a grocery store again, although the timing isn't certain.
"I'd like to say it's going to be done in six months, but I can't say that's definitely going to happen," said Ed Zupancich, a member of the family that owns Zup's grocery stores on the Iron Range and manager of the Babbitt store that was destroyed in a Sept. 24 fire.
The Ely-based company, Zupancich Brothers Inc., intended to rebuild from the start, Zupancich said, but didn't officially reach the decision until Monday. Design will be done by Nash Finch Co. of St. Cloud, Minn., the Zup's Stores' suppliers.
"We're a big buyer from them, so they don't want to lose our business any longer than they have to," Zupancich said.
The fire destroyed Babbitt Drug Store as well as Zup's and damaged five other businesses, all of which were part of a downtown shopping plaza owned by Zupancich Brothers. Babbitt, population 1,475, has no other drugstore or grocery store.
Pharmacist Frank Jaeger has told Babbitt residents he wouldn't reopen his drugstore. But the Zupancich family hopes to fill that gap.
"Our plan is to offer a pharmacy," Zupancich said. "I can't tell you
100 percent that that's going to happen, but that's definitely something that we'd like to do."
Cause of the fire still hasn't been determined, but it has been ruled "not suspicious," a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal's office said Wednesday. Damage was about $1 million, Zupancich said.
Two of the damaged stores --a salon and a laundromat --already have reopened, Zupancich said. A third, Kel's Kitchen, should be ready to open soon. The US Bank branch and Maximum Fitness are being remodeled.
The closest grocery and drugstores to Babbitt now are in Ely, a 30-mile round trip. On the day of the fire, a family spokesman talked about the possibility of providing a mobile grocery outlet or a transit option. But Zupancich said Arrowhead Transit already offers suitable service between Ely and Babbitt.
Cause of Saginaw fire unknown
Meanwhile, the state fire marshal's office said it probably will never know the cause of a fire that destroyed the home of a Saginaw pastor's family.
The home on Bergstrom Junction Road belonging to Brad and Brooke Shannon already was a total loss when a FedEx driver discovered it about 9 a.m. Sept. 17. The Shannons, who have three children, had left at 5 p.m. the day before.
Cause of the fire is officially undetermined, the spokeswoman said, although the case is not closed. There was nothing left but the chimney for the fire marshal's office to look at, she said.
Brad Shannon is pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Saginaw. Brooke Shannon is clerk of Grand Lake Township.