COOK- At 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, people driving by the new Cook Zup’s might have wondered if the store was still there. A voluminous, glowing cloud of dust kicked up by a front loader scurrying …
COOK- At 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, people driving by the new Cook Zup’s might have wondered if the store was still there. A voluminous, glowing cloud of dust kicked up by a front loader scurrying around doing last-minute work around the parking lot entrance almost completely obscured the view from the street.
Fifteen minutes later the dust had cleared, and store manager Matt Zupancich stood at the front doors greeting the first customers to the long-awaited re-opening of Cook’s only full-service grocery store.
Jim and Sandi Boutto of Cook latched onto a grocery cart and made their way to the fully-stocked fresh produce section, all the while looking around and taking in all the newness.
“It’s beautiful, I tell you,” Sandi said. “It’s just very nice.”
“It feels good, nice and new,” Jim said. “We needed this.”
Zup’s employee Gage Koskovich was stocking bananas nearby and took a moment to greet the Bouttos. He said he wasn’t surprised to see them there early.
“I know him and his brother,” Koskovich said. “I talked to him yesterday at the mill, the other place I work, and he was all excited for the big opening. I’m excited to see everybody coming back in again. That’s my favorite part.”
The Bouttos continued shopping as about a dozen more early risers walked in and followed suit. Some dashed in, bought one or two items, and dashed back out, while others took a more leisurely approach.
There were choices aplenty for the Bouttos when they reached the fresh meat department, a signature feature of Zup’s Markets. After carefully considering his options, Jim tossed a package into the basket.
“Yeah, steaks tonight for supper,” he grinned.
While the store appeared ready to go to the customers, employees were busy in various areas of the store still stocking and arranging things. Deli and catering manager Dee Conkey said she was “super excited” to be back in Cook welcoming customers to Zup’s.
“I helped them do the actual groundbreaking with the first store, and now I’m here at the new store. The deli is at least four times bigger than it used to be. We’re going to take it back to what Zup’s is known for – fresh, homemade, handmade items.”
By midafternoon Wednesday, Zupancich couldn’t say enough good things about the opening.
“It’s been a wonderful reception,” he said. “People are happy to see our co-wokers, and they’re ecstatic with how the store looks, with how it shops, and how we’re operating.”
It hasn’t been perfectly smooth, but glitches have been minor, Zupancich said.
“All fixable things, and people have been very patient,” he said.
Zupancich said his returning staff members were responsible for training younger new staff before the store opened, and the whole crew has performed well.
“The staff has been fantastic,” he said. “For some younger people to step in and get trained in two days, they’re doing an excellent job.”