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ELY – The community’s major grocery businesses will merge later next year following Zup’s Food Markets’ purchase of Ely Northland Market. The announcement, made last Wednesday …
ELY – The community’s major grocery businesses will merge later next year following Zup’s Food Markets’ purchase of Ely Northland Market. The announcement, made last Wednesday after the Timberjay’s deadline, referred to the pending deal as a partnership, and clears the way for Zup’s to renovate and move into the former Shopko building later in 2021.
Zup’s will purchase Ely Northland Market in early 2021, and both stores will remain open until the new 32,000 square-foot facility is ready, according to a press release.
Once the purchase is final, employees from both stores will merge as co-workers under one roof.
“It makes perfect sense,” said Donna Richards, who along with her husband Jim bought Northland Market in 2003. “The best of both stores are moving into one.”
Zup’s has about 50 employees while Northland Market has a staff of about 30.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Jim Zupancich Jr. “As a family, we’re excited and our employees are excited as well.”
Earlier this month, Zup’s announced the purchase of the Shopko building and its plans to move to the east end of town. The purchase of Ely Northland Market has reportedly been in the talking stages for years.
Plans have Zup’s eyeing a September opening date for the merged businesses at the Shopko facility.
Exclusive product lines popular at Ely Northland Market, including their specialty items and sausages from its meat department, will move to the new store, according to Richards and Zupancich. Ely Northland Market and Zup’s purchase from separate grocery warehouses and that will continue, they added.
Once the grocery operations consolidate in one location, Richards said that customers who enjoy products from both stores will “now have that shopping experience all in one. It’s a win-win really.”
“There may be some ways to save money that will reduce costs for the company and therefore we can probably reduce our prices as well,” Zupancich said. “There’s really not going to be any changes until we move into Shopko together. We’re going to have the best of both worlds. Once we get this new store together it will be the employees from Northland Market and our employees, and we will work together as one big group. We want to keep everything, and if we can better it in any way, we’re going to do it.”
While Northland Market will fall under the Zup’s umbrella, the Richards will retain their popular “JR’s Beef” business.
With the purchase of the Shopko building, Zup’s will nearly double its square footage. Zupancich Brothers Inc. is exploring other options, in addition to groceries, for the space, including dry goods and a pharmacy.
Both grocers acknowledged the loyalty and support of Ely area customers that has allowed both stores to thrive.
“The (Ely) community has supported Zup’s and Northland and we’re very grateful for that,” Zupancich said. “I think this move will help this community because we’re going to be able to provide increased variety and lower prices.”
Both the current Zup’s store, built in 1983, and the Northland Market building, formerly known as Joe’s IGA, will go on the market.
Zupancich Brothers Inc. owns stores in Ely, Babbitt, Tower, Silver Bay and Cook.
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