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Fire destroys Zup’s in Cook, Minn., leaving small town without a grocery store

November 13, 2018

Fire has destroyed the Zups grocery store in Cook, Minn., part of a family-owned chain that has served small towns north and west of Duluth for more than 100 years.

The business caught fire after closing Monday and burned throughout the night, as numerous fire crews from miles around battled the flames in temperatures in the single digits above zero.

Authorities say the building on the main road through town is a total loss, leaving Cook without a grocery store.

I am so sorry for the residents of Cook, said state Rep. Rob Ecklund, whose district includes the city of about 570 residents. What a devastating loss for the community. Thankfully, there were no injuries.

Fire officials are investigating the cause.

As temperatures fell through the night, the nearby McDonalds remained open to allow firefighters to warm up.

The first Zups Food Market opened in Ely in 1916, when John Zupanich bought the original store. For decades, the store has been known for its homemade sausage. Five more Zups eventually opened, in Babbitt, Aurora, Tower, Silver Bay and Cook. The Zups in Aurora closed in 2016 after 40 years, a victim of lagging sales and rising costs.

The stores remained in the family, with management now in the hands of Zupanichs great-grandsons.

This story is developing.

Paul Walsh 612-673-4482

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