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Zupan's Markets celebrate 40 years

The family-owned gourmet market has seen many changes

STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE  - Mike Zupan poses in the produce section of the Lake Grove store, one of the signature sections of the store. Now celebrating 40 years of business, Zupans is known for high-quality local produce, beautifully arranged by staff members, and its showcase of meats and seafoods plus specialty items.

Love Your Food.

Eat Well.

Put Taste First.

Those are the credos of Zupan’s Markets, which sum up what the local grocery store has been promoting for the past 40 years. The independent grocery is owned by Mike Zupan, who began his grocery career at a tender age at father John Zupan’s store in Gresham.

“I was about 8 or 9 when my dad bought Zimm’s in Gresham,” Mike Zupan said. “I started working counting bottles and crushing boxes.” He said he has seen many changes over the past 40 years, among them the rise of a savvier shopper.

“Consumers really want to know about their food and the education of consumers is a good thing,” he said. “Everyone wants to know where their food is raised. Not all of it has to be organic, but they want to know how it is processed. They want local food that is fresh and healthier.”

Zupan says he is a foodie; he loves to cook and eat, loves to travel and learn about the foods of the regions to which he travels. His employees tend to share those same passions.

“Our staff is knowledgeable and self-trained,” he said. “They love engaging customers with new products.”

Zupan’s is known for its high quality produce, meat and seafood, what Zupan calls “the center of the plate.”

“The meal starts there. What’s fresh?” says Zupan. “We were one of the first companies to carry all-natural, no-antibiotic meats, and certainly, produce is a signature department. It all started in produce, working with local farmers and buying local products. I think customers started to like what they were seeing in those categories and wanted it in all the other products, your mainline grocery and deli, or frozen or canned products.”

He said consumers are reading labels more than ever before and when he and his team are presented with a new product to place on store shelves, one of the first things they do is read the label and ask questions about how it is manufactured and processed.

Discovery is a big part of shopping at Zupan’s. New products, gadgets and interesting foods are continually being introduced, many with the changing of the seasons. Prior to Halloween you could find unique fruits such as Buddha’s hand fruit, pink variegated lemons and kefir limes, which produce team members enjoyed sharing with customers.

Other specialty items are Zupan’s branded products including a balsamic vinegar, mozzarella cheese, house-made sausages and sauces and more. And in honor of the 40th anniversary Zupan’s partnered with three local vendors to create special anniversary treats including a one-of-a-kind Farm-to-Market IPA with Coalition Brewing; Summer of ’75 cookies with Bluebird Bakers and an Anniversary Ice Cream with Lopez Island Creamery, vanilla ice cream loaded with organic blueberries, raspberries and gourmet dark chocolate chunks.

When asked to what he credited the store’s longevity and success, Zupan said they are always looking at what they can do better.

“We listen to people and create a dialogue with our customers. That’s something I learned from my dad,” he said. “Cooking is sharing. Food should not be a belly filler. Quantity isn’t the main factor, quality is satisfying. We’ve built our business for profit but it is also customer driven. We are people driven to take care of people. If you like food and like people you’ll enjoy shopping here.”

The Lake Oswego Zupan’s Market is located at 16380 Boones Ferry Road. Other stores are located in Portland at 7221 S.W. Macadam Ave., 3301 S.E. Belmont St. and 2340 S.W. Burnside St.

Learn more online at Zupans.com.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com.

Mike Zupan and his staff enjoy sharing new foods with customers  and consider shopping as discovery sessions.