7 Wonders of

Shaheen's IGA


It was right in front of my eyes...

After high school I was, like most young adults, ready to get as far away from my hometown as possible and create experiences on my own. During my first week at college, I was busy meeting new people and planting new roots. But of all the conversations I had that week, it was one about my hometown that still makes me smile when I think about it.

The conversation was with a junior from Long Island, NY. During introductions, she asked the common question of where I was from. Rather than trying to explain where Tupper Lake was, I simply stated, "The Adirondacks." After all, I was eighteen and so ready to escape my hometown that I truly believed some cool twenty-year-old Long Island girl would never know where Tupper Lake was. Heck, she might not even know what I meant when I said, "Adirondacks" -- really I should have just said, "Upstate."

To my surprise, however, she did in fact know where the Adirondacks were, and she even delivered a follow up: "Oh, cool... where about? I used to camp in the Adirondacks every summer with my family." When I informed her that I was from Tupper Lake, I was stunned by her response. "Tupper Lake! Really? That is the town that has the cool IGA that carries your groceries out for you! What's the name... I know it starts with an S... Shaheen's."

When you think of the things that are cool, unique, and maybe even a little remarkable about your hometown (especially from a traveler's perspective) the last thing you think about is your grocery store!

Nearly fifteen years later, a lot has changed in my life. For one, I'm back in my hometown of Tupper Lake - a place that rather than dreaming of escaping from, I actually catch myself at least once a day thinking about how lucky I am to be able to live, work, and raise a family here. But the one thing that I do sometimes still take for granted is just how cool Shaheen's IGA is. It's mostly because after a while, it just becomes the everyday norm (and as a mom of 3 hungry kids - going to the grocery store is pretty much a daily norm). Thankfully however, I still have that brief conversation with a stranger from Long Island to remind me just how remarkable my hometown grocer is.

Welcome to Shaheen's IGA

Shaheen's IGA - Our hometown grocer located at 252 Park Street in Tupper Lake, NY.

Located on Park Street in Tupper Lake, Shaheen's IGA is more than just a grocery store... it's a landmark, a integral part of the community, and a friendly reminder of what life in a small town is about. Shaheen's (Yes, locally you rarely ever hear someone say "IGA") isn't just a staple for residents, it is the one-stop-shop for campers, hikers, and travelers as they pop in to grab everything they need for for their next Adirondack adventure. But what makes this store stand apart isn't just the great selection they have packed on their shelves, it's the uniqueness that makes it stand apart enough to have someone remember their shopping experience for years to come.

The 7 Wonders of Shaheen's IGA

1. 90 years - 4 generations

In an era of Wal-Mart, Cosco, and Sam's Club (and endless other chain grocers), family-owned mom & pop grocery stores are somewhat of an endangered species -- which in itself says something about Shaheen's IGA. Founded in 1926 by a family from Lebanon, Shaheen's IGA is about to celebrate their 90th anniversary. The 4th generation of family is now working in the store. Odds are that no mater what time of day it is when you stop into Shaheen's, you will most likely find one or more from the Shaheen family working the floor alongside their countless employees. So, whether you are a local grabbing some milk or a visitor replenishing your travel snacks, among the many friendly faces that look up to greet you, a Shaheen is most likely among them.

2. One awesome deli!

At first glance, it might not look like anything special -- but trust me, you need to take a second look. Beyond all of the different deli meats and cheeses being cut to order by more friendly faces, you will find subs, sandwiches and salads. The salads are a hit! All 100% homemade -- yes, none of that over processed pre-made potato salad glop here! These are a savior for last minute dinners or grab-and-go picnics. I'd tell you my favorite, but there are too many.

The salad selection at Shaheen's stands well above your average supermarket deli salad selection.

Then there are the subs, sandwiches, and wraps. Now, I'm afraid to let this secret out of the bag -- for fear of creating more congestion near the deli counter -- but if you are looking for a high quality sandwich, large portions, and a great price, Shaheen's Deli will not disappoint. I've learned my lesson and unless I want to make two meals out of it... I opt for the sandwich roll, because trust me, they don't go light on anything!

Need to refuel? This sandwich should do the trick!

3. Craft beer selection looks fantastic!

Not an item out of place in the beer cooler... ever!

From the deli, you approach the beer selection. My husband and I often joke about the beer selection at Shaheen's. Not because it is a joke, but actually the contrary. First, for a smaller grocery store, it offers a larger selection of both domestic and craft beer than most large chain grocers. And as a craft beer fan... this is definitely a perk. But what really baffles us is how good the display case always looks. Seriously, I think they must restock the beer cooler every 5 minutes so that every customer has the experience of picking their beverage of choice without the distraction of what the last person chose.

Paul Shaheen found blocking the beer shelf! Thanks for recommending the Raquette River Brewing's Stout... it is one of my favorites.

4. World's Greatest Sausage!

Busy behind the scenes making the famous "Joe's Italian Hot Sausage"

Shaheen's is home to what most will agree might just be the world's greatest sausage. But before I get to that, we need to talk about the meat selection in general, because that alone is pretty remarkable! Unlike some large chain supermarkets, Shaheen's IGA still has a butcher and you can choose to get fresh cut meat from their meat rack or custom order your selection just about anyway you would like. But one item you won't need to custom order is the sausage; the famous house sausage, a/k/a "Joe's Sausage," truly is some of the best Italian Sweet and Hot Sausage you will ever find. Whether you are using if for grilled sausage with peppers and onions or grabbing some to put in sauces, soups, or on pizza - consider yourself warned. Once you have the homemade sausage at Shaheen's you will be ruined from ever having run-of-the-mill sausage again! Also in the line of sausage you'll find Joe's XTRA hot with jalapenos, and a milder breakfast sausage.

5. The secret to fast checkout lines...

Another surprise that you will find when you first walk in is that there are only 2 & 1/2 checkout lanes. So your initial thought, especially on a busy summer afternoon is: I'm going to be in here forever! Trust me, when it is time to checkout your mind will change so go get what you need! Okay, got it all... now go check out.

As you approach the checkout lanes you realize the lines are moving pretty quickly - but the shocker hasn't happened yet because you are busy unloading your items from the cart to the counter. Okay, now you are done and you look up... What? Are they pushing buttons? Seriously, are they really typing prices on the items in manually? Where is the fancy scanner thing that is supposed to make everything faster, easier and is simply the commonly accepted system by all stores?

No UBS scanner? No problem... we are faster than that!

Yup, there are no fancy bar code scanners at Shaheen's IGA, and you know what, I truly think they have proved it is faster.

6. "Would you like help out with that?"

How fast the cashier checks out your order isn't the only surprise you will find in the checkout lane. Next comes the bagger who, if you have a large order, will automatically start loading it it into a bagger cart so that they can help you out and load them into your vehicle for you. If it is a smaller order that can be carried on its own, no matter the size, you will still be asked "would you like help out with that?" This brings us back to that conversation I had a decade and a half ago -- a carry out is not a thing of the past at Shaheen's, it is the norm!

Service with a smile! (or in this case: you're crazy - get the camera out of my face, please!)

7. "Have a good one!?"

Yes, this one really makes me wonder! When you leave Shaheen's, it seems like your parting greeting always is the same: "Have a good one!" In all my trips in and out of Shaheen's (a number I never want to know) I think the traditional "have a good day/evening/night," has never echoed from the mouth of one of the cashiers or baggers. I doubt that they have been trained that way, it may just be something that started with one bagger or cashier and quickly got passed along without them even being aware. But cause of the greeting aside, it works! Just like you get to custom order your sandwich from the deli and your meat from the butcher, it is only fitting that you get to leave and choose what kind of "good one" you are going to make of the rest of your day, evening, weekend or vacation.

Before your next adventure

Whether you are planning to go ice fishing on Simon Pond, camping at nearby Fish Creek or Blue Jay Campsite, or hiking to an area mountain peak, Shaheen's IGA is sure to have all your essentials & a friendly face to go with it. So before you start your next big Adirondack adventure, make sure to stop in to this one-of-a-kind grocery store, grab what you need and then continue along to "have a good ______" (fill in the blank as you see fit: meal, picnic, hike, ride, adventure, etc.).

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Sub Sandwich

I always look forward to getting a Sub Sandwich from Shaheen's every time I come home. You better be hungry if you get one though because they are not only delicious, they are HUGE.

Couldn't agree more!

You are 100% right, Mark... the subs & sandwich from Shaheen's Deli are huge! I've learned my lesson and unless I want to get 2-3 meals out of it, I opt for the sandwich over the subs. Can't beat the price either.

Shaheens Grocery store


Shaheen's market, Tupper Lake, NY

This was a well written article and so true of the Shaheen's shopping experience!

Very nice article and so true

Very nice article and so true! Shaheen's has definitely passed the test of time ! Tupper Lake is fortunate to have this establishment!


Agree totally with your musings on the reality of this little gem. I grew up in Tupper Lake and remember delivering Coca-Cola and Utica Club beer from our local business. The family who runs the store have incredible work ethic and values. A a customer they were always tough negotiators and inspired great service. As a consumer I find them friendly, accommodating and extremely friendly. Clearly the culture of the entire store has been influenced by the family. Shaheen's IGA is good for Tupper Lake and Tupper Lake is good for the Shaheen's.

Well said, Charlie

I have to agree that not only is Shaheen's IGA good for Tupper Lake, but the family behind the store is really incredible! Great people, great service, great community!

Tupper Lake ny The friendly village

Yes this is the real family food store and I helped deliver the beer and coke cola worked for your family. The friendly Family place to work (Utica Club, Shultz and Douley).


My Dad always bought his meat at Shaheens. They have the best quality meat around!


We have been campers in Tupper Lake, and The meats at Shaheen's are superb. We have made the 2.5hr ride, just to get meat, chicken, ground meat, steaks. Its worth every penny


Always loved shopping there when I lived in Tupper. Best meat around! I'd tell Joe that I need a certain size cut prime rib and he'd have it wrapped and even seasoned for me...all I had to do was put it in the oven! And no one could make mac n cheese like him! Love his sausage, too. When my mother would visit she had to have some of his kibi (sp?) because she couldn't get it anywhere else. All the Shaheens were always so nice and helpful. Before I lived in Tupper, we had camped at Rollins Pond for many years and had always stopped at Shaheens for that last bit of fresh food and groceries so was already familiar with them by the time we moved to Tuppper permanently. Congratulations on 90yrs of being such a landmark and touchstone for the small town of Tupper Lake. Where I live now could take a few lessons from this family on how to be a good business. Thanks for such good memories!

Thanks for sharing, Chris

The Adirondacks are lucky to have such a great family running such an amazing operation here in Tupper Lake. Sometimes we forget just how lucky we are. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

Shaheen's Market

One of the finest little home town stores to be found anywhere. Friendly service and you don't have to carry out your goods. Don't find that in many markets anywhere

Very true!

Markets like Shaheen's IGA are truly a rare find. We are very lucky to have such a high quality establishment here in Tupper Lake.

Love Shaheen's ham salad

every summer when I first arrive, I go directly to Shaheen's for a big tub of ham salad and a couple of croghan bolognas!

Friendly Staff

You are always greeted with a big hello and a smile...No matter where you are I the store there is always a friendly smile from the staff and they make you feel so welcome!!

Shaheen's Market and Shaheen's Motel

I have driven through Tupper Lake too many times to count. I grew up on the west side of the ADKs and lived in Plattsburgh for four years of college and then five years beyond college. Now I live in Vermont and still commute "back home." Tupper has always been a day trip for skiing, or a pit stop while traveling, usually at McDonald's, Stewarts or Nice and Easy, but while driving back last Memorial Day my car started making a very strange noise. Since it was a holiday, no service stations were open. I stopped at the parking lot next to Shaheen's market and two very helpful gentlemen stopped to help me try to diagnose my car's noise. One followed me to a service station (closed) and waited while I called the emergency number. He and I decided it was probably not safe to drive the rest of the way to Vermont, so I stopped at Shaheen's Motel for the night. I was pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness and up-to-date motel room. I parked my car and walked to Shaheen's Market for food. Unfortunately, the amazing deli was closed and the store was closing very soon after I got there. I wish I'd had more time to wander around the market. Stocked with everything one would need, I found supplies for the evening. Everyone was so helpful, accommodating, and kind to a stranded traveler. My time there has convinced me that my husband and I need to go over for at least a weekend stay. And, whether we stay or take a pit stop, we'll make sure we try the deli next time!

2 great establishments

Sorry to hear you had car trouble, Joanne, but happy to hear that you were able to turn what most would consider to be a horrible experience into a positive one. It's also nice to hear about the kind people that were able to give you a hand while you were down on your luck - it's stories like these that remind me how lucky we are to live in a small community where people still help one another. You are also right about Shaheen's Motel -- the Doolen's do a fantastic job and take great pride in maintaining their property and making sure every visitor has a positive experience. I hope you do return on better circumstances and enjoy some time in Tupper lake (and of course a great sub)!


I had a couple of friends stopping by from out of town & wanted to give them a treat. I went to Jim ( meat Man) &ordered a sirloin 1 1/2 thick. When the friends ate it they could not believe how good it was. I grew up w/ a home town butcher & Shaheens is the same, Kudos to the market & staff.

Shaheens subs

Been staying in Tupper Lake for quite a few years now and have shopped periodically at Shaheens.I am from Binghamton NY and was just in the area this past weekend.I was headed out on a hike and the weather turned nasty so I changed my plans and decided to go into Shaheens and get a sub.I shopped there several times but never thought of buying one.The lady asked me how I wanted it and I told her.I said I had to get a few more things and will be right back.I returned less than five minuets later and it was on the counter waiting for me.I was surprised at how big it was,paid for my things and went back to the Red Topp Inn(my hotel)and proceeded to devour the entire thing.I was sorry I never bought one before,and will surely return for another.....truly one of the last grocery stores that "do it right"!!!Thanks Shaheens!

Thanks for sharing!

Sorry to hear that the weather didn't cooperate, however I am happy to hear that the sub turned things around. You are right, the deli at Shaheen's sure does turn them out fast! Hopefully next time you will be able to enjoy a sub & a hike.

Shaheens Market

Best market we could ever have. Wonderful food and the friendliest people working there.


a legend, as was Normans Store in Bloomingdale!! Whtiney grandparents had camp on Rainbow Lake- we live in Seattle now- but will be up country in June! Adirondack Motel in Saranac!


Worked on filling in the wash outs on the railroad back in 2000 when a new friend, Wayne, introduced me Shaheen's shrimp salad...awesome! Did all my shopping there that summer and had many great BBQ with my Tupper Lake friends. Hope all is well.

meat n salads

We always go there travel 100 miles visit family and stock up on our meat its the best fresh cuts ..We make special trip there in summer The Salads are fresh homemade all the time . The people are friendly always a smile and nice chat .We get the lunch meat rolls and salads on way home stop at park by water eat lunch better than gong to Mac ds junk food. Tupper Lake is great place to visit Shaheens IGA is the only food store there and it's the best


Our summer camp was on Rainbow Lake - 68 yrs. Aftre visiting my hometown Buffalo, stayed with my brother & siser-in-law who live in Tupper year-round. Stopped in Shaheens as I forgot to buy Nance's mustard to take back to Tucson with me. Found it and was pleasantly surprised to find Dos Equis. Only drink Mexican beer now that I'm in AZ. We do have some friendly supermarkets out here. Safeway usually asks if you "need help out". Check us out.

Fresh Fruit and Veggie Oaisis

We summer down the road a bit in Cranberry. Grocery shopping can be a challenge, especially for fresh fruit and veggies, unless you want to head out of the park to Potsdam or Canton.. These guys and gals provide a great place to meet our needs !It is a small store, but they manage to carry and keep on hand fresh provisions that keep us happy! That is beside the great subs and a huge can of iced green tea which is our usual lunch when we head out of the sticks into Tupper! Thanks and keep up the great work!


Worked on filling in the wash outs on the railroad back in 2000 when a new friend, Wayne, introduced me Shaheen's shrimp salad...awesome! Did all my shopping there that summer and had many great BBQ with my Tupper Lake friends. Hope all is well.

Grape Leaves

The IGA deli offered some delicious traditional Lebanese delicacies back in the day. It was my introduction to Middle Eastern cuisine.
Some years ago I was introduced to stuffed grape leaves and loved them so much I wanted to make them at home. I called Shaheens' to ask if they carried the grape leaves and the fellow on the phone said, no, but I think my grandpa has some in the freezer. The next day he brought in a Tupperware container full of grape leaves that had been picked earlier that summer and gave them to me free of charge.
The Shaheens take care of their customers and are such a positive reflection of the community. Shaheens' IGA represents the heart of Tupper Lake.

Always pass by, always wanted to stop, now we will

We are aspiring 46ers, and I always have my eye on Shaheens when we pass by. That and the Beth Joseph Synagogue. This summer we will slow down to visit both.


Just before Christmas, several years ago, my daughter and I were displaced from our home due to a fire. We spent several weeks in a motel while our home was being repaired. The shaheens were kind enough to send some wonderful Lebanese food. You wouldn't find that in a big city.

Meat in butcher shop.

Any way you want a special piece of meat cut, deboned, seasoned. They do the best they can do to acomadate all of us.
A very well run store and the catering platters are great.
Thank you for your services. We appreciate you all. HAPPY NEW YEAR YOU GUYS.

LOVE Shaheen's. I drive 75 miles one way to shop there!

OH YUh. One of my 7 wonders of the Adks. is Shaheen's beer pile and another are the incredibly awesome wraps they make! LOVE that imported Mexican beer! Thank You!!  :)


My Mother has shopped there for 60 years. She no longer can get out on her own so my sister and daughter and niece get her groceries for her. She writes her list by aisle from memory. Thanks Shaheens for your consistency. When I told my Mom about this article she had a few memories of Shaheens. One that I thought was an especially nice one is that when a regular shopper had a death in their family Shaheens would send food they thought the family would need, no charge. Don't know if they still do this. Nice to think of in this day and time.


Best business run by greatest family...true Home Town Jewel!!

Xxx hot sausage

Omg the best sausage ever wish I could get some shipped to Florida

Love this store! They have

Love this store! They have the best meat than any other store I have ever been to! The workers are great and you always feel welcome when you walk in the door!

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