By Steve Browne
When Michelle Grannes went to the bank in Belview last November she wasn't thinking of buying a business.
"I heard somebody say, 'Is anybody buying the Hope Market in Echo?'" Grannes said.
Her curiosity piqued, Grannes asked a friend whose father works in maintenance for the city and found the current renters were getting out of the business. Michelle Grannes and her husband, David, contacted the store's owner, Corlys Chase.
"Twelve days later we closed," Grannes said.
Since the Echo Restaurant and Bar burned down two years ago, the market in Echo has been the only place in town people could sit down for coffee or a bite to eat. Grannes saw a need in the community for a meeting place and a place to buy good food at competitive prices.
Grannes and her husband have a 5-acre farm near Belview where they raise fresh produce for market.
"We started a produce business seven years ago to supply farmers' markets and retail outlets through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)," Grannes said. "There's a call for a grocery store and not a convenience store in a small town and we'd like to appeal to people with prices and selection. I'd like to be able to hone in on what they need beyond a bag of chips and a pizza."
Lily's Hope Market is open seven days a week and serves soup and sandwiches from 11 a.m. until the food runs out.
As for plans for the future, "Bottom line, keep the doors open," Grannes said.
And, by the way, the name change is for the Grannes' 8-year-old daughter, Lily, who is already helping out in the store.
"She thinks it's great," Grannes said.