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Mike and Bess SuarezMike and Bess Suarez

Mike and Bess Suarez definitely have an Austin vibe. If you've spent much time in our state's capitol, you'll know
what I mean. They exude a certain laid-back charm and creativity combined with business savvy and ambition.

Bess grew up in Athens, the daughter of prominent attorney Allen Boswell and his wife, Kim. After graduating, Bess set out for Austin where she met her soon-to-be husband.

..."We visited Central Market and Spec's all the time," said Bess," and it seemed like there was a place for a higher-brand, higher-quality, gourmet-type food and drinks in this area. We wanted to bring something with a cosmopolitan feel to town."

So they decided they would open a gourmet food, wine and beer retail store in Athens and call it "Come and Take It." ...Their Facebook page is pepped with comments such as, "Just visited Athens' newest cool place to shop," and "Everything we need all in one place. A very cool and chic Austin atmosphere."

"People walk in here and stand in front of the cooler and say, "Wow," said Bess. The wow factor has to do with their huge selection of craft beers, wide variety of wines and abundant gourmet food and specialty items, including local items such as bread and cheeses. "We not only have specialty items from Europe, but from people like the baker down the street."

...To be clear, Come and Take It isn't a restaurant, though they do have tables where customers are welcome to sit and enjoy a lunch or dinner meal found in the cooler. As an example of the premium Mike and Bess place on quality, a turkey sandwich taken from the cold case is made from turkey roasted in the store's kitchen. And a recent grab-n-go dinner consisted of spice-rubbed roasted chicken with couscous and roasted French beans. No gas station corn dogs found here.

"Customer service is so bad most places these days. We want people to come in here and have a refreshing experience," said Bess. Mike agreed. "We want them to come in here, and when they leave, the can't wait to come back." - Fly the Flag, Texas

© 2013 Come and Take It
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