Tucked away just off a side street, a few steps from Athens Square, resides a diamond in the rough. Come and Take It, a retail specialty "convenience" store with an upscale groove, makes for an exciting, unique shopping experience.
Proprietors, Mike and Bess Suarez, have created a store, specializing in craft beers and fine wines. Since opening five years ago, growth and design has brought about many more artisan additions. You will find local crafters products such as, candles, premium meats, cheeses, coffee, delectable pies, ice cream, unusual gifts, and much more.
The Suarez's were living in Austin, where Mike has been a life-long resident, but were looking to move. "We needed a plan," Mike said, "and this is what we came up with," he finished. Lovers of fine wines and craft beer, they began to look at building in Athens, Bess's home town. Plans were based around creating a shop like the ones they liked to shop at in Austin. "Something with nicer things, different kinds of products that people don't see. So that's what really sparked it," Bess related.
Mike is fascinated by Texas History, so of the business name Come and Take It he said: "We were opening a glorified convenience store, but also tying into Texana." They credit Bess's cousin for coming up with the name based on these factors and "it stuck," Suarez explained.
Coming across the old John Deere tractor dealership building at 301 E. Larking Street, Athens, the Suarez's saw potential. It was big, had good bones and brick; perfect to gut and begin crafting it to accommodate their needs and personal style with a clean slate. Mike laughing added: "And it was cheap."
Mike and Bess expressed they see Come and Take It not only a fascinating local store, but more as a destination for visitors to Athens. Bess commented that people think they have found some kind of secret when they come in for the first time, often remarking "who knew this was here."
Passionate about local crafters you can find local wines from: Castle Oaks Vineyard, White Fox Vineyards, 3Ps in a Vine and Tara Winery. Come and Take It offers over 400 vintages of wine, from the finest local and world vineyards. An offering of over 200 craft beers allows a variety of tasty brews to mix, match or take one at a time.
For the discerning palate, Cajun stuffed meats from LaBoucherie of Houston are available. You will find, along with local offerings, stuffed pork chops with jalapeno cornbread; bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breasts, stuffed deboned whole chickens, stuffed pork loins (a best seller), crawfish fettuccini and more. Happy Cattle Beef of Murchison offers grass fed beef.
Van Zandt County Coffee, beans and ground, is the only coffee Mike and Bess choose to sell. After a while offering a larger variety, it became apparent Van Zandt Coffee was the preferred brand by customers, and themselves. Beans arrive the same day they are roasted, a rare find in a smaller community.
From local artisans you can find Wimberly Wix candles along with Come and Take Its own signature store scent: Claud Baking pies and Milk and Honey soaps along with many other interesting gifts and foods.
Wine tastings are a standing date each Saturday of Canton's First Monday, from 2-5 pm. A regular group has begun attending these events where monthly, differing wines are offered to introduce new wines, or feature a local vineyard's vintages. Described as an easy, cool little party of sorts, with cheese and crackers, ambiance and wine, Bess said town's people bring their family and friends.
Come and Take It, along with the local wineries, Athens Brewing Company and Fishcamp Design formed a cooperative called East Texas Makers to have a centralized entity to discuss events and ideas fun for Athens and those who offer fine handcrafted items. Their website is: www.ETXmakers.com
Mike of Come and Take It said the first event has been scheduled for May 2, 2019. A Wine Dinner, which includes a five course meal and various wines. Follow them on Facebook for more information and updates. Following is social media information along with days and times Come and Take It is open. Stop by all and start the adventure of finding unique and gourmet items, while enriching your quality of life here in Athens.
Come and Take It, 301 E. Larkin, Athens, TX 75751 903-264-1277
Hours of operation: TUES - THURS 11 AM - 7 PM, FRI - SAT 10 AM - 8 PM, SUN-MON CLOSED