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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday, July 23, 2004


Glenn’s closes its doors

Bellevue grocery store owners retire after 25 years

Express Staff Writer

After 25 years in the grocery business, Glenn and Joann Branen are hitting the road. Their departure concludes a vital chapter in Bellevue history.

The couple owns and operates Glenn’s Grocery in Bellevue. The store is the last of the grocery stores that will operate from the iconic brick building on Main Street. For the last 75 years a market has served the community from the same corner lot.

Glenn and Joann Branen of Bellevue look forward to traveling after years in the grocery business. Express photo by Megan Thomas

Over the years Glenn’s Grocery has sold groceries, sliced renowned meats and provided a gathering spot for neighbors. Things will change Saturday, Aug. 14, when the grocery store closes its doors for good. The couple will celebrate their years in the grocery business with a picnic Sunday, Aug. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Bellevue City Park.

"We realized a year ago we needed to do something different," Glenn Branen explained.

The couple decided to sell the store and venture in a new direction.

"We’re having a really good year, as good as we’ve ever had," Branen said. "We’re not going out because we’re not profitable, we’re tired."

The couple’s exhaustion is understandable. Over the years, the two dedicated their lives to running the store.

From the beginning the business has kept the Branen’s on their toes.

Just after buying the store "Bellevue started to grow. It exploded," Branen recalled.

The growth prompted an immediate increase in inventory. To meet the demands of the growing clientele the market expanded in 1985.

Throughout the years of growth the store has maintained its focus on high quality meats.

"Meat has really been our emphasis over the years," Branen noted. "We’ve shipped meat all over the U.S., to Florida and Hawaii and everywhere in between."

Branen revealed the key to his success is service and the choice of meat.

"We sell certified Angus Beef. It ensures quality—today—tomorrow—and the next day," Branen said.

Now the meat business is a family thing. Their son owns his own specialty meat market in Coeur d’Alene.

But Glenn’s Grocery attracts customers for other reasons as well.

There is the chance to visit with Glenn and Joann, who will likely ask about your family, or the eating area that beckons customers to dine in the store.

"It’s the hub of the community," Corky Vert, the Branen’s daughter remarked.

She added that the store is a melting pot that attracts everyone from tourists to construction workers. Even the children in town stop by to say they are sad to see the market go.

Some visit for meat, some for socialization and others come to admire a piece of valley history. The owners have worked hard to preserve the building’s history. A display case at the entrance showcases old glass bottles found during construction, and the original tile floor graces the dining area.

There are also historic bank documents, which recall the store’s beginnings.

Originally the building opened as bank in 1910. After two banks failed, the first grocery store took over in 1928.

After 75 years as a store, the building will begin a new era as a restaurant.

The Branen’s are also entering a new era—retirement.

Upon their retirement the couple plans to "hit the back roads between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans," Branen said.

The couple will venture across the U.S. with their Airstream trailer in tow to spend time with their grandchildren.

"I am going to miss it…it’s been our life for the last 25 years," Branen said.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.