Former bank building gets 'facelift'

Jun. 24, 2014 @ 07:30 AM

A large building that formerly was a Bank of Granite between the post office and Granite Falls Middle School off of Main Street used to be a big, plain rectangle of brownish-tan brick. The parking lot was full of fading yellow lines. The building's interior was as ragged as the outside, with torn-up flooring.

Then, Neil and Lou Anne Annas came along, searching for a new site for their business, Granite Insurance. After buying the building in August 2013, they turned it into the gleaming structure it is now with the help of CBSA Architects in Hickory.

If you drive down Main Street, the building at 56 N. Main St. stands out, with its blue roof and light-colored outer walls. The front doors have white brick around them, and the parking lot is sparkling with the newly painted white lines. Small shrubbery lines the front of the parking lot near the doors. "Granite Insurance" in blue lettering that matches the roof faces out on Main Street. Inside, the Annases had an old floor ripped out, ceiling tiles replaced, and a few walls knocked down to open up the offices. Neil Annas described it as a “complete transformation, inside and out.”

“We had to find some lipstick to put on this thing, because it really needed a little facelift,” Neil Annas laughed.

The new home of Granite Insurance has 2,800 square feet more space that its original site at 91 N. Main St.

The business began in 1936. Neil Annas’s parents owned the business starting in 1957. He bought the company from them in 1990. Now, Cameron Annas, Neil and Lou Anne’s son, has joined the business.

“He knew early on he was going into insurance,” Lou Anne Annas said. “He had about eight offers, so we were very fortunate that he decided to stay in Granite Falls.”

Aside from the improvements of the building, Neil and Lou Anne Annas decided to also upgrade their company's logo to be more modern with a navy blue slanted “G” figure with the “I” initial being the stem of the “G.” They also changed the slogan to “Trust You Need. Choice You Deserve” from “Here today for your tomorrow.”

“Caldwell County and Granite Falls have been very supportive of us and very good to us,” Neil Annas said. “Our neighbors on all sides have just been wonderful to work with, everything from the church on our back side to our neighbors on either side.”

There will be an open house to show off the renovations and meet possible new clientele on July 25 from 2 to 6 p.m.