Nabeel Gneym made money at his new Tower Mini Market before he’d even opened the store–and it came in the form of hidden treasure.

When Gneym, fifty, leased the onetime Matthew C. Hoffmann jewelry store in Tower Plaza, there was a 5,000-pound safe, six feet high by four feet wide, sitting in the middle of the space. No one seemed to know who owned it or where it came from, only that it had been in the store for over thirty years.

At first, Gneym used it as a funky display rack and hung candies from it, but he had to admit it looked stupid. “It stuck out like a sore thumb,” he says.

Finally, he got a half-dozen guys, “big football player types,” to drag it out onto the sidewalk–a process that took five or six hours–then had Ann Arbor Towing haul it away and cut it open. Among the items inside was a two-dollar bill. Gneym decided not to frame it and hang it on the wall behind the counter–he saved that honor for the first dollar he made actually selling something.

Gneym, who immigrated from Jordan in 1979, originally settled in Grand Rapids, where he earned a degree in business management from Aquinas College in 1987. Tower Mini Market is his second party store. He opened his first, Grapes, Grain & Deli, in Grand Haven in 2008, but closed it after three years because, he says, the business climate was lousy. “If you want to do business, don’t do it in Grand Haven,” he warns, only half-joking.

Seeking more fertile economic ground, he settled on Ann Arbor, because he liked the area and thought a college town would provide more customers.

As for what he carries at Tower Mini Market, he says, “You name it.” He thinks one of his strongest advantages is the diversity of the people who live in Tower Plaza; he stocks Mediterranean, Chinese, Japanese, and other countries’ groceries to appeal to the building’s residents. He says health drinks are very popular, as are imported cigarettes and traditional Syrian desserts. Unlike a lot of party stores “that just carry snacks like Snickers,” he says, he tries to stock a lot of healthy products and even has a small selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. He expects to get a beer and wine license in August and also hopes to get a lottery license.

That two-dollar bill wasn’t the only treasure to come from the safe. Gneym also found two opals, one of which he gave to Ann Arbor Towing, and a key. He has no idea what the key opens. If he’s lucky, maybe it’ll be another safe.

Tower Mini Market, 340 Maynard, 929-5948. 9 a.m.-midnight daily.