Biggby is a privately owned coffee franchise that was started in East Lansing, Michigan. It was founded in March of 1995 by Bob Fish, a recent graduate of Michigan State University, and his partner and long-time coworker, Mary Roszel. The original Biggby location is in East Lansing at 270 W. Grand River Avenue.
Fish and Roszel opened Biggby with the notion of demystifying gourmet coffee and the traditional coffee shop experience. They replaced the fancy, unpronouncable drink names often found in upscale coffee shops with fun monikers such as the 'Teddy Bear' and 'Nutty Buddy'. They also traded in the stereotypical coffee shop atmosphere of exclusivity for a warm, welcoming environment where the staff are friendly and the customer is always number one.
When Biggby began, it was actually under a different name: Beaner's. In late 2007, the chain decided to change its name from Beaner's to Biggby due to concern that the original name (which referred to coffee beans) is also used as a racial slur toward people of Hispanic origin. The name change was not due to any lawsuits or threats, but was made simply because the company did not want to offend any potential customers. The change was completed in all stores by late January 2008.
To date, Biggby has over 100 stores in five states, and continues to expand. In the last three years, sales grew 65% from $23 million in 2006 to over $38 million in 2009.
Biggby just celebrated its 15th birthday on March 15, 2010. Anyone who visited the original location between 8 am and noon on that day recieved a complimentary drink of their choice, and other locations featured birthday promotions as well.
When they first began the business, Fish and Roszel adopted a simple set of values that included making friends, loving their customers, having fun, being happy and making great coffee. Over the years, it is those values that have allowed the chain to differentiate and make a name for itself, and will continue to fuel its future success.