Q&A with Biggby Coffee owner

Biggby Coffee was originally opened in 1995 in East Lansing and has expanded across Michigan and to eight other states. Biggby prides itself in using local and fresh products such as milk from Grand Rapids and coffee beans which are brewed in East Lansing.

Albion’s newest business, Biggby Coffee, had its grand opening on Jan. 8 and has since had great success and support.

Randy Neelis, Biggby owner, feels as though the community and college has been fantastic and that the business is a great fit for the area because of the positive people involved.

Why did you open a Biggby in Albion?

Why not? I liked the Biggby coffee and always have for years. I attended the franchise and training days, which really got me interested in the business, and this was back when it was called ‘Beaners.’ That, and the fact that Biggby is a Michigan based company, which means that everything is as fresh as you can get.

How was opening day?

Opening day was fantastic because the community was great. We made about 380 cups of coffee that day, which was pretty cool.

How was the construction process?

We were trying to open before, but this building needed a lot of work. There were a lot of challenges to overcome throughout the 4 years that this was in the works. I didn’t purchase the property until May 15, 2011, but I liked the building, mostly because it was close to college and a major road. After comparing demographics and traffic flow, I figured it was a good fit. We didn’t want to be strictly college, and you can see by our sales that it’s about 85/15. The 15 percent is college and the rest is from people from all over. People stop in on their way to work from East Lansing to Kalamazoo, and they’re just happy we’re here to get a great cup of coffee.

Do you think new businesses will approve in Albion?

Well, I think that there is a lot of activity going on in Albion right now. The theatre has received grant money and is going to open around 2014-15, and I’ve heard a few other things are coming to town, but they haven’t released any information yet. I think there are a lot of good things going on in Albion right now, which is exciting.

Are you doing anything else that is new?

New drinks. Our biggest thing is to try to get people signed up for Biggby e-wards, which helps people get up-to-date on new drinks that are coming out. Biggby’s 18th birthday is on March 20, and on this day we will be selling everyone tall drinks for 99 cents, which runs from 6 a.m. – 5 p.m., and then for the rest of the night all drinks are 50 percent off. Right now we average around 250 drinks per day, but the on this day we are predicted to do 1000 to 1300 drinks on that day, just because of the price alone.

About Jillian Putnam 34 Articles
Jillian is senior graduating in 2014 with a double major in English and Anthropology and a member of Alpha Chi Omega. She has a passion for travel and culture, hoping to pursue a career with National Geographic one day. Until then, she enjoys writing, cooking, and playing with her hedgehog. Contact her at jmp15@albion.edu, @JillianPutnam .

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