By Sue Moore
BIGGBY COFFEE has opened in Schoolcraft at 531 N. Grand St., next to the Pizza Hut. It’s owned by Carrie Cousins, a Kentucky native who moved to Kalamazoo when her husband, James, was appointed director of undergraduate studies in the Western Michigan University history department.
A headache led to her first experience with BIGGLY COFFEE and eventually becoming a franchise owner. One day while fighting a headache, she found herself near a BIGGBY, tried the different flavors and after that was hooked, she said.
She and her husband explored the possibility of opening a franchise, especially after Carrie’s mother said she would come in as a partner, although at the time she was living in Qatar but is now back U.S.
In July, 2013, they attended a “Discovery Day,” an event for potential BIGGBY COFFEE franchisees, in Lansing, Michigan, where the brand is based, and opened their store a year later. Before the opening, they hired about 20 employees most of whom are college students who graduated from Schoolcraft High School. The staff was trained in the extensive menu of more than 20 kinds of coffee. Their goal is to make a drink in 105 seconds although on a busy night, Cousins said it might take a bit longer.
The drive-through window was a requirement so the owner of the building cut it out for them. The drive-through is one of the secrets to success, said Cousins.
With the startup well underway, the family is thinking of expansion. For their next location, it will likely be in Cousins’ home town, with her father, taking on the responsibility of the operation in Kentucky, since currently BIGGBY COFFEE only has locations in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Michigan currently but are open to expansion in other states through their franchising arrangements.