East Lansing's Biggby Coffee fastest-growing in US

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EAST LANSING – Biggby Coffee was named the fastest-growing coffee chain in the United States last week by news outlet CNBC, and CEO Bob Fish says the company’s success can be linked, in part, to Michigan’s tough economy.


“For us, we were born in a state under duress,” he said Monday. “We were already working on a platform that addressed a difficult economy. We were already ‘tight,’ where other chains had never faced an economic downturn.”


Same-store growth at Biggby over the past 12 months is at 12 percent, Fish said. When new stores are included, growth over that same period jumps to 20 percent. Fish said his company has recorded double-digit growth for the past 24 months, no small feat at a time when other coffee chains are coming out of a period of downsizing.


In 2008, ubiquitous coffee chain Starbucks announced it would close 600 stores and lay off up to 12,000 employees.


Biggby, however, has continued to grow. Fish said the company was hovering at around 100 stores when the bottom dropped out of the economy in 2008. Now, Biggby has 136 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Texas. Fish wants to grow to 300 stores by 2015.


“We work because it works,” he said, meaning the system of growing strategically.


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Original article: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20110928/NOISE/109280329/0/GW01/East-Lansing-s-Biggby-Coffee-fastest-growing-nation?odyssey=nav|head