From one store to 136: Biggby success started in East Lansing

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From one store to 136: Biggby success started in East Lansing


By Angela Wittrock


EAST LANSING — Recently dubbed the fastest-growing coffee chain by CNBC, Biggby got its start in 1995, when CEO Bob Fish opened the flagship store under the name Beaner’s. (The company rebranded a few years ago to avoid any racial connotations.)


“If you came in between 1995 and 1997, I probably made your coffee,” Fish said in a recent interview. Fish had experience in the food service industry, having graduated from Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality and Business


Along the way, he formed some concrete ideas about the culture of his coffee shop.


He wanted it to be accessible, fun, and lighthearted. The drinks, he noted, have names that make you smile. The company prides itself, according to its website, on offering customers a “less pretentious” coffee experience where customers can pronounce the names of the drinks and baristas are fun and friendly.


“When you see a grown man order a Teddy Bear – you can’t order a drink like that without smiling,” he said, adding that other drinks, like the Carmel Marvel, harken back to childhood superheroes.


His mission, quite simply, is to make sure every customer walks out of Biggby in a better mood than they entered.


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