OSCODA – The Biggby Oscoda Facebook page created by Jim and Melanie Rowden has been abuzz for the past couple of weeks since a post acknowledged that the rumors are true, Biggby is coming to Oscoda.
The page already has 675 followers who have been actively engaging with the business.
The much anticipated coffee shop will be moving into the vacant building that sits in the Family Fare parking lot. Originally built in 1988, some may remember the building as a pet food store or as a donut shop years ago. Local business owner Justine Alderete made the Biggby and Coming Soon banners that adorn the US-23 side of the building.
Facebook followers have had input into what types of drinks the store will offer and had the opportunity to vote on which local nonprofit organization should benefit from sales during one of the grand opening days. The top five nominees were posted on the Facebook page for votes. The Iosco County Humane Society was the winning organization.
The Rowdens are locals who wanted to give back to their community. Jim graduated from Oscoda High School, is a drummer and manager of the band Grounded and has worked at Oscoda Plastics for almost 30 years. Melanie, who graduated from Whittemore-Prescott, is a registered nurse, patient care coordinator and adjunct faculty member at Alpena Community College. The couple, who have known each other for almost 20 years and have been married for four, have a blended family of four children ages 10 to 30.
A couple of years ago the Rowdens started talking about bringing something new to Oscoda. Melanie started researching business ideas when a friend who works at a Biggby downstate suggested opening a Biggby. Thus, their journey towards owning a Biggby began.
The Rowdens have been sharing their journey to opening the store on their Facebook page. They have been posting updates about their meetings with the Biggby design team and their owner orientation in Lansing where they won a basket full of syrups used in some of the Biggby signature drinks.
The Rowdens aren’t sure what their hours of operation will be yet. They want to be able to accommodate the work schedules of community members but they have to get approval for the store hours from corporate.
The grand opening is tentatively planned for July. The new owners will be re-opening the drive thru window that was used by the former donut shop. A large amount of seating will be available inside and when weather permits, there will be seating outside.
Although they are currently leasing the building the Rowdens have plans to purchase it. The building was deemed structurally sound and has enough electrical power to meet all of the shop’s needs including adding outdoor lighting.
The Rowdens are excited to see the plans from the Biggby design team which they should have by mid May. They are scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on June 6 to present their plans. The couple is working with MCo Construction on the building renovations which include making the restrooms fully accessible. They want the store to be welcoming to everyone and hope it will become a community gathering space. Specials will be offered with two for one drink deals on Wednesdays, Free Shot Fridays and coupons. Jim is excited about the coffee options, Melanie is a tea drinker. Her favorite is the Chai Tea.
In 1995 Biggby started as Beaners in East Lansing in a former Arby’s location. Mary Roszel and Bob Fish worked together at the local Flapjack Shack Restaurant when they decided to start a coffee shop. Located across the street from the Michigan State University campus, the first Beaners offered coffee, specialty coffee drinks, bagels and a variety desserts. The small shop was home to students, faculty and community members who were studying, meeting or just grabbing something quick on their way to class or work.
The name changed in 2007 to Biggby due to the negative connotations attached to the name “beaner.” Today there are over 280 Biggby stores across 11 states. Stores offer coffee drinks, teas, energy drinks, fruit smoothies, donut holes, bagel sandwiches, muffins and a variety of artisan sandwiches. The stores also carry a rack of greeting cards and Biggby merchandise including coffee mugs, water bottles and T-shirts.
Biggby’s cultural values are Make Friends, Have Fun, B Yourself and share great coffee. Barristas are trained to greet customers, ask about their day and make them feel welcome.