When you walk into Mike and Denise Bogues' new Biggby Coffee shop — which opens 6 a.m. Monday at 11325 Highland Road — they hope you'll feel right at home.
To create that comfortable atmosphere, the couple plan a week-long series of special events. Patrons will receive free fresh-brewed coffee as well as free samples of specialty drinks at the store. Local Michigan band Overdrive Orchestra will perform a 7 p.m. concert Wednesday. Members include the Bogues' 19-year-old son, Adam, as well as two other Hartland High School 2009 graduates, Chris Cranick and Cody Powers. Students from Milford Music in Highland also will perform on the weekend.
"We knew that we wanted to provide a place in the community to gather," said Denise, a 49-year-old math teacher at Hartland High School. "We just really felt we had a heart to provide a meeting place for the community."
The Brighton Township couple, who live within Hartland School District boundaries, decided to start their own business after years of hearing their children — and others — say such a place was needed in the area. The store will be the Hartland area's third specialty coffee locale.
At first, she and Mike, 48, thought they would open an independent coffee shop, but they decided to check out a meeting about franchising with East Lansing-based Biggby. It turned out to be a great fit with their personal philosophy. Denise said that the idea of a coffee shop similar to the celebrated bar in the hit sitcom, Cheers, "where everyone knows your name" was in her head. When she heard something similar in the franchise presentation, she felt it was the right fit.
"Our ideals lined up with each other," Mike agreed, adding the personal touch is important to them. "We want to know how your kids are doing in baseball. I want this to be the place where people come and get to know each other."
The store features free Wi-Fi connections and a menu including numerous hot and cold drink options as well as breakfast treats, such as bagels, muffins and doughnuts and scones. Brunch sandwiches called Bragel Sandwiches and afternoon treats like 7-Layer Bars, brownies and cookies round out the food selections.
The location will be the third Biggby in Livingston County. Hours are from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Aside from running the store, Denise will continue to teach while Mike, who formerly had a successful career in information technology with AutoDesk in Novi, is working toward a business administration master's degree at Cleary University.
"He will be the full-time manager for now," Denise said. "I'll help out before school and after school."
Extensive training and support was part of the franchise package. Mike and Denise's training, which started in the summer, included training 40 (all volunteer) hours a week at various stores throughout the month of August to learn the Biggby system.
That preparation also included running two practice shifts on Friday to get ready for Monday's opening. Four Biggby employees from the home office assisted throughout the process.
During the afternoon shift that day, five workers took free practice orders from people who walked in intending to buy coffee. Periodically, they switched positions, in order to become familiar with all parts of the job — from taking customer orders to making and serving drinks.
"It's about the community getting a chance to come in, not just from a menu perspective, but from an attitude and energy perspective," said 31-year-old Jeremy DeRuiter Director of Training and Development for Biggby's home office as he worked on the store's music playlist.
When there weren't any people coming through the door, Kelsey Ames, 20, home office PERColator, who, Mike explained, handles all aspects of barista training, called off practice drinks. After they were made, the drinks were taken to area businesses.
"As first-time business owners, we couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with than the team at Biggby Coffee," said Mike. "This decision for us is all about doing what we love, following our dreams and making a small difference in the lives of our customers. We're looking forward to having a place where everyone feels welcome and friendships are formed each day."
Go to original HartlandPatch article