By Taylor Provost, Assistant News Editor
Biggby Coffee will open in the longtime-vacant space on 409 Main St on Feb. 3, 2015.
Headquartered in Lansing, Mich., the Bourbonnais location will be the third Biggby’s in Illinois, according to The Daily Journal. The shop has been in the works since last summer when Olivet leased the property to Kristina Back, 28, of Kankakee. Back also owns the Bourbonnais and Kankakee Little Caesars Pizza restaurants and is a senior business major at Olivet.
“I’m very excited and anxious to see how this town is [going to] take to Biggby,” Back said. Originally from Michigan, Back said she grew up enjoying Biggby Coffee and would compare their menu and prices to Starbucks, but not the environment.
“You’re not [going to] get this environment at a Starbucks; it’s more energetic and fun here,” she said. “And we have more than just coffee – we have more tea options [than Starbucks], and more cream-freeze options, which is kind of like a smoothie.”
Some Olivet students from Michigan still prefer Starbucks, while others are excited about Biggby.
“It’s like, greater than sliced bread in Michigan,” senior Aaron Hemgesberg said. “I’m more of a Starbucks person anyways, so I’m not super pumped [about Biggby], but people from the Lansing or Grand Rapids areas are.”
Jake Hileman, an Olivet junior and Michigan native, is excited to have a piece of home across the street.
“Honestly you might as well just go [to Biggby] rather than Common Grounds now,” Hileman said. “[Biggby’s] drinks are sweeter than Starbucks and, even though they are similar in price, I think people at Olivet will discover that it’s on the same scale if not better than [Starbucks]. I definitely see myself making the short trek across the street to Biggby on a regular basis and I think most Olivet students will do the same.”
According to The Daily Journal, Biggby will also offer muffins, scones, cookies, Rice Krispie treats and a sandwich-type item called a “Bragel,” which is a toasted bagel with a variety of meat and cheese combinations.
Currently, Biggby is fully staffed, with Olivet students composing the majority of the staff. However, Back anticipates potentially hiring more in about a month, and encourages students to still apply. “It’s good to help those college kids who need jobs, and I really like Olivet,” she said.
Staff began training on Monday. Much of the staff has no prior barista experience, but Olivet senior and Biggby barista Katherine Henson predicts little problem for the employees.
“I’ve never done coffee before, besides McDonald’s,” Henson said. “I’m totally not nervous; I think it’ll be okay,” Henson said.
Biggby will open briefly Thursday, Jan. 29, 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. and Friday, Jan. 30 9-11:30 a.m. and 2-4:30 p.m. as “relay days” to serve as training for employees. Drinks will be free during these two days.
Biggby’s opening Feb. 3 will begin their official operating hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. However, Back said these hours are tentative and if business is strong the first few months she is willing to adjust and stay open later.