Category: Company News

Tuition Partnership Encourages Growth with BIGGBY® COFFEE Employees


East Lansing, MI, March 19, 2019–Over the past two years BIGGBY® COFFEE has partnered with Davenport University to provide scholarships to BIGGBY® COFFEE employees, spouses, and dependents. Through this scholarship BIGGBY® COFFEE is excited to help support people in building a life they love by making higher education more accessible with lower costs.


When Davenport University contacted BIGGBY® COFFEE about developing a partnership, co-CEOs, Bob Fish and Mike McFall, were more than thrilled. As Fish and McFall strive to create a brand that exists to support people in building a life they love, this partnership allows them to do just that.


With core beliefs like “We exist to love people,” and “Everyone deserves to feel special,” this partnership shows that BIGGBY® COFFEE truly values the personal growth and success of their employees.


“We made a real steadfast commitment to developing our people in a way that’s not developing them to produce for the company, but in a way that they will live a life that they love,” said McFall.


BIGGBY® COFFEE employees from brand new baristas to Home Office employees have taken advantage of this educational partnership. One such employee is barista, Blake Opie. Opie is in his second semester with Davenport University and anticipates graduating with a bachelor’s degree in the summer of 2019. Once Opie found out about the partnership between BIGGBY® COFFEE and Davenport University, he searched for the nearest hiring BIGGBY® COFFEE.


“My professional goals are simple,” Opie said. “… to be successful wherever life takes me, and I want to be happy. With the tuition discount I have not had to take out any student loans and it has been incredible. The tuition discount is more than worth it but getting to work for an awesome business helps too!”


Opie is one of many students that found BIGGBY® COFFEE through the partnership with Davenport. If it had not been for the scholarship, they may never have chosen BIGGBY® COFFEE as an employer. However, because the Davenport University partnership brought them to BIGGBY® COFFEE, they’ve not only experienced the joy of furthering their education but have had the opportunity to work for a company that is on the leading edge of conscious capitalism and changing workplace culture.


Founded on the belief that people, profit, and the planet are equally important, BIGGBY® COFFEE is taking measures to ensure that the people within the walls of their Home Office, working in their stores, and visiting their stores are valued, loved, and encouraged to reach for the stars.


“One of the main reasons I first got a job at BIGGBY® was because of my love of all things coffee and the partnership,” junior Noah French said. “BIGGBY® helped me find a love for people. BIGGBY® has helped me step out of my comfort zone…. I would tell [anyone considering this opportunity] to look beyond just the financial advantages of working for BIGGBY®. BIGGBY® will help you grow personally…and push you to be your best.”


Partnering with a school like Davenport University allows students to study a variety of subjects at any of their campuses—Grand Rapids, Holland, Lansing, Midland, Detroit, and online. With undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs available, Davenport University has a number of options and resources to support students through their educational journey.


Dante Petrarca, BIGGBY® COFFEE Owner/Operator Liaison, took advantage of the Davenport partnership as a way to further his career at the BIGGBY® COFFEE Home Office in East Lansing, Michigan. Petrarca completed the Certificate of Project Management program through the Institute of Professional Excellence at Davenport University.


“I took this course because I am passionate about project management and wanted to further my knowledge in the field. The course gave me a variety of useful tools that have helped me here in the office. I still reference the course materials on a regular basis,” Petrarca said.


While employees are pursuing degrees at Davenport University, they are also able to receive real-world experience with their work at BIGGBY® COFFEE. This enables students a comprehensive learning opportunity, gaining experience in both the academic and professional settings at the same time.


Kylee Slowik has experienced this advantage firsthand. When she heard of the scholarship, she found a BIGGBY® COFFEE hiring and transferred to Davenport University to finish her degree. While she works toward educational and professional goals, she’s learned the value of both.


“BIGGBY® is allowing me to gain experience in both real-world situations and the classroom. I am serving as a PERC [store trainer] at BIGGBY®, which is helping me build my resume. I have goals I aspire to reach and BIGGBY® is helping me accomplish them by assisting with my degree,” Slowik said.


One thing rang true for all of these students: no matter where they are in their professional and educational pursuits, they all expressed how easy it was to enroll at Davenport University with the BIGGBY® COFFEE partnership. With this partnership, BIGGBY COFFEE employees and family members are able to take advantage of scholarship dollars to offset the cost of tuition while taking advantage of Davenport University’s incredible college experience.


For more information on this partnership, visit or a BIGGBY® COFFEE near you.




BIGGBY® COFFEE, East Lansing, Mich.-based, was started with a single store on March 15, 1995. One year later, and on the cusp of opening a second location, Bob Fish and Michael McFall, on a handshake and $4,000, decided to franchise the concept. BIGGBY® COFFEE’s cultural values of Make Friends, Have Fun, B Yourself, and Share Great Coffee help coffee-lovers and the coffee-curious alike benefit from a less pretentious and fun approach to the standard gourmet cafe paradigm. Besides connoisseur-worthy drinks with pronounceable names like Teddy Bear® and Caramel Marvel®, BIGGBY® baristas provide a unique experience focused on brightening their customer’s day and supporting them in building a life they love. The “Big ‘B’” on the orange background caught on, and today BIGGBY® COFFEE has more than 230 cafes across 9 states and counting including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida, and Texas. In 2018, BIGGBY® launched an Area Representative Program and currently has 8 area representatives in 6 states.


If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Nikki Robertson at 517-980-0995 or email at