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Military veteran and store owner will donate half of stores profits to “She Serves VFW”


LANSING, MI., NOV. 8, 2011 – Behind the counter in her BIGGBY COFFEE apron, multi-unit store owner and Lansing native, Paula Thompson, has another side of her even some of her closest customers don’t know about, United States Military Veteran.


As a way to honor the U.S. Military and show her support to other Veteran’s, Thompson will donate half the proceeds from her stores – located in Lansing (2002 W. Saginaw) and in Ionia (2331 S. State Rd.) – to the national She Serves VFW on Veteran’s day, this Friday, Nov. 11.


“Obviously this day is a very important to both my family and I,” Thompson said. “Over the past few years, I have picked a few different organizations like She Serves VFW to donate to as a way show my gratitude and support for the work they do.”


Before becoming a part of the BIGGBY COFFEE franchise family, Thompson graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served five years active duty at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. Along with her husband, Mark, the two served a combined total of four tours in Iraq, spanning more than three years, before returning to Michigan in 2007. 


“Once I was home, I got involved with BIGGBY through my mom, who owns stores herself, and since day one I have loved every minute of it,” Thompson said. “It was originally supposed to be my husband who opened our store, but after he was deployed for his final tour in Iraq, it became my responsibility. Today I can say it’s the best job in the world.”


So along with her one-month old daughter, Thompson opened her Lansing store on her husband’s birthday in June of 2007. Then, in April of 2010 on the seventh anniversary of their first deployment, Paula purchased her store in Ionia.


“Both of my stores are in very supportive communities so I know we will have an awesome turnout for Veteran’s day,” Thompson said. “I am very grateful for the support I have received and for the way everything has turned out… now it’s my turn to say thank you and give back.”


East Lansing, Mich.-based BIGGBY® COFFEE opened a single store in March of 1995 based on the founding principle that coffee-lovers and the coffee-curious alike would benefit from a less pretentious approach to the standard gourmet café paradigm. BIGGBY COFFEE introduced connoisseur-worthy drinks with pronounceable names like Teddy Bear and Caramel Marvel, and barista staff surprised guests with simple gestures like free kazoos and bouncy balls for no other reason than to brighten their day. The “Big ‘B’” on the orange background caught on, and today BIGGBY COFFEE has 136 cafes open or under contract across six states including: Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Texas.  For more information, visit