Biggby Coffee will open this spring in former Portofino space on West Stadium
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
“We will be taking over that space,” said Jeannine Mickeleit, who also owns the Biggby franchise on Plymouth Road in the Courtyard Shops complex.
Mickeleit signed a lease in December for the former Portofino space, 2550 W. Stadium Blvd., just southeast of the Jackson Road intersection (see map).
The building is perfect for a new coffee shop, said Susan Moore of Colliers International, who worked with Mickeleit and listing agent Jim Chaconas on the deal. Since the space was formerly used for a similar function until Portofino closed last spring, the configuration suits the coffee shop layout, Moore said.
The transformation of the shop started in December. In addition to cosmetic changes, it also needs new equipment that fits the Biggby formats. The coffee shop has at least 100 outlets in six states.
The West Stadium store will eventually employ about 15, Mickeleit said.
She’ll also split her time between her two franchises.
“I’m here pretty much every day,” she said from her Plymouth Road shop, which opened in fall 2009. “It’s a hands-on operation.”
She also hopes to open a third store in Ann Arbor. Another franchise group operates stores on East Liberty and Washenaw Avenue.
Coffee shops have been closing across the U.S., including hundreds of Starbucks stores in 2009. Local changes in the past year include the closing of Portofino, Primo Coffee on East Liberty and an Espresso Royale on Carpenter Road.
And while the independent coffee shop didn’t last in the space, the Biggby brand - growing in several states amid aggressive marketing support from the East Lansing-based corporate office - should make the difference for Mickeleit, Moore said.
Mickeleit agreed. While there are several eateries in the West Stadium corridor, she pointed out the lack of a traditional coffee shop on the corridor.
“It’ll be a great addition to that side of town,” she said. “I think it lacks a coffee place.”
For more information on Biggby Coffee, visit AnnArbor.com's restaurant guide.Â