You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 6:03 a.m.

Biggby Coffee will open this spring in former Portofino space on West Stadium

By Paula Gardner


Jeannine Mickeleit will transform the former Portofino coffee shop located at 2550 W. Stadium Blvd. into her second Biggby Coffee franchise in Ann Arbor.

Melanie Maxwell |

Ann Arbor will get another Biggby Coffee location by March, this time on the west side of Ann Arbor in the space formerly occupied by Portofino Coffee.

“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's restaurant guide. 

Paula Gardner is Business Director of She can be reached by e-mail or by calling 734-623-2586. Follow her on Twitter.


Michael Price

Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 11:05 p.m.

Great to have Biggby in that location. I stopped going to Starbucks in AA and began going to Biggby over the summer. Like the coffee much better and they know how to put the whip cream on the coffee (a mound instead of a litle squirt). You will do well especially with the new Walgreens comming in right behind the store!


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 8:46 p.m.

I'm so excited to have a new business in Washtenaw County, way to go Jeannine!! I get coffee at the Plymouth Biggby daily and it's always a pleasant experience... she does such a nice job keeping the place clean, the coffee is superb and everyone is so friendly- can't wait for her new shop!!


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

I hope they keep the chess set that Portfino had. It was the only place in town I was aware of where I could get coffee and chess.

Ron Torrella

Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 1:41 p.m.

Getting a cup at the Plymouth Rd BIGGBY COFFEE - whether it's coffee or another of their specialties - is a Real Treat. Jeannine is one hard-working dudette! And her staff is Wonderful! Cheers! Oh, and if you don't believe me, just go to that shop on January 28 between 2-4pm and get ANY DRINK YOU WANT FOR FREE! (Seriously! Free!!)

Ron Torrella

Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 1:38 p.m.

Getting a cup at the Plymouth Rd BIGGBY COFFEE - whether it's coffee or another of their specialties - is a Real Treat. Jeannine is one hard-working dudette! And her staff is Wonderful! Cheers!


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

I grew up in South Texas and the name Beaners used to make me cringe. In that part of the United States (and throughout most of the south, southwest and west coast), beaner is a derogatory and racist term for a person of hispanic origin, typically Mexican.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 10:37 a.m.

Edit made! Thanks for the help. On the Beaners name... I'd never heard the word used as a slur, but do respect that kind of a massive change. However - the name had some staying power, too. I'm still struggling to call the chain by the right name.


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

I didn't notice any appreciable difference in their beverages under the Beaner name compared to the Biggby one. They're delicious either way, and the staff at the Liberty street location is hands down the friendliest of any of the coffee shops in the State/Liberty area.


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 10:16 a.m.

Edit please: "...should made the difference..." should be "make". And Biggy is just as good as before the name change. And I believe it wasn't intended to be racist as Beaners but it makes good business sense to make sure your name doesn't offend anyone.

Mary Roszel

Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

Fabulous. Glad to hear that another Biggby will be in Ann Arbor and in my old neighborhood.


Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 9:52 a.m.

One word: Beaners. It wasn't racist, it was coffee! Biggby isn't the same as the old Beaners that I loved.