Plans that have long been moved forward Wednesday when owners closed on the Green Street property.
"I can't believe how excited we are after two years," owner and longtime New Baltimore resident Jim Dehem said after unlocking the vacant building near Washington Street.
Wife Kathy Dehem agreed the process to finally get into the building was unpredictably slow, mostly due to a Small Business Administration loan. Unexpected delays caused the couple to multiple times.
"I felt like we were spinning our wheels for so long," she said.
Prepping for opening
The next move is to transform the outdated, wooden-paneled interior into a modern coffee shop, complete with a drive-thru, sitting area and even meeting space.
The total building, once the and a hardware store, spans 4,564-square-feet and the coffee shop will consume more than half that space. Renovations will also be done on a future rental space inside the building that does not yet have a tenant, Jim Dehem said.
Once construction is finished and about 12-15 employees are hired, Biggby is expected to open around October or November.
Jim Dehem, who managed bars in Detroit and St. Clair Shores, said the couple got the idea for a coffee shop after community group Ride the Wave circulated a survey around New Baltimore. The survey, sent about three years ago, asked residents what they would like to see come to town, he said.
"The No. One thing people wanted in New Baltimore was a coffee shop," he said.
Kathy Dehem, a Detroit Public Schools teacher, read up on Biggby and liked that it was a Michigan business experiencing growth.
Eventually, he reached out to Biggby and explained his extensive background in food service and interest in becoming a franchise owner.
"We love our neighborhood and we love trying to stay local. And, when we found out Biggby was Michigan-based, we wanted to go with it," he said.
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