VIRGINIA BEACH — Mitch Peters has found a way to bring a tiny house to Virginia Beach.
The Michigander family and wife Kathy opened Virginia’s first Michigan-based Biggby Coffee at 2422 Princess Anne Road on Jan. 10. The chain has more than 300 locations in 13 states, mostly in the Midwest.
Mitch Peters knew the brand well and enjoyed the cafe when visiting relatives. The chain, founded in 1995 as Beaner’s Coffee, has rebranded to reflect the capital B in its signage and how regulars refer to it.
Peters spent 23 years in the Air Force. His career took him to New York and Delaware, then his marriage and two children followed duty stations in South Carolina, California and Missouri.
He retired in 2014 as a master sergeant, and the couple wanted to move the family to Kathy Peters’ old stomping grounds in Virginia Beach.
Born and raised in Hampton Roads, Kathy Peters graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management. She has worked for the Virginia Beach Public Library System for most of the past decade.
Her husband wanted to start his next venture and always had a passion for starting his own business, she said.
“It’s been in the works for years and it’s finally here,” said Cathy Peters.
“When we found out they were opening a franchise in Virginia, I said, ‘Hey! “Well, why shouldn’t we bring it here first,” he said.
The husband and wife team employs 22 part-time employees.
Known for its coffees and espressos made from scratch by its team of baristas, Biggby’s boasts an extensive menu that includes teas, over 30 creamy frozen smoothies, bagel sandwiches, muffins and other prepared snacks.
Highlighting Bigby’s culture and community-based focus, both Mitch and Kathy Peters were excited to become entrepreneurs in Virginia Beach. They found the location, a former bank building across from the municipal center, and began renovations. Built circa 1969, it was originally the First & Merchants Bank.
“My aunt actually worked at this bank many, many years ago,” Kathy Peters said.
It has been vacant since PNC Bank closed the branch in 2018.
Extensive renovations turned it into a coffee shop. The drive-up window is now the store’s drive-thru, and the vault is currently used for storage. Kathy Peters said they would like to eventually turn it into a meeting place or seating area.
After delays due to the pandemic and subsequent supply chain issues, the pair are keen to introduce the region to Biggby’s. Mitch Peters knows that those familiar with the brand are already sold.
“For many of them, it’s a piece of home after they leave home,” he said. “They live and die by the brand out there.”
Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836, [email protected]