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Owners of Katimali’s Italian Bistro Hope BIGGBY® COFFEE Franchise Will Bring Their Community 'Into the Modern Era'

The Lundys were drawn to the high-energy coffee franchise because of its "community-based feel," and look forward to bringing it to the small town of Proctorville, Ohio.

By Chris IrbyCopy Editor
8:08AM 07/09/24

James and Kathy Lundy are certainly no strangers to entrepreneurship in Proctorville, Ohio. After founding Specialty System Electric LLC in 2009, the husband-and-wife team decided to branch out with a restaurant in 2016. The result was Katimali's Italian Bistro, which quickly rose to prominence for its wood-fired pizza.

Now the Lundys are ready to try their hand at another business in Proctorville. They’ve just been awarded a franchise from BIGGBY® COFFEE, the high-energy coffee shop brand with 385 units nationwide. They plan to open their location before summer, just two doors down from Katimali’s.

"There's nothing like it in our whole area," James said. "Starbucks is across the river and they're putting a new Starbucks in South Point about 15 to 20 miles from here. But this area up here has a lot of traffic and a lot of people moving through it, and there's nothing offered. So this is a prime spot."

For the Lundys, BIGGBY® is more than just a lucrative business opportunity; according to James, it's a chance "to build our community up a little bit."

"We take pride in our little village," said Kathy, "and we're trying to bring it into the modern era."

Though they were originally looking to add a coffee shop to their restaurant, the Lundys ultimately decided to go with a drive-thru model just two doors down. They vetted a number of franchisors, but weren't satisfied with any until a Google search brought them to BIGGBY®.

"We looked at Scooter's, we looked at Human Bean, we looked at Java Joe — but BIGGBY® was the one that stood out," said James. "It had more of a hometown feel, more of a community-based feel. They seem to be big in community — that's what attracted me."

1851 Franchise spoke with the Lundys about their journey into franchising and their plans for the future.

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

James: I have an electrical business where I’m a contractor; I’ve had this business since 2009 and then we opened up a restaurant in 2016. So there’s an opportunity here.

There’s nothing like [BIGGBY® COFFEE] in our whole area. Starbucks is across the river and they’re putting a new Starbucks in South Point about 15 to 20 miles from here. But this area up here has a lot of traffic and a lot of people moving through it, and there’s nothing offered. So this is a prime spot. So we thought we could build a coffee shop and try it on our own or we could go somewhere where there’s some people who have experience in how to market this and how to make a good go of it — and maybe have something more valuable in the end than if we tried to do it on our own.

So we looked at Scooter’s, we looked at Human Bean, we looked at Java Joe — but BIGGBY® was the one that stood out … It had more of a hometown feel, more of a community-based feel. They seem to be big in community — that’s what attracted me. Also, I’m not military, but my dad was; [BIGGBY®] offers a huge military discount and supports the troops.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

James: Just make sure you get all the costs upfront, so you don’t end up getting upside-down — that was the only apprehension. Just make sure that we knew what we were doing upfront and then fully understood everything — what the percentages were, what was expected and where we stood from that point out.

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

James: I like the menu. It’s great! We were coming back to Cleveland and we drove across Akron to try the products, and they’re amazing. Plus, we could do all of this with a drive-thru and not have to worry about so much staff. It’s hard to find people who are committed to a job.

Kathy: This is our third business, so we’re hoping it’ll be easier. The other two are doing well.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth?

James: We want a drive-thru only model. I really don’t want an internet cafe to clean up after. They’ll buy one cup of coffee and sit for four hours. I want them in and out.

Our plans [for growth] are to see if there are other locations available. BIGGBY® would do a great business because there’s nothing like it for 35 miles up the road. There’s a town called Gallipolis; there’s nothing in it and property values up here aren’t too bad; you can actually get something reasonable. And then, 30 miles the other direction is Ironton, Ohio; there’s nothing there either and that’s the county seat!

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Kathy: We take pride in our little village and we’re trying to bring it into the modern era. We’re very community-oriented.

James: We participate in all the parades; anything the village has, we participate in it.

[Our restaurant, Katamali’s Italian Bistro, is] just two doors down from where we’re putting the BIGGBY®, so we would have two businesses on the main drag in the village. Our restaurant’s on the path home; it’s an evening restaurant that’s open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The [BIGGBY®] is on the right path for those people getting coffee on their way to work; it’s on the right side of the road for that. We’re trying to build our community up a little bit.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

James: You have to have a level of commitment to what you want to do; you can’t go half in anything. So if you’re going to commit to something, you gotta get into it and commit all the way.

Kathy: And love the products you’re selling. You’ve got to believe in what you’re selling.


BIGGBY® COFFEE, based in East Lansing, Mich., was started with a single store on March 15, 1995. One year later, and on the cusp of opening a second location, Bob Fish and Michael McFall, on a handshake and $4,000, decided to franchise the concept. The brand’s cultural values of Make Friends, Have Fun, B Yourself and Share Great Coffee help coffee lovers and the coffee-curious alike benefit from a less pretentious and fun approach to the standard gourmet cafe paradigm. Besides connoisseur-worthy drinks with names like Teddy Bear® and Caramel Marvel®, BIGGBY® COFFEE baristas provide a unique experience focused on brightening their customers’ day and supporting them in building a life they love. The “Big ‘B’” on the orange background caught on, and today BIGGBY® COFFEE has 385 cafes across many states, including Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida.