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Lifelong Nurse and Mother Opens First BIGGBY® COFFEE in Hometown of Marysville, Ohio with Husband and Son

Sandy Cruise left a long career in nursing to open a BIGGBY® COFFEE location in her hometown of Marysville, Ohio with her husband and oldest son Brandon after witnessing the success in the franchising industry of her sister’s family.

By Jeff DwyerStaff Writer
SPONSOREDUpdated 5:05AM 07/05/23

Her family had their eyes on owning a business, but without any prior experience they knew they could tap into the experiences of her sister and family. Having already developed strong ties to their home community of Marysville, Ohio, the Cruises knew this would be a great opportunity.

Sandy’s sister and her husband, who live in Michigan, are multi-unit operators of BIGGBY® COFFEE. After speaking to them about the franchise, Sandy and her family decided that they wanted to give it a try. In 2020 she along with her son and husband opened her first BIGGBY® COFFEE location in Marysville, Ohio. After three years, Sandy and her family have signed a franchise agreement to open a second location later this year.

1851 Franchise recently spoke to Cruise about why she left a career in health care to pursue business ownership, and what plans she has 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?

Cruise: After getting my Bachelor’s degree in nursing, I was a labor and delivery nurse for about 20 years, along with doing some occupational health nursing part-time. My husband and son really became interested in franchising after watching my sister and her husband open their own BIGGBY® COFFEE location in Northern Michigan. That’s what first piqued our interest. At the time, we were looking for some sort of opportunity but didn’t know exactly what. So, we spoke to them, and we were really interested in it, especially my husband, who was talking about it all the time. Around the same time, they were opening a new store, so we got to see the process of opening a BIGGBY® COFFEE franchise and how busy they were. It was after seeing their success and with their encouragement that we decided we wanted to get involved as well.

We opened our first BIGGBY® COFFEE location in February 2020, and we’ve got another location on the way!

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?

Cruise: I hadn’t thought about it a whole lot, to be honest. But I always thought it was something that was very hard to do. I never expected to be involved in this industry. But watching our own family do it opened our eyes a bit more and made us realize it could be a possibility. Our family was so encouraging. They really were one of the main reasons we decided to pursue a franchise.

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

Cruise: We really like the product. I love coffee and BIGGBY® COFFEE has such a good product. I also want to say, as a franchise, BIGGBY® COFFEE really sets you up for success. They have a very good training program, and if you follow the systems they’ve set in place, it can work for you, too. Our son, Brandon, manages the store now and by following the brand’s guidelines, it’s really worked out for us.  

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

Cruise: Our son is a part owner and we’ll likely eventually sell the business to him. I think two is plenty for me right now, but down the road, if he wants to open more locations, he can! We really accomplished what we wanted to do with our business, though. Brandon has become the leader we always knew he was. He’s done such a great job with our employees and our customers; we couldn’t be prouder of him.

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

Cruise: We just love being involved with the community. In 2002, we planned and opened a local church from scratch. Through that experience, we met a lot of people in our community that we didn’t know initially. We’ve been in our community for more than 20 years, and we’re passionate about building relationships within our community. That’s so important to us.

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

Cruise: Talk to other owners. Hear their stories about what has and hasn’t worked. BIGGBY® COFFEE has a proven model, so just stick to it. And of course, build relationships with other owners. Those connections can help you grow and help you solve problems. A franchise can be a lot of hard work, but stick with it because there are some incredible rewards.

About The BIGGBY® COFFEE Franchise

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 340 cafes across many states, including Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Florida.