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The Great Franchisee: Carrie and Casey Williams, BIGGBY® COFFEE, Independence, KY

The former teacher and marketing professional are starting new careers as franchise owners with the fast-growing coffee brand.

After building careers in education and marketing, respectively, Carrie and Casey Williams are changing course, adding Business Owners to their resumes as the newest franchise owners with BIGGBY® COFFEE, the 240-plus-location gourmet coffee franchise that is rapidly expanding in markets across the country. 

Carrie had been working as an elementary teacher in Kenton County, Kentucky for 13 years when she found herself itching to make a change. At the same time, Casey was taking a business leadership class, where he was introduced to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area representative for BIGGBY® COFFEE, Shanna Novosel. Novosel introduced the Williamses to the brand, and they quickly fell in love. 

The Williams’ BIGGBY location — the first in Independence, Kentucky — opened in February, and they are already using the location as a way to give back to the community, using proceeds to donate to causes like the Family Resource Center at Summit View Academy.

1851 Franchise: Tell us your story – what did you do before franchising?

Carrie Williams: I taught for 13 years in the Kenton County School District, but found myself itching for a change. I always wished there was a coffee shop close to work since teaching made me need a lot of caffeine. My dad passed away in 2019, and right before he died we had a conversation about making changes. He told me to do what I need to make myself happy, and opening a BIGGBY made me feel that way.

Casey Williams: My professional background was in video and digital content creation. I worked at a marketing agency in Kentucky and also at a local Children’s Hospital creating content. I was in a leadership class that our chamber of commerce offered when I met the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area representative for BIGGBY, Shanna Novosel. We became friends and she introduced us to the brand and helped us realize we could turn this into a career opportunity.

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising, and what was your perception of franchising before becoming franchise owners?

Casey: We found out about the opportunity with BIGGBY when I met Shanna. I had never even been to a BIGGBY before meeting her. Shanna took me to a BIGGBY one day and Carrie came with. Carrie said she thought the coffee at BIGGBY was life-changing, and for us, it really was.

My perception of franchising has drastically changed since becoming a franchisee. Prior to this opportunity, I didn’t realize franchise locations are family- or independently owned businesses, and I now have a greater appreciation for them because of that.

Carrie: Similar to Casey, I realized that these BIGGBY owners are families that want to make a difference in their communities. I also realized that it’s not your average coffee shop and there’s a lot more to offer.

1851: How did you decide you wanted to be franchisees?

Casey: We wouldn’t have become franchisees with any other brand. BIGGBY’s philosophy is a people-first culture. If you develop good relationships, business will develop naturally, which is very different from some of the bigger, well-known coffee chains.

Carrie: The atmosphere at BIGGBY really stood out to us. The baristas love their jobs and genuinely care about the customers they are serving. It’s an inviting and welcoming atmosphere that keeps customers coming back.

1851: How did you perform your research?

Casey: We researched a few other brands’ models and evaluated the quality of BIGGBY against those models. A good friend of mine who owns his own business told us that the more similar a brand’s model is to Subway, the more comfortable you should feel. In doing our own research, we learned that one of Subway’s former executives helped form the BIGGBY model which was a major green light for us to keep moving forward.

Carrie: We researched the support that BIGGBY offers and were really impressed from a corporate and local level. Everyone wants what’s best for the company and is one big family.

1851: Why did you choose BIGGBY? What excited you most about the potential?

Casey: We love the product at BIGGBY and were sold on the model and the executive team. BIGGBY is also a way for us to give back to the community. One of our main charitable goals is to support local schools in the area.

The area of Independence where our shop will be is not a destination spot. There’s plenty of opportunity for development in the area, so we’re excited to see how our BIGGBY location will attract more people and help with business development in the area.

Carrie: As an elementary school teacher, I’ve noticed our local family resource center is extremely active in the community collecting items for families in need. Education is important to us. Our kids go to Summit View Academy, and our first fundraising day at BIGGBY will donate $1 for every beverage sold to the Family Resource Center at Summit View. Looking ahead, we’d like to extend this charitable initiative to other schools in the area to give back to those in need.

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

Carrie: We’re focusing on getting our Independence location up and running, but would love to open more locations in the future.

1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?

Carrie: It’s a huge risk and very stressful/time-consuming, but also very rewarding. You meet a lot of great people throughout the process. Life is too short to have regrets, and if something isn’t making you happy, then you need to be in charge of your own happiness and make a change.

Casey: Learn all you can about the leaders of the company. See if their values match up with those of the employees in the physical stores. If they do, that’s a sign of great company culture, and that’s what we noticed at BIGGBY.

1851: What do you do in your personal time?

Carrie: A lot of our free time is spent with our two kids. Our daughter is in dance and our son is a swimmer and plays soccer, so we’re always supporting them at their sporting events. We enjoy playing board games together, playing with our dog and going on walks and runs.

Casey: We love spending time outdoors hiking, camping and boating.



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. BIGGBY® COFFEE’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® 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 more than 240 cafes across many states including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Florida. In 2018, BIGGBY® launched an Area Representative Program and currently has 8 Area Representatives in 6 states.