Coffee Shop a First but also Familiar

With the addition of the Biggby Café, overnight and conference guests aren’t the only ones invited to spend time at the college’s newly renovated Haworth Hotel.

Cafés operated by major regional and national chains are a staple of hotels, but it’s a new feature for the Haworth Hotel, which previously had a lightly staffed nook for continental breakfasts and coffee. The Biggby shop was added not only as an amenity for those staying at the hotel, but in keeping with the hotel’s expanded role as a welcome center for first-time visitors to Hope — and as a welcoming place for alumni and the campus and Holland communities.

“This is the part of the renovation that I’m always most excited about,” said Derek Emerson ’85, who as director of events and conferences at Hope has administrative responsibility for the hotel. “We’ve been looking forward to connecting with students especially, providing a place for them to relax or study alone or with friends while enjoying coffee or a snack together, as well as a drop-in destination for anyone visiting Hope or neighboring downtown Holland.”

Although hosting a franchise on campus is a first for Hope, the relationship is grounded in a mutual understanding of the college and its mission. The café is owned by alumnus Mark Dykema ’07, who also has multiple other Biggby shops in Holland, Zeeland and Allegan.

“This is a natural fit for us,” said Dykema, whose wife, Jennifer Stults ’07 Dykema, is a Hope classmate. “Our company culture is ‘Be happy, have fun, make friends, and drink great coffee,’ and that aligns well with the type of place that Hope is.”

Dykema is committed to hiring Hope students to staff the operation, and a percentage of all profits are going to Hope (as is true with all income from the hotel). Dykema is also looking forward to connecting with campus life, hoping to partner, for example, with the student-organized Dance Marathon fundraiser held on behalf of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, an activity in which he had participated when he was a student.

The café at Hope opened on June 1, a couple weeks ahead of the reopening of the rest of the hotel. Hope hosted a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 16 with representatives of Haworth Inc. and invited guests. The hotel will host an open house for the campus community and general public this fall.

For more information about the Haworth Hotel and the renovation project, please visit