SHELBY TOWNSHIP — When the Biggby Coffee location at 51185 Van Dyke Ave. in Shelby Township closed Sept. 28, the community lost more than a coffee shop.
Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said he heard owner Dave Danyko was forced to close the shop’s doors because of the sluggish economy, and the township lost, among other things, a gathering place for charitable booster organizations and the offices of the Shelby Township veterans events coordinator.
“He generated a lot of traffic with that coffee shop, not to mention the generous community events, such as fun runs,” Stathakis said of Danyko.
“But, most important, he was in the business of helping, and much of what he did many people never knew. He will be greatly missed, and I hope somehow he returns back to Shelby Township as a businessperson to continue those efforts.”
In at least one of those charitable efforts, Danyko’s commitment to others will live on in the township because the Jingle Bell Run that was sponsored by Biggby is set to continue in 2012.
“I knew David through his daughter, who ran at Stevenson,” said Michael Ward, who helped organize the Jingle Bell Run with Danyko. “We had chemistry, and he got involved in all the fundraisers I had, and I helped him with the Jingle Bell Run.”
Ward said he was helping organize the Jingle Bell Run this year, which is set for Dec. 16, to continue to benefit groups like the Macomb County Special Olympics, Shelby Township Lions, military veterans, Penrickton Center and Cat Tail Acres.
“Dave is not the kind of guy looking for the glory; he’s never been that way.” Ward said. “He’s just in it for helping the community.”
Along with donating his time and efforts to help charities, Danyko also opened the doors of his shop to help local groups and charities network, fundraise and organize their activities.
“(Danyko’s Biggby) was nice because it was in the center of town, right by the Township Hall, and it provided a place that anyone involved with anything could go and have a place to meet,” Ward said.
“It was just so nice all around, and I always ran into people there. It was a community within the community.”
Because of one individual in particular that Danyko opened his doors to, those humanitarian efforts at Biggby will truly last forever.
“I went over there and met Dave Danyko, and he brought me in his store and showed me the flag, which had a mount,” Phil Randazzo said of his initial meeting with Danyko to present the colors prior to the 2011 Jingle Bell Run.
“(Danyko) thought it would be a great idea to present the American flag. After I seen his patriotic heart, that’s when I went home and said to myself, ‘I got to get back with that guy.’”
Randazzo did get back in touch with Danyko, and asked Danyko to help with a project that was dear to his heart.
“I talked to him about the Heart of America (memorial), and I asked him if he would help me collect money,” Randazzo said. “He put the poster up for donations for the Heart of America, so he started the drive.”
What started as a drive to collect donations a dollar at a time as Biggby patrons purchased lattes and coffees turned into roughly $50,000 to fund and erect a memorial for Macomb County soldiers killed in action during the global war on terror.
“He actually was the key to open up the door to financially finish off the debt for the Heart of America,” Randazzo said of Danyko.
“He was a lifesaver to the Macomb County memorial, and a lot of people stepped up, but no one did like he did,” Randazzo added.
“He said (Biggby) is your office, if you ever want to have a meeting, use it whenever you want. He saved my butt. I was getting worn out from going around trying to raise money by myself.”
Along with giving him a base of operations, Danyko also connected Randazzo to a former colleague from his time working with Ford Motor Co., Tony Feyers.
“(Danyko) happened to know Tony Feyers, who is in the regional office at Ford Motor Co., and we sat and had a meeting, and I really didn’t know Dave yet, but he set that meeting up,” Randazzo said.
“So we met at the coffee shop, and (Feyers) said he’d get the word going downtown and see if Mr. (Bill) Ford and Mr. (Alan) Mulally, what they would say about it and how they would get involved. And that was a big boost for me.”
Along with getting the word out among Ford’s top executives, Danyko and Feyers also helped Randazzo connect with UAW Local 400, which would end up picking up the remaining $29,000 in debt that Randazzo owed on the memorial.
“That cash deal, plus the four to five benches, more than $40,000, then they threw another $10,000 with the ceremony with tents,” Randazzo said of the investment the UAW made in his memorial, which included the debt, memorial benches around the site and a dedication ceremony when the memorial was unveiled July 15 in downtown Mount Clemens.
And while Randazzo is grateful to everyone who contributed, he said he will never forget who got the ball rolling, and chances are there are others around Shelby Township with similar sentiments.
“I learned all this through Dave with the meetings he set up and his place of business,” Randazzo said of the help he got from Danyko at his Biggby.
“That’s how important Dave Danyko is to me. He’s the whole damn thing. If it wasn’t for him, there would be no memorial up there right now.”
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