By Mark Squibb | Printed in the February 14 2019 edition of The Pearl News
The Jumping Bean is looking to hop the border.
The Mount Pearl based company, which roasts its own beans at its Mount Pearl facility and whose blends can be purchased in over 70 grocery stores across Atlantic Canada, recently received $500,000 in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Jumping Bean Founder and CEO Jeff LeDrew explained the money is split between two different proposals; a $293,750 repayable contribution for market expansion in Canada and a $206,250 conditionally repayable investment to support growth in the U.S. market.
"I never intended this (Jumping Bean) to be just a local business. I always intended to grow it to be a national brand," LeDrew said.
Funding was announced in January when Seamus O’Regan, the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, stopped by the Mount Pearl facility to deliver the funding on behalf of Navdeep Bains, the federal minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Minister responsible for ACOA.
The company also inked a deal with Sobeys Inc. that will see Jumping Bean coffee sold in over 700 stores across Canada.
Jumping Bean would not provide the price tag for that deal, citing that it was private business information.
LeDrew founded the company in 2005, initially as a charity for a Rotary Club fundraiser. (The very first roast, of which there are now roughly a dozen, was, appropriately, the Rotary Roast).
He says he hopes to begin work on the expansion process in late February.
LeDrew admits there are difficulties in doing business in this province, citing high costs of shipping, freight, and other logistics, but notes there are funding programs and support for business.
"It is really challenging to get your business started here, but it can do done," LeDrew said.