Despite some setbacks, the founder of a St. John's-based coffee company says it's been a banner year — and now he's got the hardware to back it up.
Jeff LeDrew, founder of Jumping Bean Coffee, was recently awarded the P.J. Gardiner Newfoundland and Labrador Entrepreneur of the Year award from Memorial University's School of Business.
The award recognizes an individual who is strengthening the province's economy and business community, while also serving as a role model for today's youth.
"We put in the application a while back, and I was kind of taken back once they did the selection. I was caught off-guard but it was great — it was great news," said LeDrew, who has a background in engineering.
"You work so hard at some of the stuff, it's nice every now and again to take a break and actually celebrate the little bit of success."
Awards aside, LeDrew said his company faced its share of setbacks this year.
- Target closure could cost Jumping Bean more than $50K
- Jumping Bean Coffee joins in competition complaint against Keurig
"It's been a crazy year, a lot of highs and lows, because obviously we were in Target right across the country and to have that thing crash on us — that put a pretty big dent on us. But we've rebounded, we're still looking at expansion," said LeDrew.
Jumping Bean Coffee is developing biodegradable, Keurig-compatible pods that will be available to customers across the country. LeDrew said the company has also scored a licencing agreement in the United States.
"It could be a pretty big banner year if everything comes together," he said.
The next step, said LeDrew, is to make Jumping Bean Coffee a national brand, while maintaining an eco-friendly message.
"Fair-trade organic and a low economic footprint. We've pretty well tried to create the perfect coffee, and we actually use the slogan, 'engineering the perfect cup,' so those are guiding principles in what we do," LeDrew said.
"We've got local manufacturing jobs. We tell people, even though it is a small purchase, it has a big impact, social responsibility and [an impact on] our local economy."