Jasper Company grows hospitality roots in chosen home of Ely

Samantha Erkkila, Digital Media Specialist

July 26, 2022

Cindy Smyka and her father Don Beans stand in front of the counter at Northern Grounds in Ely, MN.

Don Beans was nine years old when he read a story in Outdoor Life Magazine written by Ely-based author Bob Cary. That story is what prompted a visit and then permanent move to Ely, Minnesota, where he and his family have started multiple businesses in the hospitality industry over the past 38 years.   

The Jasper Company is a multigenerational family business dedicated to hospitality. Don and Joan Beans started Jasper Creek Guide Service in 1992 and as they grew the business, they wanted to have more control over the lodging experience of their guests. In 2005, the couple heard a radio ad for the Entrepreneur Fund and were able to access financing that allowed them to build their first lodging facility, A Stay Inn Ely.  

Don and Joan’s daughter, Cindy Smyka pursued studies in hospitality and tourism before returning to Ely and joining the family business. As they continued to grow their services, lodging options and amenities offered to guests, Jasper Company was formed in 2013 as the umbrella company for their hospitality business ventures. In 2016, they added Northern Grounds, a wine and coffee bar located in the heart of downtown Ely.  

Since working together on their first loan in 2005, the Beans family has seen the Entrepreneur Fund as a valued long-term partner in business growth and creativity. Over the years they have accessed:  

  • Flexible Financing 
  • Profit Mastery + Quickbooks Training 
  • Business Advising  
  • EF Expert Network  
  • Covid-19 Relief  

“We are proud to be a part of the Ely community, and love to share everything the Northwoods has to offer with people who choose to spend their limited vacation time with us,” said Smyka.  

At the Entrepreneur Fund we have a vision of vibrant communities across our region that are created and sustained by entrepreneurs. We partner with local small businesses, like the Jasper Company, to make that vision a reality.  

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