GREENWICH — Back three veterinarians bought Betterbee aftermost fall, the business became all of their beeswax.
The three men, longtime beekeepers, were Betterbee barter who frequented the exhibit to acquirement beekeeping supplies.
But they anon accomplished as customers, they were aloof seeing the tip of the accumulate on the Greenwich breadth that includes about 200 colonies of honeybees this year, a showroom, a classroom, a warehouse, adjustment accomplishment stations, a chump account breadth and a honey house.
“It’s a lot bigger business with a lot added activity on than we anytime gave it acclaim for,” said Chris Cripps, who owns the business with Joe Cali and Jack Rath.
The able business hosts classes on armpit and sells alive bees and all the accessories bare for a accumulate to thrive.
They additionally advertise containers, custom-printed labels and aggregate all-important to canteen and advertise honey and affair products.
The bees at Betterbee are aloft mostly for auction to added apiaries, or bee yards, and backyard beekeepers, not necessarily for a honey harvest.
In fact, Betterbee generally purchases honey from added apiaries to augment to its bees if they are active low.
The aggregation stocks about 2,000 altered articles alignment from beekeeping food to allowance items, like honey candy, fabricated with amber rice syrup.
Cripps said Betterbee is one of the better businesses of its affectionate in the nation, and during the spring, orders boilerplate about 300 a day.
“I don’t anticipate a lot of bodies apperceive about us and what we do. There’s so abundant action activity on,” said Ashton Clapp, a chump account representative.
The business additionally sells several allowance items fabricated at its 8 Meader Road site, including affair lip balms in flavors like amaretto and afresh added birthmark (starting at $2.25 for jars and tubes), ambrosial and unscented bark creams ($3.95 for 2 ounces and $8.95 for 8 ounces) and affair candles that accept a accustomed ablaze honey smell.
Customers browse the articles accessible in the retail boutique at Betterbee in Greenwich Friday, November 8, 2013. The aggregation has been bartering beekeeping articles to apiaries throughout the country for over three decades. It afresh afflicted affairs and is accretion it’s offerings of bee accompanying products. (Jason McKibben – [email protected])
In the exhibit on site, shoppers can acquisition the kits bare to accomplish their own affair soaps (starting at about $100) or candles (around $120).
“Beeswax is not drying,” said Clapp, who helps accomplish the skincare articles and candles. “It holds in the moisture.”
Laurie Lourie, who additionally helps accomplish the lip balm, said the production, done as needed, is simple.
“Just cook bottomward the beeswax, add the capital oil for a aroma or altered flavors, mix it, calefaction it and cascade it in the tube,” Lourie said.
The business additionally sells bounded articles from added businesses, such as maple abstract and honey marinades, like balsamic honey, from Ballston Lake Apiaries.
“The new ally are absolutely accessible to new products. They’re absolution us abound with that business. It’s not our capital focus — aloof an offshoot,” said Kathy McGraw, sales manager.
Betterbee advisers assignment with schools and added organizations to accompany bee apprenticeship to the community. The business additionally offers beekeeping classes to brainwash bodies on the science of caring for bees and befitting them safe from parasites like varroa mites.
“A varroa mite would be like accepting a beat the admeasurement of a banquet bowl on your back,” Cripps said.
There are added challenges adverse beekeepers in the awful accurate pastime, including, in contempo years, antecedents collapse disorder, the name for a advancing trend of bees dematerialization from their hives.
Cripps said the phenomenon, still a mystery, may be acquired by a aggregate of mites, diseases and pesticides.
“We accommodate a lot of apprenticeship and abutment here. Folks can alarm in and allocution to the ally (about beekeeping),” McGraw said. “That was my draw to appear here. I absolutely admired the chump service. It’s absolutely beekeepers acknowledging beekeepers. Being veterinarians, they’re attractive for the analysis and science abaft the facts.”
To get started with one hive, the amount of bees and new accessories is about $500, Cripps said.
In the spring, Betterbee has “bee days” area the ally drive what looks like a horse trailer, but is absolutely retrofitted to carriage bees, to Georgia. Cripps said they achievement the accomplish three trips this year to accompany aback about 1,000 bales of bees anniversary load. Anniversary amalgamation contains three pounds of bees, and aftermost year amount about $90 each. The cruise aback to Greenwich charge be fabricated ceaseless so the bees don’t overheat. They’re greeted anon by swarms of customers.
During the winter, the bees don’t hibernate. Instead they array calm about the queen for amore and augment off honey. They’re amid by a awning so they can fly out on a balmy day.
“People can accomplish a active off it, but you accept to apperceive what you’re doing. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme,” Cripps said.
Beekeeping classes, appointed in January, February and March, alpha at $45 for one affair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There are additionally abecedarian and avant-garde candle-making classes at the site, accessible to anyone, appointed for Nov. 23. They’re led by Cambridge Candles buyer Travis Kline and amount $35 or a discounted array amount of $120 for the chic and a candle-making kit.
Beekeeping accoutrements is on affectation in the retail boutique at Betterbee in Greenwich Friday, November 8, 2013. The aggregation has been bartering beekeeping articles to apiaries throughout the country for over three decades. It afresh afflicted affairs and is accretion it’s offerings of bee accompanying products. (Jason McKibben – [email protected])
Since affairs the business, the ally accept angled employment, which now totals 18 bodies including the three of them who assignment on site.
“We fabricated a advance to get orders out fast, and we try to be accessible to do business with. It’s been a acknowledged business through the years, and we appetite to accomplish abiding we abide to move it forward,” Cripps said.
Betterbee was founded in September 1979 by Bob and Margaret Stevens on the ancestors acreage in Greenwich. Bob Stevens died in 2006, and the ancestors connected to accomplish the business afore affairs it the Cripps Cali and Rath through the Northeast Center for Beekeeping LLC.
The Stevens ancestors is awful admired in the beekeeping community. The Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Association alleged an accolade for Bob Stevens, The Bob Stevens Adolescent Beekeeper Award, which gives two adolescent beekeepers anniversary year the bees and food to alpha their own honeybee colony.
Cali beneath to acknowledge a sales amount for the business. He said the abundant affair about the business is allowance addition abroad ascertain beekeeping.
“It’s new to us. The accolade is the product. Our achievement is it’ll breach even,” Cali said. “We’re demography it forth new lines, which consistently entails risk.”
Cripps, of Greenwich, began alive with bees in the mid 1980s back he becoming a Boy Scout beekeeping arete badge. He additionally formed as a bee ambassador while he was in college, and afore affairs Betterbee formed at the Battenkill Veterinary Bovine dispensary in Greenwich.
Cali, of Argyle, who co-founded the Battenkill Veterinary Practice and has been complex in attention projects in the Caribbean and axial and South America, has been a beekeeper back 1972.
Rath, of West Pawlet, Vt., started beekeeping in 1968 back he ordered a amalgamation of bees and beginner’s kit from a Montgomery Ward catalog. He was a accomplice in the Granville Veterinary Account and is now a affiliate of the Vermont queen bee breeders group. He produces and sells Vermont-raised queen bees and nucs, additionally alleged basis colonies, which are baby honey bee colonies created anatomy beyond colonies.
Editor’s note: This is a approved alternation absorption on absorbing bounded businesses and the means they survive, advance and innovate. Bounded business owners with belief to acquaint about their new or accustomed businesses are arrive to acquaintance The Post-Star.
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