Over the past two years local Charing Cross business owner, Josh Huebschwerlen of This Guy's Hives, has expanded his business with the help of several hundred thousand workers thanks to employing the efforts of local honey bees. From early development of one hive in 2016, to now having 20 strong hives in full production, This Guy’s Hives has grown from part-time recreation to a full-time business.
“Everything started as a kind of a hobby,” says Josh, a Blenheim area native who served in the military and worked in Alberta for 11 years before returning to the family farm. “The honey that we produced out of our first three hives in our first year went really well. Everybody really liked it and enjoyed the flavour.”
In 2017 Josh decided to concentrate solely on his beekeeping operation and become a full-time producer and supplier. Following some professional advice, he realized to be successful he would need a formal business plan, so he reached out to the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre for help.
“As a small business owner who doesn’t have a whole lot of information, you need to have mentors. The Small Business Centre team is pretty amazing. If I have any questions, I can call and get some quick answers. They’re always willing to help, sit down, and listen. If you have any real issues, questions, or concerns, they are always there to lend a hand.”
Following some initial consultations and the creation of his draft business plan, Josh was able to attend the Small Business Centre’s Starter Company Plus Program where he finished his plan and was selected to receive a $5,000 business grant.
“After working with Josh and having him graduate from the Starter Company Plus Program, we were very excited to be able to further help his business with the grant funding,” said Rosemarie Montgomery, Small Business Consultant with Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “Josh is very ambitious, hard working, and dedicated to his community, all of which are important qualities for successful business owners.”
When asked what he thought about working with the Small Business Centre to grow his business, Josh said “It’s great! The Centre will take somebody who’s not sure if their business is going to be a valuable business and will help find that information. You learn so much there. I would say that, even for someone who is in business but still has a fairly small company, it is a great opportunity. I learned more about making my business work including understanding profit margins, purchasing, networking, and marketing.”
Products from This Guy’s Hives have already been placed with a major local grocery store, a bread store, and a restaurant that features a signature condiment sauce, “We have our regular honey, which is a wildflower raw unprocessed honey available in 500-gram jars and one-kilogram jars. We are also expanding to include creamed honey in a 500-gram jar and there are plans for adding combed honey as well.”
Josh added that he is thankful for all of the partnerships he developed across the region and is happy to feel so connected to the community. “It’s great to be getting calls from people who have bee swarms asking me to professionally remove them as they know I’ll do it safely and in a way that will help the bees thrive in a new home. I’m looking forward to the future and continuing to expand the business in the community.”
You can find more information about This Guys Hives on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thisguyshives/
- The foraging area around a beehive extends for an average of 3 km, although bees have been observed foraging up to three times this distance from the hive
- The Canadian Honey Council, the national organization of the beekeeping industry, says honeybees will tap about two million flowers and fly 80,000 kilometres to make about half a kilogram of honey.
- In Canada, the estimated value of bees pollinating fruit, vegetables and legumes is over $1 billion per year
- Learn more about the Small Business Centre on our website at http://www.investck.ca
- Learn more about Chatham-Kent Economic Development on our website: http://www.investck.ca
Marketing and Communications Officer, Economic Development Services
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Phone: 519-352-8401 x2039