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Small Business Owner Buzzing

It’s Day 3 of Small Business Week and we are celebrating by sharing the story of a small business owner each day! Meet Laura Kimball, part of a husband-and-wife small business owner team from Arrington, Tennessee.

Laura and her husband, Jeff Otto, spent years working for newspapers. After realizing that the newspaper industry was having a hard time, they needed other options.  Around 2005, they started “keeping bees,” since they always wanted to own and operate some kind of business that relates to farming and agriculture.  Rather than always wondering “what if,” the couple took a leap of faith and began TruBee Honey, a business specializing in pure, raw honey in glass jars.

Beekeeping is farming and is weather dependent, and that is the most difficult part of their honey business.  It’s unpredictable.  They can’t count on or predict what sort of honey harvest they’ll have each year, so they have learned to be flexible and open to the whims of nature and taking each day as it comes, a big change from being driven by imminent deadlines of the newspaper industry!

According to a UPS Store small business survey, despite the challenges that small business owners currently face, 71% of those surveyed say they would start their business all over again today. Laura is included in that 71%; while working long hours, she is still able to make time for things that are important in life, such as their young daughter.

TruBee Honey JarTen years ago, Laura and her husband were looking for a way to receive business correspondence that wasn’t their home address.  The use of The UPS Store for them has grown over the past 10 years to include deliveries of almost everything, including queen bees about once a year!  Like any live animal, queen bees are sensitive to temperature and sunlight; when they are delivered to The UPS Store in Franklin, Tennessee, Laura and her husband can expect three things:

  1. The UPS Store employees, Barbara, Tristan or Forest, will call as soon as they come in.
  2. The bees are in a temperature-controlled environment (versus the hot front porch!).
  3. They don’t have to sit around the farm wasting valuable time waiting for the shipment to arrive.

For many small business owners, it’s hard to define your “made it moment.” Made it moments can vary depending on your business and industry; for some, it is reaching a certain amount in sales, for others it is getting the keys to the business, and for many it is getting that national media attention. TruBee Honey had their “made it moment” when the business was featured in Bon Appétit magazine in 2012 in an article called “The New Southern Pantry.”

What’s next for TruBee Honey? They continue to add more honeybee colonies to the apiary to keep up with the demand for pure, raw honey.  This means The UPS Store in Franklin, Tenn., might be buzzing again come next spring.

For more information on TruBee Honey, visit www.trubeehoney.com.

Follow TruBee Honey on Twitter and Facebook.

Category: Business Insights
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