Maxwell’s Honey Bee Farm – Interviewed – Saturday November 13th, 2021
Maxwell’s Home (https://www.maxwellshoneybeefarm.com)
Maxwell’s Honey Bee Farm
7400 State Street Ext.
KnC Worm Farm felt perfectly at home inside the feel-good store for our Small Business Saturday Interviews with Beth from Maxwell’s. Beth and her husband Brent have become part of what we like to refer to as “our tribe” and family, and our mentors for our business.
Maxwell’s is the Sodus main place to get the most incredible locally grown honey, and for our local beekeepers and those who hold an interest in starting to learn this trade, it is the local place to purchase and learn anything about bee keeping and the materials and equipment you would need to do so. You most likely you have run into Beth and Brent at the local markets where they also sell their yummy honey and the most incredible jams and jellies. If you have not ventured into this store, please go pay them a visit as they are getting ready for the Christmas boxes that they sell and will put together for you! Let’s get started.
How and why did you decide to go into this business?
Oh, this is totally and completely Brent’s fault! Brent’s mother had a wild hive/ swarm, in her home. The bees went into her home, not knowing much about bees at the time – mainly that if you used smoke, they would behave calmer. They got that swarm out of his mother’s home and took the hive home. That winter, the swarm died, but they had the queen.
From there, they started with 5 hives. They had so much honey that year that they asked the Sodus Farmers Market if they could have a booth. 6 weeks later, they were sold out of honey!
Five hives have now turned in to 50! It was like it was just what we were supposed to do. God took over and they kept doing the work.
What is the most important thing that you would like people to know about your business?
We take great pride in quality. We don’t advertise, so we grow by word of mouth. Our business is all about the connection with the customer. We love the person to person. We love selling local. We want to take the product to the people and feel strongly that honey should be a very local product.
How did you come up with the name of your business?
We live on Maxwell Road. When we first started, we were going to name our business Maxwell’s B&B – for Beth and Brent of course. However, there is a Maxwell’s B&B that is a bed and breakfast, so that wasn’t going to work. So, we chose Maxwell’s Honey Bee Farm.
3.5 – Why Sodus?
We bought our home here in Sodus and raised our boys in that home. We love the small-town atmosphere, and we wanted our business to be close to home. Later, we found our property adjacent to our home and built our store. It is crazy to look back as in 2009 or 2010 we got the swarm and started the 1st hives. 2011 we got really into the markets. 2012 we got our DBA. 2015 we purchased our land and 2017 we built our store.
Beth expanded on her feelings about this whole start of the process of building their small business.
It was all such a learning process. Learning about the bees and running the business. When we started, we reached out to other bee farmers and experienced some difficulties getting some of them to share in their experience and knowledge. Once we got going, we started teaching bee keeping. We wanted to share the information that we were learning with others.
Then in 2015 we started the Wayne County Bee Club. It is all about sharing information. We started with probably about 9 people. Now it’s through Cornell Co-Op Extension and we have about 30 to 50 people. Although it is totally separate from our business, it’s important to us to share our knowledge. If we don’t know something, then we find someone who does, because in this business we are constantly learning and evolving.
What is unique about your business?
We make all our products – our honey, our jams and our candles are all homemade. Everything comes from our bees. Our fruit for our jams come from local farmers. We keep our cost down and we help others the best that we can.
We used to have to drive hours to get our bee supplies. Now we sell bee supplies and equipment in our store. We keep that cost down as well. When someone comes into our store and has researched what they need to start their own hives, we will always help them get what they need as inexpensive as it can be. It is an expensive hobby, so we want to make sure that they get only what they need and if there is a less expensive way to do something, we will make suggestions on how to do this.
What makes you most excited about your business?
The connections we make with people. When someone says things like – OMG I have never had honey that taste like this – or the stories that folks come back and share with us when we have advised them on bee keeping. It is these connections that we get so excited about and love to hear. It makes it all worth it.
There was a gentleman that used to travel to Toronto, Canada to get his prized Crabapple Jam once he tried ours he is now buying it locally from us 😊.
What is it that you most want people to know about your business?