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The East Hill Honey Business Model

by Tommy Van Horn March 20, 2013

It is hard to believe April is just around the corner. In the beekeeping world, April in Pensacola means honeyflow! Everything from the citrus, to laurel cherry, wild rosemary, ti ti and more are in full bloom. The air is fresh and has a sweetness to it - it's the best time of year to be a bee and a keeper of bees. Even though we are a good two weeks behind the climatological average, spring is definitly in the air!

All this being said, I can not help but reflect on where we were in March 2012 - one year ago today. It's hard to believe we have come from a couple of hives in our little East Hill backyard to now a business that is beginning to take off; with that I have been asked frequently how we have done what we have done. Initally, I did not have a clear answer I just mummbled off some cliche phrases incorporating determination, perserverce and hard work...

All of which are true, but the real secret to the little bit of success we have had this year has to do with something much larger than myself and our family. The honest truth to where we are is our community. As American's it seems that we hold up the "self-made" millionaires and entrepreneur as gods and goddesses. Yes, it is impressive. However, we are not "self-made". Whether we admit it or not, our success is often linked to our relationships - and the key, I believe, is seeing each relationship not as a means to an end, but rather for what it is - a relationship. The stronger and more sincere the relationship the more successful (in most cases).

Everything from learning the art of keeping bees, to business planning, to marketing and branding, to initally funding our business, to building our facilitiy, to delivering our product, to selling our product, to advertising our product, to fixing my dang truck, to helping me pack up our stand in the pouring rain, to providing the space and the market to retail honey,  to the countless hours of volunteers doing menial tasks all require community. So - yes our family is driving EHHC but Pensacola is stoking the fire, opening doors and making it possible for this budding company to thrive.

So what my limited experience has taught is to think horizontal - not vertical. Meaning, rather than build an empire, build a community. Besides, once we become old, retire and are about to pass - the money made will no longer matter, but the people will.

::Tommy




Tommy Van Horn
Tommy Van Horn

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