Houston Honey Purveyor Featured In PBS Series On Small Businesses

Houston company Bee2Bee Honey Collective is featured in season five, episode three of the PBS program START UP, a television series that travels the country to share the inside scoop on small businesses. (Local smash-party spot Tantrums, LLC is also featured in this episode.) Axelrad Beer Garden at 1517 Alabama Street is hosting a watch party for the “Barn to Be Wild” episode on Tuesday, May 15 with Nicole Buergers, founder of Bee2Bee, and Shawn Baker, owner of Tantrums, in attendance. The free showing begins at sundown and coincides with Axelrad’s weekly artisan night market.

In addition to her work with Bee2Bee, Buergers has been part of the Houston Dairymaids for the past seven years. The timing for Bee2Bee came about in part due to customers seeking “hyperlocal” honey options. A segment of the episode takes part at the store with owner Lindsey Schechter sharing cheese and honey pairings. Buergers sells Bee2Bee honey in the shop and manages the stores on-site hive.

On the show, Buergers shares how she left a corporate job to fulfill a longtime dream of keeping bees. “We’re all working — and a lot of us dream about doing something differently — but we put up mental barriers that we can’t pursue our dreams,” she said in a phone interview. “I decided to do it anyway.” Buergers hopes to inspire viewers to take that leap and live their best lives. She also cautions about the risks and hurdles that can derail a fledgling business. She’s saving the details for the show but explains, “I faced a particularly harrowing experience early on and had to decide whether to pursue beekeeping or give it up.”

Nicole Buergers is the founder of Bee2Bee Honey Collective and manages more than 60 hives in the Houston area. Photo by Monica Kressman Photography

The efforts of Bee2Bee Collective are twofold. One, provide beekeeping services and mentorship to residential and corporate beekeepers (hive startup, maintenance, etc.) and two, connect beekeepers to consumers seeking the coveted local liquid gold after harvest. The business currently manages over 60 beehives in the Houston area with harvests showing up in retail stores, restaurants and various markets around town. The web site offers full details including a map of local hives that supply the collective and options for ordering online.

Though the episode stays within the bounds of business practices, a behind-the-scenes segment shares broader knowledge of bees and hives. Buergers also encourages interested viewers to sit in on the monthly Houston Beekeepers Association meeting. This month, the meeting moves to Axelrad and is open to the public. (Normally, it is held at Bayland Community Center.) “I would like for the public to have an opportunity to talk to a beekeeper and ask questions,” said Buergers.

It’s also a chance for beekeepers to interact with each other. Buergers points to a network of hundreds of local beekeepers that fall into three categories: hobbyists or small-scale keepers, sideliners (between a hobbyist and a commercial producer — and also what Nicole considers Bee2Bee) and commercial beekeepers who keep thousands of hives. “My goal is to provide education to beginning or even experienced beekeepers who might not know how to do something specific,” she added.

Nicole Buergers of Bee2Bee Honey Collective tends a hive in Houston. Photo by Sam Franklin

Attendees of the night market and watch party can purchase Bee2Bee Collective honey jars starting at $6, shirts for $15, balms for $6 and tinctures for $15. Buergers also makes sterling silver and glass vial necklaces filled with local honey for $25. She accepts all forms of payment including cash, card and check.

For more information, visit Bee2Bee Honey Collective on Facebook or view the episode teaser.

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