Mike and Angelica Curtis discuss the history and future of the Oregon Bee Store in Eagle Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Mike and Angelica Curtis unboxing the new sign for the Oregon Bee store. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
The Oregon Bee store, which has been open for 10 years, closed last weekend despite plans to continue offering honey and beeswax candles to longtime loyal customers.
Owners Mike and Angelica Curtis put up a “For Sale” sign near the front area along Highway 62 last summer, and the rumor mill went viral within days. said. Many of his ventures have prompted his decision to close the 10-year-old retail store as of December 24.
“We were spread too thin. We kept adding more and more on top of what we were already doing,” said Mike Curtis.
“And we didn’t take anything off!” added Angelica Curtis.
The couple have been busy unwrapping signs for their new business on Wednesday and selling the final components of the Bee Store.
“Everybody was pretty worried, and I’m not going out of business. I had to say no,” Mike said.
“It was just time to slow down a bit. We are both in our 60s. We want to get down to five days a week instead of seven. A 40 hour work week would certainly be great.”
Opened in 2012, the Bee Store was an offshoot of the decades-old Wild Bee Honey Farm, founded in 1966 by Mike’s father. The couple, who married in 1995, have added over the years to her U-pick crops like beeswax candles, fresh produce, and strawberries.
In the background, they manage up to 500+ beehives for commercial operations around the Pacific Northwest, ready to serve a variety of crops such as almonds and prunes at the end of each winter. doing.
In recent months, Eagle Point Baptist Church has purchased land along one side of the couple’s driveway. A small red building called the “Bee Barn” will be moved to the remaining Curtises lot and will be used for a self-service honey and candle station that is scheduled to open in March.
“We just sold the farm part where the store used to be. It’s all gone and what we’re doing is moving the Bee Barn here to the other side of the driveway,” Mike said.
“It used to be self-service, so I really hope that we can go back to the old system and do well.”
According to Curtis, the biggest change for customers is a shortage of produce and a shrinking interface.
Octavio Posidonio, a local farmer, works with the couple to help out with the farmers market and other tasks. Posidonio recently attempted to revive farming operations at his historic Beebe farms in Central Point, where he spent four growing seasons, but smoke, drought and a labor shortage were the main reasons he lost six. closed in May.
Posidonio, who now farms on his own land, is relieved by the couple’s decision to scale back, but excited to work with them to make locally grown honey available. He said that he was
“There will always be challenges. Things change and evolve,” he said.
“But I’m happy to be able to make some changes to make them work.
Posidonio authorized the sale of part of the apiary to the church.
“It’s great because they’re really nice people. It’s one thing you sell and walk away, but this way they know they have good neighbors.” He said, “I run a farmers market for them and help out with other things.”
Mike Curtis said the change will reduce stress for couples, allowing them to focus more on operating their hives than on their annual full-time venture. By doing so, you can return to your family roots.
“Seven days a week we will have self-service options. That’s how it all started many years ago. We built it — we had it for a few years, and it just kept evolving.”
The couple said they hoped the honor system would suffice for the sale of honey — robberies at roadside stalls in the past have been a deterrent to most self-service approaches. said like this.
“It will take about two to three weeks before the bees are fully functional again. Now they are in a winter building in Idaho. , and help me with the almonds first, then the prunes,” he said.
“Don’t slow down.”
For the latest information and online sales, oregonbeestore.com
Please contact reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal.