As bee death and colony collapse remains in the mainstream media headlines with much controversy of the cause, it becomes imperative that we all support saving our bees. Whether the bee decline is due to pesticides, decline in food sources, stress, or other factors, we can all do our part to help raise awareness – and even raise bees!
Although most of the focus has been on honey bees, we all know that other bees also play a vital role in the pollination of our food supply. A program, recently awarded The Garden Center Group's Retailers' Choice Award™ was discovered at the 2014 Farwest trade show in Portland, Oregon.
Dave Hunter, owner of Crown Bees sells both spring mason bees and summer leafcutters for pollination of fruits, nuts vegetables and plants. To help wholesale clients sell bees and bee products, the company developed an innovative marketing program to create awareness and drive customers to their stores. It includes a win-win for wholesalers, landscapers and their customers.
The Crown Bees retailer program includes:
1. Advertorials: Crown Bees helps prepare articles for the local newspaper under the client’s name, not Crown Bees. Submit the article about the value of gentle bees for pollination, and how the nursery or landscaper is participating.
2. In store marketing:
Cross selling signage reminding customers to buy bees to pollinate their newly purchased fruit tree.
Colorful end cap signage and display ideas are also available.
A buying guide helps the customer select products for their gardens and yards.
3. Events: Excellent opportunities exist to bring customers into the store.
Hold seminars on the value of bee pollinators. Host one for spring mason bees and later one for summer leafcutters. These coincide with the purchase of fruits, vegetables and plants.
Book a speaker from the company’s developing speakers bureau, or have a staff member make a presentation using a free speakers presentation.
Conduct a bee harvesting party in the fall for customers to harvest their bees.
4. Bee BuyBack Program: Today, there are not enough mason bees to pollinate commercial food crops. To increase the population, Crown Bees buys excess bees from gardeners who are successful raising bees for their own use. These bees will be rehomed in other gardens and on farms for commercial growers. This is one solution to protect the food supply.
“Selling an unknown product is challenging," Hunter said. "That’s why we take a team approach to working with our wholesale clients. We want them to be successful selling gentle-natured bees and bee products. In turn, we want their garden customers to succeed in raising bees for food and plant pollination. The more successful we all are, the more we can ensure a sustainable food supply for the future,” he added.
Hunter noted that bees pollinate 1/3 of our food. Solitary gentle bees are an efficient supplement to the troubled honey bee. In fact, one mason bee can pollinate 12 lbs. of cherries, a task that requires 60 honey bees.
Crown Bees also offers a New2Bees Mini Course designed to get you quickly buzzing with success in raising the following amazing pollinator bees: spring mason bees, summer leafcutters and eastern states bumble bees. It includes 9 short lessons. After that, use our monthly Bee-Mail for reminders on what to do when. Crown Bees makes it easy for us all to be a part of the solution in increasing the bee population.
Dave Hunter founded Crown Bees in 2008 to introduce gentle-natured mason bees to gardeners and nurseries. Their mission is to supplement the declining honey bee and protect the food supply. Delivering quality products and great service wasn’t enough. In order to help nurseries sell this little known, but amazing bee pollinator, Crown Bees developed an innovative nursery marketing program. As Dave says, nurseries don’t have to be experts. It’s Crown Bees job to be the experts, and to lend support to help nurseries and their customers be successful.
For more information on Crown Bees visit crownbees.com.
To create a free account to access the wholesale area of the website go to: http://crownbees.com/customer/account/login/. Use registration code "gentle".