HONEY GUY PRODUCTS, INC.
Above: 3rd Generation beekeeper, Don Johnson and grandson Samson Grunwald working the bees at Johnson's Bee Farm in East Texas.
OUR STORY by Don Johnson
The story began when my father, Ralph Johnson was a young boy in Missouri. He learned to keep bees with his father in the 1920's. Actually they did more "robbing" than "keeping" as they would follow bees from their water source into the forest and find their hives. Then, with little more protection than a thin veil, they would proceed to rob these wild bees. Sometimes they would capture the hives and put them in makeshift boxes they could more easily work with. With time and circumstance my father stopped beekeeping but never forgot the fun and entertainment the bees afforded him. In 1989, at age 70 he decided to start keeping bees again. At first he just had a few hives but then, in 1993, my brother Jim joined him in a big way! Jim bought over 100 hive boxes and stocked them with new bees. The two of them were instantly overwhelmed by the size of the operation. It was at this time that I joined them in their new "Hobby".
Together, we worked our hives, during a time when, it seems, Pandora's Box was opened and every possible problem bees could have was poured out upon our bees. Of course, we were not the only beekeepers affected - the entire United States beekeeping industry suffered during the mid-late nineties. In fact the entire "wild" honeybee population in the US was virtually wiped out by the "Varroa" mite. Only the domesticated honeybee survived with much effort on the part of Professional and Hobbyist beekeepers.
But survive we and our bees did, and we produced a lot of honey, selling most of it wholesale to local health food stores and road-side vegetable stands under the name "Johnson's Honey". Our East Texas Wildflower Honey is among the best for health purposes because of it's high pollen content and because we do not destroy it's healthful qualities by heating. Using only coarse filtering, our honey is the next best thing to having your own beehive in your backyard!
Now, it should be mentioned that selling honey at wholesale prices is a losing proposition unless you have very large numbers of hives - say a minimum of 500! By year 2000 it was clear to me that retailing was the only way to make a profit with our honeybees. And not only honey but also another product I had been experimenting with for several years - Beeswax Skin Cream.
I had heard that in frontier days beekeepers used beeswax for a myriad of purposes including making an effective skin cream. On one occasion I observed another beekeeper making a beeswax cream and I became interested in the process. Working in my basement, I experimented with age-old methods of making beeswax cream. The basic steps were simple but there are literally an infinite number of variations! I wanted a cream that was enjoyable to feel (silky smooth), healthful to wear and completely natural. I settled on a light weight version of beeswax cream with enough beeswax to produced the desired effects on the skin but not too heavy that it would not absorb readily.
The light weight version is silky smooth, absorbs quickly, seals the skin from water and any other exterior antagonist. It helps to moisturize the skin and promotes healing of rough, dry skin - hands, heals, face, etc. It lasts much longer when exposed to water the regular skin creams because it is not water soluble - one application is usually enough for all day!!. It protects the skin and lips from chapping and cracking in cold and wet winter conditions. As a bonus it has the ability to relieve the discomfort of most irritated skin conditions - mosquito bites, fire ant bites, eczema, psoriasis, hives, poison ivy, oak and sumac, even bee stings!
As mentioned earlier, retailing is the best way for a small beekeeping operation to make a profit. Having a regular full time job, I began searching for a way to sell our products on the weekends. In June of 2000 I began to sell locally at 'THE MARKET at Cedar Creek Lake', an open air farmer's market and outlet for handmade goods in Seven Points, Texas which was operated by Ms. Ardy Stuart. The Beeswax Skin Cream instantly became the best seller at The Market, with customers coming back for more and even with repeat orders coming in by phone and fax. Often visitors would come to the market after being referred by friends. They would ask "Where is 'the Honey guy' that has that wonderful beeswax skin cream?" and that was the start of Honey Guy. Customers would tell us they found our cream useful for dry itchy skin, rashes, insect bites, diaper rash, and persistent dry skin conditions. They called it a "miracle cream." I don't make any medical claims concerning beeswax skin cream; however, science is proving that beeswax and most other products of the hive DO have many healthful qualities. And being completely natural, my new Waterblocker Skin Cream had none of the preservative chemicals that cause painful reactions to the skin of so many people.
The immediate success of our Waterblocker Skin Cream in particular, and the repeat business it brought, convinced us of the need to set up a Website to make our products available to the World Wide Market and to facilitate those customers who wanted to be able to quickly order and re-order our products. To that end, I retained Ms. Ardy Stuart (a lady of many talents) to design my first website. As a result, Honey Guy has shipped many products - Waterblocker Skin Cream in particular - all over the USA and to many different countries including Ecuador, Ireland, Spain and Mexico, England and Canada.
With the aid of Ardy's marketing expertise, our Honey Guy line of products has expanded from the initial two - East Texas Honey and Beeswax Skin Cream - to include flavored honeys, creamed honey, honey-butter, fruit 'n honey, old-time beeswax furniture polish, bars of pure beeswax and unique gift baskets which include various combinations of my products. But Waterblocker Skin Cream remains the king-pin of our products.
Ms. Stuart - now my Queen Bee, Mrs. Johnson - and I teamed up in the summer of 2001 to operate a joint booth at the world famous Canton First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas. We attended this event monthly and participated in dozens of other shows all over the United States until December 2015 when we decided we would no longer participate in road shows of any kind but would, instead, concentrate on producing and shipping our products to our many wholesale and retail customers.
To contact us:
HONEY GUY PRODUCTS, INC.
11127 COUNTY ROAD 3116
WINONA, TX 75792
BUSINESS HOURS: 8AM TO 5PM CST 7 DAYS A WEEK
(NOTE: We do not sell at our physical address. Product must be purchased via phone, email, postal or website and will be shipped to the buyer.)
800-863-1438 (fax and voice message) OR direct 903-570-6868
If you are interested in beekeeping, please visit the East Texas Beekeepers Association website at www.etba.info .