JAY, Okla. — This time of year you'll find buzzing honey bees in apiary's across northeast Oklahoma, including in Jay, where the Tulsa Urban Bee Company harvests the sweet liquid.
Bees are busy making the food substance that's usually sold at farmers markets that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Most of our sales comes from farmers markets, and all of our farmers markets at least for now are canceled or postponed," explains Scott Hannaford, the director of social media and marketing at Tulsa Urban Bee Company.
He says his family's business could see a hit happening to sales due to the closure of markets and local shops that carry their honey products. However, this isn't stopping their production.
“The honey’s gotta be harvested, and this isn’t gonna last forever, so we want to make sure once retail locations do open up and the economy starts growing again, we have enough to meet the demand," explains Hannaford.
They're currently offering home deliveries to customers across the Tulsa metro area. It is a slight change to how they do business in order to stay afloat.
"Our online store was nice enough to be able to do delivery sales. Always before it’s been shipping only, and so they’re helping out too and they put it so it can be delivery sales," says Shelly Hannaford, Scott's mother and co-owner of Tulsa Urban Bee Company.
She made about 15 deliveries in Jenks, Tulsa and Broken Arrow on Monday alone.
They say they are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines when handling their products to keep their customers safe. The staff wears gloves when handling the honey products it bottles in Jay. Then it's placed in a bag before it is delivered.
In a time when constant hand-washing with soap and water is advised, the Tulsa Urban Bee Company also offers a beeswax lotion bar that helps moisturize your skin among other honey-based products.
They hope to continue serving the Tulsa metro area as long as their is a demand.
“Our customers are the best, and we’ve got new customers through this, so it’s a crisis. But it’s been very well received, and we are so grateful for that,” says Shelly Hannaford.
In addition to Tulsa Urban Bee Company, which started operations in 2012, the Hannaford Family also owns Hannaford Honey. They have been beekeepers for more than 25 years.
This is one of several local small businesses and restaurants we continue to highlight in our "We're Open Green Country" series. Visit our website, for a full list of businesses. You may also fill out a submission form for a small business that is still operating and offering services.
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