Hawksview Honey, established in 2017, is owned and operated by siblings Dale Wright and Donna Rivard, and their respective spouses, Kimberlene Wright and Keith Rivard.
This week, the Kingsville Times spoke with Donna to learn more about this local business that focuses on promoting a natural approach to farming, gardening and beekeeping as well as supporting the health of the honey bees.
What was your motivation for starting your business?
Dale’s love for bees. Dale and Kimberlene moved to the family farm, and renovated the house, and horse barns, and started raising bees in 2017, purchasing 2 hives. In 2018, we bought a few more, and realized there was a need for someone local to sell beekeeping supplies and there was a growing demand for our local unpasteurized honey.
In 2019 Hawksview Honey became a Corporation (2508844 Ontario Inc.), and we opened a retail store in August. At that time, we had 25 hives. In 2020, the hive count doubled to 50. Today, we have 100 hives in total (75 active producing honey) and a plan to continue to grow.
What advice would you give to others who might be considering starting a business?
Getting a hive and thinking you just sit back and wait for the honey is not correct. It’s a lot of work! The hives need to be watched, you have to ensure temperatures are correct, that there’s enough food, and that pesticides and rodents are controlled.
If you are planning to start a business, you should have a real PASSION and make sure you LOVE what you do … starting a business can start like a hobby, but needs to be worked at like a job to be successful. You have to dedicate your time and money to get it grow. You must find a balance between business and personal life.
Also, I recommend that you search out best practices and experts in the field.
Who are your target clients?
Anyone who LOVES honey, and beekeepers.
How would you describe your services and/or products?
Unpasteurized honey products, including: Honey, creamed honey, honey butter, honeycomb, Lemon Turmeric Honey, It’s Chocolate Honey.
We also sell Beekeeper supplies, including everything you would require for starting a hive, maintaining it, and growing your hives. We have protective clothing, pesticide treatments, hive tools, and swarm supplies.
We also catch swarms. Just email or call and we will come and retrieve it. Just make sure they are honeybees and not yellow jackets!
Reusable Beeswax Wraps – Abeego breathable food wrap that is reusable, made with organic hemp and cotton that is infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin.
Fire Starters – Abeego leftover reusable wrap made into strips, that are lightweight, water-resistant and will burn chemical free. Great for camp fires.
Thentix – Skin conditioners – all products contain a Touch of Honey which is known to be a humecant that is helpful in plumping up skin cells and allowing them to draw and retain moisture.
What is your business motto?
The Wright Honey is Hawksview Honey!
What do your clients say about your business?
Here are some customer testimonials:
Tracy had this to say:
This is the most flavourful honey. On toast, in tea or by the spoonful it is amazing. It’s also an amazing treat to see the bees, and follow the process from bee to jar.
Theresa had this to say:
The staff were very knowledgeable and extremely friendly. I highly recommend putting Hawksview Honey on your destination list.
And, Breanne had this to say:
Amazing product!!! Highly recommended!
What are your plans for business growth? New services and/or products that clients can look out for?
We are expanding our Retail and extraction room.
The improvements of the extraction room will increase efficiencies in the extracting process, which will increase the amount of honey to be sold. This will lead to new customers.
The retail space will allow us to hold more inventory available for the beekeepers.
We have 2 possible new products in the works, but it’s too soon to mention them … Stay tuned!
How has COVID-19 affected your business and what have you done to COVID-proof it?
The pandemic has not affected us too much. We were considered essential since we produce a food product. With the community supporting local businesses, shopping at farmers markets, and staying closer to home, it actually improved our sales.
We were able to help lots of new beekeepers this year, by holding classes outside at the farm, and working directly with them.
Find out more about Hawksview Honey by visiting their social media sites, or take a drive to Harrow and visit the farm!
~ To contact Hawksview Farms ~
2017 Concession Road 2
Ontario N0R 1G0
Open Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All photos supplied by Donna Rivard
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