CHARLOTTE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named the owners of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm in Moravian Falls the North Carolina Small Business Persons of the Year for 2013. Steve Forrest, CEO, Sandy Forrest, Secretary/Treasurer, and Shane Gebauer, Chief Operating Officer were nominated for the award by Kevin McConnaghy, Assistant Regional Director of the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at Appalachian State University.
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers and retailers of hobby beekeeping, candle making and soap making supplies.
“We are truly honored to win this award,” said Shane Gebauer. “None of this would be possible without the help and guidance we received from outside organizations in North Carolina like the SBTDC. They helped us improve internal processes, increase efficiency and our profitability.”
Small Business Person of the Year winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam will converge on Washington, D.C. during the annual celebration of National Small Business Week. One of them will be selected as National Small Business Person of the Year. 2013 National Small Business Week will be observed June 17-21.
The criteria for the award include: Staying power – a substantiated history as an established business, growth in number of employees, innovativeness of product/service offered and contributions to community-oriented projects.
Steve and Sandy turned their passion into a business. The company has grown from a two person operation in 1977 to over 70 employees. They currently carry an inventory of over 1,000 supply items for the beekeeping enthusiast. Hives, tools, medications, jars, and protective clothing are just a few of their many products. From its operational sites in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Brushy Mountain Bee Farm distributes products to both national and international markets. A new production facility opened in Wilkesboro in 2013.
Steve, Sandy and Shane have taken advantage of SBA-sponsored counseling which contributed to some of the bee farm’s “buzz.” Over the past two and half years, SBTDC has supported their efforts. This relationship has produced extraordinary results. Sales, margins, productivity and employment numbers have all improved since collaborating with the SBTDC.
The SBTDC helped them with inventory management systems and warehouse layout, office operations, and evaluating the warehousing systems needed to reduce the time from order to delivery. SBTDC support has since expanded to financial analysis, strategic organization analysis, tactical and strategic planning, import/export training, and web analysis. The business model jointly developed and now in place has strengthened Brush Mountain Bee Farm’s confidence and financial resources. For more information contact Shane Gebauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-233-7929.
# # #