While most people consider retiring once they hit their 60s, Steve and Joyce and Thorson chose to reinvent their lives and with gusto. Canners, gardeners, and occasionally cattle owners, the Thorson’s live outside of Manhattan, Montana, with Steve owning several construction companies and Joyce previously working as a TSA agent with Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.
About a decade ago, the couple was trying to cut processed sugar from their diet, which led to them considering honey and then raising their own bees. They started with two hives, then four, and then eight—and they kept growing from there.
After honey production began doing so well, the Thorson’s began selling their raw honey right in their home. While working with the TSA, Joyce noticed the souvenir most people were taking with them out of Montana—honey. From there, they started thinking about opening a store for selling their honey, an endeavor Joyce would manage.
In early 2016, Steve soon found a building in Bozeman that they could rent, though it needed a considerable overhaul, having previously been used as a restaurant. With the right attitude and lots of help from friends and family, the Thorson’s opened their gourmet honey store in June 2016.
The Thorson’s went for an “old-timey general store” look for their store, with the walls painted yellow and stacked high with many wooden crates to display their various honey products. They also sell pieces of beekeeping equipment, such as clothing, hives, extraction machines, and even bees themselves.
So far, the Thorson’s have done well selling a wide variety of infused honeys, proving that the honey-craze is here to stay!
To further fill up their store, Joyce has also created different honey-based products, such as soaps, lip balm, lotions, and candles. They’ve also started selling totes, books, cookbooks, wind chimes, and mugs, all related to honey, bees, and beekeeping.
Steve also started teaching classes on beekeeping and giving presentations to civic groups and classrooms on everything honey and bee-related. Regarding how much he gets stung while beekeeping, Steve only said, “I never wear protective clothing, so I have been stung many, many times.” As a believer in bee venom’s alleged healing properties, Steve says any stings he gets have helped to ease the arthritis he has in both of his hands.
The Thorson’s honey endeavors have sweetened their lives considerably, and they’re a true “mom and pop” success. Being as unique as they are—with Steve saying only one other store like theirs exists in the United States—they can likely expect that success to continue for many, many years.
Copyright: showcake / 123RF Stock Photo