There's a little buzz about what's different at Thomas Honey these days. In terms of the final product, it's not much. The business structure has shifted... in that the retail portion of the business now operates as it's own entity. But really, we just made our respective businesses match the steps of producing and packing our honey - same as it's been for years and years. Same facility, same people, same handshakes and hugs, same bee boxes (not the exact same bees though - they would be REALLY old). Maybe a new yard location or two... and maybe a new line of honey blends that we have a soft spot for.
But Thomas Honey is still the business you have always known, founded in grassroots American family love. With that, I have to recognize that evolution is necessary, and with a little wisdom and a lot of Grandpa's guidance, I think we've been evolving quite nicely.
BUT watching those changes come to fruition is worth a "hill of beans" without a deep respect for the life of a company that was already thriving while I was an actual
child (see left).
If you've been around for a while, you might remember when Kathie was running the show around these parts. She has since moved on to a thriving real estate career and a fondness for non-profit ventures, but there isn't a day in the office where I'm not tangibly aware of her presence here.
In the late 90's and early 2000's, Kathie moved back to Florida (from Texas) and tried her hand at all that is Thomas Honey. I wish words could convey the pride in Grandpa's voice when he talks about her knack for growing bees. If you don't know about growing bees, let me just say: it's an art. One that requires intuition, attention to detail, grit, and well-timed patience. And while I never saw that skill in action, I know Kathie could grow some bees.
But a talent more aligned with the current situation is her sheer determination to expand our retail business. Kathie and my Grandma were "weekend warriors" for months on end, attending every festival and farmer's market they could find. She actively sought out new clients, and she worked so hard within the industry to further the reputation of Thomas Honey. Our current happy state of affairs quite literally wouldn't exist had she not poured her heart into this business for many years.
When Kathie left the family business, it was hard. I was away at college and had my own messes to make (and clean up), but it was a season that deeply impacted us all. No one more than her. In the years since then, I've watched my aunt who I always idolized (seriously - I just want to have a braid as long and a spirit as wild and welcoming as hers) follow her heart relentlessly. Never giving up on love, always chasing adventure, and making and remaking herself to build a wonderful life.
Currently, she's a peddler of Thomas Honey to anyone who will entertain it - buy a house with her and you might have a sweet surprise as a congratulatory parting gift. She connects me to new accounts and distributes wholesale products when she's off to her next weekend getaway. But you know what the best part is? She cheers me on with her whole heart. She supports what this is and is becoming, and she is the absolute embodiment of grace and good will - never asking for the credit she deserves for her contributions to this company in years gone by.
So while you're following this gratitude blog series, I'll leave you with a few final thoughts. First, if you have real estate needs, I know a gal *wink*. And second, know that when we say family business we really mean it.
Peace, Love, and Honey y'all