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Grand Enterprise Initiative: Honey shop showcases entrepreneurial elan

Patrick Brower
Grand Enterprise Initiative
Maria Trail with Patrick Brower of Grand Enterprise Initiative at the Queen Bee Gardens store in Granby.
Grand Enterprise Initiative/courtesy photo

Katie Trail, who was then a senior at Middle Park High School, approached me and the Grand Enterprise Initiative with a retail business idea for Granby late last winter.

She wanted to run and manage a store that would sell honey-infused candy, soaps, lotions and candles to Grand County locals and tourists. The idea then was that she’d take advantage of the honey products produced by her mother’s family business, Queen Bee Gardens, a Wyoming-based honey enterprise. Basically, she’d own, operate and manage her own honey-product store.

When Katie first approached the Grand Enterprise Initiative, she came with her mother, Maria Trail. Maria is part of the Zeller family in northern Wyoming, where they are known for honey harvesting and honey product savvy. That’s where the Queen Bee Gardens brand and manufacturing facility is based.



We talked about the basics of being in business. We talked about what we call the Trinity of Management and the ins and outs of business management and operation in general, especially as they apply to Granby.

But we spent much of our time talking about a good location for her retail store. We mulled Grand Lake, Fraser, western Granby and Granby Ranch. But toward the end of our first talk, which took place at the Granby Rocky Mountain Roastery in the Granby Visitors’ Center, I looked up and once again noticed the then vacant space there next to the Roastery.



It had been a retail store and gift shop but had been sitting empty for several months. At the time, Paul Chavoustie, a former mayor of Granby, owned the building. I knew he was looking for the idea tenant to fill that spot.

I pointed to the empty spot and asked Katie and Maria if they thought that would be a good location. They thought it could be but they weren’t totally sure. So I gave them Paul’s phone number and they called and inquired about the space.

And they rest, as they say, is history. But with some interesting twists.

Katie embraced the idea of being an entrepreneur with her own retail store selling family products with gusto. She was enthusiastic and worked hard at setting up the store and getting the word out with the help of one of her cousins in Wyoming. But with high school athletics, school work, summer responsibilities and a looming college education, Katie realized she couldn’t responsibly handle it all.

That’s where Plan B came into action. Rather than running it as her own business, it was decided it would be operated as another store under the Queen B Gardens brand. At first, Katie would managed the store and then hand the management responsibilities over to her mother, Maria. That way Katie could head off to college with a clear conscience.

She also had a whole lot of hands-on knowledge acquired in the meantime. Her school major is outdoor leadership and entrepreneurship. She gained tons of valuable hands-on experience and real-world knowledge at the honey store in Granby

“She learned way more doing this than in college,” Maria says.

And, incidentally, she helped the Granby economy. Locals and tourists have a great place in which to shop for honey-infused and honey products. The town of Granby collects its sales tax from the store since it is a retail business. And the overall ambiance of Granby’s downtown has been improved as a place to shop because here’s yet another business that makes it worthwhile for visitors to come to Granby.

And there it is, the story of the Granby Queen Bee Gardens store. A win-win situation for Katie Trail, the store and the Granby economy.

Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He provides free and confidential business management coaching for anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or at patrickbrower@kapoks.org.

A senior at Middle Park High School at the time, Katie Trail stands inside the space that would soon be home to Queen Bee Gardens' newest location in spring 2020.
Amy Golden / Sky-Hi News

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