Local honey business receives major support from community after fire

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Mark Walters is a local beekeeper in Duluth.

In 2007, he and his family moved from Madagascar where he ran a beekeeping business for 11 years.

Walters and his wife started his business, called Miel, with just a few hives. Then it just kept growing.

Miel is a family business, but Walters makes it his business to partner with the community.

“I’ve helped several people get started with beekeeping. Well, when I start my bees, what should I plant in my yard? You don’t have to plant anything,” Walters said.

In addition to honey, Miel makes beeswax products from lip balms to candles.

Miel usually sells its products at local farmers markets in Duluth, but now sales may come to a halt.

A fire struck their house where they store some of their products this past weekend.

Walter’s daughter and co-owner of Miel, Vanessa Roer, said it destroyed their inventory.

“With where the fire was, it was where we kept all of our products, all of our inventory. So we’ve got upwards of $80,000 in just inventory that went up in flames and then you add in all the raw materials and the equipment needed to make all of that and that’s quickly, it gets big. The number’s scary,” Roer said.

Roer created a GoFundMe with a goal of raising $10,000 to help get their business back up and running.

In just 72 hours, they exceeded their goal, raising more than $11,000.

“There’s been so much support since the fire it’s kind of incredible. Like you can only explain it’s like a God thing. That it’s just people are, ‘How can we help? What can we do?’ It’s pretty amazing,” said Roer.

She says, thankfully no bees were harmed during the fire, and the community response proves this fire won’t put them out.

Miel will continue to build back their business, little by little and show up at their farmers market table every Wednesday and Saturday from selling honey to bees wax.

“You can have all kinds of crap and lousy situations. But in spite of all of that, God can still make sure good comes out of it. You don’t know what, you don’t know when, you don’t know where, but that’s what we believe,” Walters said.

If you wish to support Walters and his business click here to find his GoFundMe.

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