Dancing Bee Equipment Opens Up in Welcome

In Business, Local, Photo Gallery

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland

It was only a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit that Canton resident and Dancing Bee Equipment Chief Executive Officer Todd Kalisz stood in the parking lot of the former Welcome Produce Market and announced his plans to turn the property into a mega-apiary centre.

And it turns out the pandemic didn’t stop him, as anyone who was at Monday’s ribbon cutting for the Bee Works at 5029 County Rd. 2 would agree.

Dancing Bee is Canada’s number-one supplier of beekeeping equipment. With the newly constructed facilities within sight of the Welcome exit of Highway 401, he has plenty of room at last for this side of things with a two-storey warehouse.

And the large Bee Works gift shop features an education centre and a future museum.

Conducting a final tour before the ribbon cutting, Kalisz was clearly enjoying having the sheer space in a warehouse setting to conduct the equipment side of things more efficiently.

He stood beside a chest-high pile of beeswax blocks (they buy beeswax from local producers as well as sell it, he noted).

They sell the big equipment like extractors but also have a whole aisle dedicated to jars. There are racks of protective suits and jackets, and shelves of veiled headgear.

They supply the small-scale hobbyist and the large-scale professional.

“There’s an incredible amount of tools required, depending on what avenue you get into,” Kalisz said.

“There’s a crazy amount of odds and ends and different hand tools you need.”

One shelf has boxes marked deluxe uncapping fork, while the boxes on the one above it are labeled turbo fork. Other boxes are marked for things like bee brushes and refractometers.

They sell bee food (“just like any livestock, you want to feed them,” Kalisz said) and they also stock the Formic Pro line of bee medications. They’re produced just an hour away in Frankford.

The warehouse joins up with the gift shop through an educational room that has shelves of how-to books and what he calls an observation hive (along with a bench from which to watch the bees at their work).

Also opening up off the gift shop is another room yet to be developed into a museum.

As for the gift shop, Kalisz said, it stocks both their own products and those of their customers.
“We wanted to return the favour for all the things they bought from us over the years,” he said.

It also allows a stunning variety, from beauty products to things like Honey Buzz honey drink and Margaret’s Honey Habanero Hot Sauce

“It’s a very exciting time for all businesses in the community, as we all start to push back from the challenging times we have had over the past 18 months or so. And you always get very invigorated and excited when you see businesses that push through the struggles,” Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Brenda Whitehead said at the ribbon cutting minutes later.

Kalisz is a life-long Port Hope resident, Whitehead said, “so we were very excited to see him taking over what once was a produce market and turning it into the most wonderful apiary-warehouse-gift shop to celebrate agriculture and all the things that matter to us in Port Hope.”

“You’ve done a wonderful job here,” Port Hope Deputy Mayor Les Andrews commented, predicting the operation will be both an economic driver to the community as well as a popular visitor attraction.

“I have been struck over the last couple of years by the richness and fullness of our agricultural community,” Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Philip Lawrence said.

“We produce some of the best milk and the best grain and some of the best honey in the entire world – some of the best eggs as well. It makes me so excited when we see the continuity between the end user and the agricultural producers so we make sure the revenue that comes from agricultural products comes back to the producers.”

Kalisz offered thanks to the neighbours near his home production facilities in Canton for the disruption the move may have created. He also thanked his new neighbours in Welcome for the year of construction, as well as his employees who helped him prepare for this new chapter in the Dancing Bee story.

MPP David Piccini could not be there, though he has promised to show up for the dunk tank at their special Community Barbecue Day on Friday. But Kalisz had special thanks for the MPP as well in helping him negotiate some formidable hurdles along the way.

Kalisz ended his remarks with a surprise announcement about a new project he is supporting – obtaining a piece of the 11-acre parcel of land across the road from his facility to make a home for the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum.

The museum has been struggling since it lost its premises at 95 Mill St. S. in Port Hope and was subsequently unable to secure the former Canadian Tire property. The 11 acres that includes the ruins of the former Welcome Inn is owned by the Ministry of Transportation, Kalisz said.
The ribbon cutting is done, but a week of celebration events remains.

TUESDAY is Customer Appreciation Day. You can preregister for the barbecue (with cupcakes) at noon, enjoy the tours and hang around for Quinte Members Day which begins at 1 p.m. (with members getting 20% off in-store equipment purchases)

3 – Beekeeping and acrylic extractor demo

WEDNESDAY is Local Business Day, with a community sale at the Bee Works Gift Shop

1 – Durham Region Beekeeping Association Members Day begins (with members getting 20% off in-store equipment purchases)

3 – Beekeeping and acrylic extractor demo

4 – Local business networking day begins – bring your business card to enter a raffle

THURSDAY is Painting Contest Day. Young artists under the age of 12 can pre-register for the Bee Box Painting Contest.

1 – Central Ontario Beekeepers Association Members Day begins (with members getting 20% off in-store equipment purchases)

3 – Beekeeping and acrylic extractor demo

FRIDAY is Community Barbecue Day, where you can pre-register for the barbecue (with slushie machine and that dunk tank to raise money for Northumberland Fare Share Food Bank, plus games like corn hole and guess the weight of a honey super – not to mention entertainment)

3 – Beekeeping and acrylic extractor demo

For more information, visit dancingbeeequipment.com

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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