Hive Mind 6

Honey Bee Opens Its Doors in Draper

Most Draper residents have noticed the presence of Honey Bee Produce Company, a new grocery store located at 1212 Draper Parkway. Honey Bee prides itself on being different from a typical grocery chain. About 70% of their products are natural, local, organic, specialty, or ethnic foods. Though the store carries traditional prepackaged products, they are far from the store’s focus. (Those hoping to buy every type of Cheerio’s on the market should look elsewhere.) Instead, Honey Bee’s goal is to sell fresh products that stand out among the traditional offerings.

Even the look of the store is unique. In the fall, stands selling seasonal produce are placed outside of the entrance, recalling a community farmer’s market. Inside, shoppers can taste samples of specialty products from local vendors. A large section of the store is devoted to selling produce, and various signs explain health benefits, or profile growers from across the state. These aesthetic choices are not accidental: Honey Bee’s overall goal is emphasizing a welcoming atmosphere, one that feels more relaxed and less corporate.

Though Honey Bee is a new presence in Draper, the store is actually the product of several years of planning and development. Associated Foods, the local and parent company of Honey Bee, collected feedback from residents of the East Bench in preparation. These surveys lead to the decision to put a new store in Draper. The company also worked extensively to foster connections with local businesses, in hopes of establishing Honey Bee as a supportive member of the community. Now, as Store Director Janel Grangroth is happy to report, many businesses are reaching out themselves for the chance to sell their products on store shelves.

In a relatively small space, Honey Bee packs seemingly endless food options. A hot lunch bar is updated daily with different meals. Beverages are served on tap, with both traditional options like coffee, tea, and lemonade as well as kombucha tea and water kefir (fermented drinks often consumed for health benefits). There is a restaurant experience called the Hive Eatery that includes a bakery, sushi bar, wok chef, and a brick pizza oven. In the back corner, a beer cave showcases specialty and local brews. The store also offers an extensive amount of vegan options.

The focal point of the store, however, is the variety of produce options. (Produce is in the name of the store after all.) The company aims to carry as much seasonal produce as possible. Grangroth said that she worked with more than thirty growers, with more to come. When at all possible, the fruits and vegetables are in season and from Utah farms. (In the off-season, the vast majority of produce still comes from the United States.) All in all, Honey Bee hopes that their investment in organic fresh products will pay off – and that Draper residents will taste the difference.

The staff is confident that the store will be a huge success. While being interviewed, Grangroth seemed to feel a genuine passion and excitement for what Honey Bee has to offer. After working in the grocery industry for nineteen years, she jumped at the chance to lead the Draper store. Grangroth connected to the store’s promotion of clean, healthy eating; she said, “To me, it’s a lifestyle.” And, she happily reports that every day offers a new learning experience about the food or the industry at large. And with Honey Bee’s extensive options and unique offerings, Draper has the chance to learn (and eat!) along with her.