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North carolina

Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
High Country Workforce Development Board


Brushy Mountain Bee Farm

Customer Photo

Workforce Challenge

In business since 1977, Brushy Mountain Bee Farm (BMBF) in Moravian Falls, NC, manufactures and sells beekeeping supplies, beeswax for candle and soap making, and educational books and videos - in person, by mail, and online. Owner Steve Forrest wanted to expand and grow the company as well as respond to the increased demand for the company's products due to the growing interest in and popularity of beekeeping.

Workforce Solution

In 2007, the High Country Workforce Development Board helped BMBF prepare a successful proposal for a competitive incumbent worker training grant awarded by the NC Division of Workforce Development. Grant funds were used for lean manufacturing training provided by NC State University's Industrial Extension Service. Lean principles focused on increasing productivity and decreasing waste. Incorporating these principles led to the reorganization of all departments in the company as well as the expansion of work areas, a redesign of work stations, a doubling of the number of work stations, and a change in how equipment was set up.

Outcomes & Benefits

BMBF saw production cost and time cut in half. The savings allowed BMBF to nearly double its workforce and to provide health insurance and 401(k) benefits to employees. In 2009, BMBF enjoyed continued success when it was awarded an NC State Industrial Extension Service $1 Billion Award for North Carolina for posting more than $2 million of increased sales (June); opened a new distribution center in Pennsylvania (October); and was named Small Business of the Year by Business North Carolina Magazine (December).


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