Bees, Drive-In, Fencing, Puppies Proposed As New Businesses

By Ryan D. Wilson Clay Center Dispatch, Kan.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) High school students in an entrepreneurship class proposed bee-keeping, a drive-in movie theater, a fencing business and a dog breeding business at a recent pitch contest for young entrepreneurs.

Clay Center Dispatch, Kan.

Two of the students in Andrea Mattas' class are returning students, including Caitlin Cramer whose honey-related business, 'Bee Happy Honey,' produces honey and honey related products, and Holden Heigele, who breeds English Bulldog puppies for his "Holden Puppies."

Cramer, who was awarded first place and the People's Choice Award for her proposal, said one of the things she changed for her proposal was to extend the line of honey-related products she offers. She's added a line of soap that's scented with honey that's been very popular.

Cramer's project received second place at last year's Young Entrepreneur Fair. She collects honey from three hives in the Longford area and said the bees are especially productive near alfalfa fields.

The most challenging part of bee-keeping is keeping the hive healthy and keeping them from swarming and the hive and the queen leaving with the worker bees, which is always a risk, Cramer said.

Heigele, whose project received the People's Choice Award last year, was selected for second place by judges this year. Heigele said he changed a few things in his business, including switching to propane heat added installation to save money and is utilizing matts for easier clean-up. He's also increased the price for the puppies to $1,850 because the puppies he raised last year sold so quickly.

This year he only has four puppies instead of a dozen, as one mother wasn't bred and the other had a smaller litter.

"But that's kind of the way it goes," he said. "Last year I was really lucky."

Wyatt Alexander and Brooke Germann, in their fence building business, AG Fencing, proposed to build fences for area farmers and ranches and received third place for the idea, which includes constructing and putting up fencing.

Both of them said they built fencing on their own for local farmers and ranchers and established a pretty extensive list of clients who would be interested in such a service. Alexander said he's already made $700 doing this kind of work for farmers and ranchers in the Manhattan, Clay Center and Washington areas.

The two proposed to charge $20 an hour to put up fencing, plus the cost of fencing supplies.

Germann said her family has developed a hand-made tool that helps them more easily pull out steep posts so that they can be re-used. The business also includes rolling up barbed wire into spheres and reusing or selling it lawn decorations, and building their own fencing.

Another proposal by Lacey Huff and Allyson Dye to bring a drive-in movie theater back to Clay Center also garnered a lot of interest by Rotary members who talked them about the idea.

The two said a large empty lot or open space like one near the Fairgrounds and Girton Propane would be the ideal location. Aside from the location, the business only would cost $3,000 to $5,000 to set up between the projectors, screen, concession and other supplies, they said.

Though a drive-in business would be most profitable in the summer months, the two proposed to show movies once a week and sell concessions and tickets for $5 each as part of the part-time venture.

They said they and their friends would support such a business, even with competition from The Rex Theater re-opening.

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