Ceracell has this country’s biggest range of hive components, bee feeders, honey extractors, varroa mite treatments and related items. “We supply everything that a beekeeper of any size needs,” Bruce says.
Moreover, most of the products are manufactured by Ceracell in New Zealand and a large share of its sales are exports to Canada, Australia and elsewhere. This is definitely a vertically-integrated business with a global mission: Bruce and his team see themselves as “helping beekeepers save the planet one hive at a time”.
A hobby beekeeper before he purchased Ceracell in late 2014, Bruce has strong views on the importance of building up bee populations here, not just for honey production but for crop pollination and for exporting to other countries in desperate need of the insects to support their own food production. “New Zealand is very fortunate to be still free of many of the pests that the rest of the world is struggling with. There’s huge demand for our bees overseas, especially in Canada and the US.”
The Ceracell business has been going 35 years. In the past two, Bruce has taken it to the next level with his skill in marketing and direct sales, and in developing the range and quality of products (more than 1000 now). With the launch of a new Ceracell website, online sales are 10% of the total and growing. The business sells from its warehouse and store in East Tamaki, Auckland, and will also be supplying DIY/Hardware retailers, which is another good reason for Ceracell to join GS1.
Bruce’s team makes most of the hive components in their factory at Ohinewai, north of Huntly in the Waikato. This includes precision carpentry and the processing of raw bees wax into comb foundation, as well as coating plastic bee frames with bees wax. Occassionally the Ceracell business hums a little too much with thousands of bees attracted into the factory from the surrounding countryside by the tonnes of wax that must be kept on hand!
The building housed Bruce’s previous business turning the by-product of sawmills into wood fuel pellets for very efficient domestic wood burners. The former chemical engineer, who hails originally from Ontario, Canada, ran that operation successfully for 10 years before turning to bees full-time.
His customer base today includes much of New Zealand’s fast growing population of backyard beekeepers. The number of hobbyists with five hives or fewer has doubled over the past five years and they make up the majority of the approximately 6000 registered beekeepers in this country. Of course, the biggest operators have 10’s of thousands of hives each (including those that produced $285 million-worth of manuka honey exports last year). To Bruce Clow, every beehive matters!
Ceracell Beekeeping Supplies (NZ) Ltd NZBN 9429038561122