While the majority of the 2022 Detroit Lakes High School graduating class will head to college, tech schools, or other educational routes this summer, there is one who has already forged a path into entrepreneurship, through becoming a beekeeper — just after his 16th birthday.
Now 17, Detroit Lakes senior Jonah Hauser is a full-fledged entrepreneur whose main company, Hauser's Honey Company, officially launched in the summer of 2020 and now has distribution throughout the DL area and has plans for continuous expansion. Originally, Jonah was interested in beekeeping just as a hobby, learned about it online after his dad had expressed interest in owning hives. They started with two hives — approximately 25,000 bees — and their population quickly skyrocketed: It now stands at more than half a billion bees and growing.
“I always knew I wanted to be a business owner,” Jonah remarked. “I have started various things in the past few years and just tried different enterprises; t-shirts, a YouTube channel, and projects with friends.”
Now, stemming from Hauser's Honey Company are two more businesses: Honey Bhang, which Jonah has founded with his friend Zack Schroeder, and an upcoming launch of a farm stand at his grandparents’ property near town, where Jonah will sell products from his companies, and several other local businesses will hopefully set up shop as well.
In addition, Jonah has just started to sell eggs from the chicks he hatched this year. He and his dad bought a $150 chicken coop on Facebook Marketplace and hauled it from Erhard, Minn., to their home on Munson Lake. There, the two fixed up the coop and prepared it to be a comfortable spot for Jonah’s hens.
Jonah is the son of Gene, an Oakes, N.D., native, and Tamra, formerly of Stephen, Minn., and the middle child in the family. He has an older sister, Kendra, and a younger sister, Jacee.
The bees Jonah owns are now at the half a billion mark and he has apiaries in a few locations, including his grandparents’ property and a friend’s lot near town. “One day, perhaps in five years or so, I will split my time between Minnesota and somewhere warm, maybe Texas, as it’s much easier to keep bees in a milder climate.”
And climate is important to Jonah, not just for the ease of beekeeping. Although he doesn’t describe himself as a true activist, he is definitely a concerned citizen, dedicated to learning about the environment and ways to protect it.
“I have always loved being outside," he says. "We live at Munson Lake, so I have spent a lot of time at Dunton Locks and I love nature.”
Jonah says that people are learning that the environment is on the verge of destruction and that we need plants, pollinators, and new ways of living. Bees, in particular, have had significant coverage in the press as their numbers have been affected by climate change as well as pesticides.
“Farmers are realizing that in addition to other issues regarding health, bees are important because crops are not as productive without pollinators," he said. "There is more education and data now about the importance of bees and other methods to produce the best crops.”
Hauser's Honey Company has recently had booths at area events such as the Washington Square Mall’s craft show, and sells products at local businesses, including Turn North Salon & Spa (in their retail boutique).
The product line is extensive, including Happy Hive Hot Honey (which was Jonah’s father’s idea), Sugar Lip Scrub, Stinger Balm, bee pollen, beeswax, creamed honey, the traditional honey bear containers of raw, unfiltered alfalfa honey, and also large jars.
“The best sellers are lip balms, the 12 ounce bears, and one pound jars," Jonah said. "That is what people know, traditionally, but the other products do well, too.”
He added that he plans to expand the line to include lotions and other body care products as well.
Honey Bhang, his co-owned offshoot of Hauser's Honey Company, is dedicated to producing high-quality CBD-infused honey.
“The health benefits of CBD are so extensive and proven,” Jonah said. “My partner, Zack, and I want people to learn about CBD’s benefits and also understand that not all CBD has psychoactive effects. Our products do not produce a high; they are formulated for health such as improved sleep, immunity boosting, increased energy, and much more.”
Honey Bhang products contain less than 3% THC, and the product line may eventually include honey taffy, honey sticks, and CBD-infused candles, to name a few.
Jonah commented that he was first introduced to the health benefits of CBD because of a back injury and now takes it daily, which he stated works well to ease pain and promote relaxation.
When asked about college, Jonah is clear in his response, having thought seriously about his career path. “I was thinking of becoming an architect before I got into beekeeping with my dad. But now I know I’m an entrepreneur. All I want to do is start and run businesses successfully. I don’t need to go to college because I already know what I want to do and I’m doing it.”
He was quick to add that what he doesn’t know, he will be learning as he goes, from mentors and industry professionals such as the owner of one of the country’s largest honey companies.
As he rounds the corner of his senior year, Jonah is taking various business classes and is a member of BPA, a business club with national membership. Once he turns 18 in March of 2022, Jonah will own his LLC outright; it is currently listed in his mother’s name as he is a minor. However, Jonah is well beyond his years in drive and vision; he knows his craft and is brimming with new ideas constantly. “I love being an entrepreneur,” he said, “because I can make my own ideas happen and embrace my creativity.”
He added that being able to scale his income, have a flexible schedule, meet new people, and support other businesses also add to the list of “pro’s” of being a business owner. He also has advice for those considering making the move to work on their own. “Take every opportunity, no matter how crazy it seems. I never thought I’d be a beekeeper, but I said yes to it. Start saying yes because you never know where that will take you.”
For more information about Hauser's Honey Company, visit hausershoneycompany.com, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 218-770-7140 or check out the company's social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.