PORTLAND, Mich. — Kyle Brown grew up on a farm.
“I was born and raised here in Portland on a fourth-generation family farm,” Brown said.
After enlisting in the military and being honorably discharged, he moved back to Michigan but ran into a roadblock.
“Quite a few years where there’s a period of time where I was in and out of the hospital a lot," Brown said. "They thought I had Crohn’s disease, which was never officially they couldn’t figure out what it was.”
Being in and out of the hospital caused Brown to lose his job. He got an idea to start his own business.
“I needed something I could do that I could still make money at and not have to be there all the time,“ Brown said. "That’s where I kind of feel into beekeeping.”
Brown knew very little about being a beekeeper, but he learned as he went.
“Being a beekeeper and doing removal services has given me the opportunity to go into a lot of different building and positions not a lot of people would get the chance to," Brown said. "I’ve been up into the attack of the old courthouse building in Charlotte. It’s very hot up there, but it’s not something people get to see very often.”
Last year, Brown opened up a seasonal shop in Portland.
“It took me about a month and a half to get the shop set up and then I was open for about three months and then winter hit," said Brown. "It is a seasonal shop so I did close down in the winter.”
Now, he wants to open up shop again in Ionia.
“What I’m going to do with it is going to be to sell beekeeping equipment, honey, hopefully, have space for classes in there so I can do like a mentorship program,” Brown said.
Brown said this spring and summer has been busy so far and he's had a high removal rate with honey bee colonies, wasps, and hornets. With all the rain recently, he thinks it could pick up more.
“With this last grouping of rain that we got, with all the honey bees being cooped up in their hives and not being able to forage for that time, when they are able to forage, a lot of times they’ll split and swarm, create a new colony pretty quickly,” Brown said.
To learn more about Brown, check out his Facebook page.