What if your desire to bring your family closer together resulted in a family business focused on a hyper-local product that does good for your community? Illuman Apiary might call it: pollinating with purpose.
KJ Tencza and his family tend to beehives located in all “four corners” of Greeley. These hives produce local honey and products from the bees; such as chapstick, candles, hand and liquid soaps, lotions, lip salve, honey sticks, fire starters and lots and lots of honey!
However for KJ, it’s always been about more than just honey. His business began when his son started kindergarten and his daughter was in preschool. KJ realized his kids would be spending more time away from home, and he wanted to provide a family activity they could grow into together as a family. He also knew that while taking care of his family was important, taking care of the environment was equally as essential. So, he started with a beehive. Just one beehive.
As the family grew into their hobby, they expanded. And, people began to notice. They started asking for his local Greeley honey.
As interest increased, he began making more products and selling them at the Greeley Farmers’ Market. Since 2010, every Saturday, KJ and his family have been selling there. You can also purchase a host of his products and Illuman Apiary apparel designed by local artists by visiting www.illumanapiary.com.
Selling his products at the Greeley Farmers’ Market is especially important to him. It’s also a good way for the entire family to connect with the community.
KJ takes immense pride in his work. The products he creates are from a place of understanding; from the deep knowledge of the bees, concern for the environment and the love for his family. He doesn’t cut corners. Every product he sells has the same amount of detail and care poured into it.
As ancient priests took care of bees to prove they could care for a congregation, he too takes care of bees that take care of his community.
If the bees’ needs aren’t met, they will leave looking for a better location. KJ has to anticipate the needs of the bees to keep them happy and local.
Just as the City of Greeley has supported him, he supports the Greeley community by prioritizing the people of Greeley and their health. His products are sustainable, from the process itself, to the people, to what he sells. It’s important for him to give back to the city he calls home. He says “Greeley has developed a very cool culture of people who want to invest in the future and in the future of agriculture.”
What’s more, says KJ, “Greeley is the ideal place for his business. It’s big enough that it can sustain and celebrate it’s people, but small enough to know who its people are”.
Above all is integrity. Heart and soul of a family, of a business and of a city… all poured into one jar of honey.