OAK HARBOR — A beekeeper turned business owner has opened a new shop for local vendors in downtown Oak Harbor.
Casey Burr is the owner of Hive Jive, aptly named because Burr is a beekeeper and honey seller. Along with his products, 30 vendors sell their goods at the store, located on Fidalgo Avenue next to the Whidbey Island Bagel Factory.
Farmers markets are closing down for the season but locally made apparel, art, home decor, jewelry and cosmetics will be for sale all year round at Hive Jive.
Before he opened the shop, Burr had to frequently leave the island to sell his honey. He decided to do his own crafts fair and made a Facebook post to see how many people would be interested.
“The island came unglued on me,” he said. “I never knew there was so much talent.”
Burr sold honey to PNW Vibes Market, a store originally located where Hive Jive is now. When PNW Vibes Market moved down the street to a larger store, Burr took the opportunity to move in. He is strict about only selling on-island vendors.
“The first question I ask anybody that’s brand-new, ‘Do you live on the island?’ If they tell me no, I tell them to find a cute little shop by their house,” he said.
The small shop is already filled to the brim with local goods. Some of the vendors in his shop include Simply Country Charm, August Moon, Northwest Run Soap Company, Pain ReLeaf and Pamela’s Legacy, which makes products like lip balm using Burr’s honey.
“That’s pretty cool to me,” he said.
Hive Jive has been open for about four months. On the first of October, there was a grand opening with the mayor, a couple of council members and almost all 30 vendors were in attendance.
“I’ve never seen this place so packed,” Burr said. He thought the island must have tilted.
Everyone has been showing him a lot of love, especially for such a new business that’s “off the beaten path” away from Pioneer Avenue, he said.
Burr was one of the vendors at this year’s Oak Harbor Music Festival. Over that weekend, his wife of 32 years had to go to the emergency room. Fortunately, she has since recovered, but he said about 200 people he didn’t know came up to him at the festival to tell him they were praying for her.
“It just really showed me that this was the right place for me and my family,” he said.
Hive Jive will be collaborating with other downtown businesses to put on events and draw more people to the city’s historic waterfront.
“It almost seemed like Oak Harbor kind of died for a little while and we’re trying to bring it back alive,” he said.
Hive Jive is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This story originally appeared in the South Whidbey Record, a sibling publication to The Herald.