How Belarusian made business in USA on honey from homeland - ForumDaily
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How Belarusian made business in USA on honey from his homeland

Photo: facebook.com/pg/apiterrahoney

Dmitry Grigorovich, a resident of Mogilev, founded a successful company in the USA that sells honey imported from Belarus to the Americans. The story of the entrepreneur told this Friday the famous magazine Forbes.

We offer a translation of this article, made Myfin.by.

Tall blond with blue eyes

“Our mission is to eradicate the sugar made at the factories!”, Says Dmitry Grigorovich, gesturing with blue-gloved hands in front of a supermarket visitor who stopped to try the raw honey he offered.

Grigorovich, a tall reddish blond with big blue eyes, is 28-year-old founder and director Apiterra, a New York-based company that sells raw honey mixed with various berries, fruits, and spices.

Standing at the store display table Foodcellar & Co Market in Queens, Dmitry gives a broad smile to a hesitant woman while she tries the honey with the addition of matcha. “Oh, not bad,” she says calmly. “I wasn't sure I would like it.”

American consumers are not familiar with seasoned raw honey, most people know honey only as a sweetener for tea.

Apiterra - a mixture of honey and additives, whipped in the form of a cream. Photo: facebook.com/pg/apiterrahoney

Understanding this, a businessman often appears at demonstration tables in supermarkets. He enthusiastically explains that seasoned honey can be put in oatmeal, mixed with yogurt or cheese, spread on toast or cookies, and even used in baking.

To strengthen the message, Grigorovich uses visual methods: there is a pile of large laminated photos at hand, where honey Apiterra captured in use with other products. And in the end, often sells 30-40 cans in one demonstration.

Dmitry also does not tire of reminding about the nutritional value of raw honey, which, according to him, is collected directly from hives, is not subjected to heat, is not pasteurized and is not processed at all.

And although the thesis about the superiority of raw honey is debatable, because it has not yet been scientifically proven, experts like Kim Flottum, a beekeeper from Ohio and editor of the journal Bee Culture, they say that it is better because it contains pollen, enzymes and antibacterial properties, which are destroyed when heated.

All calculations were wrong.

Grigorovich moved to New York from Belarus in the summer of 2015 — specifically to open a business here. By that time, the young man had already graduated from the university at home and was in 22 of the year, co-founder of a wholesale distribution company, which was a supplier, as he puts it, “Belarusian Walmart". But he went out of business when problems began in 2011 in Russia, which also affected the economy of the neighboring country.

Products of the company are made according to the recipe of father Dmitry. Photo: facebook.com/pg/apiterrahoney

Thanks to the US-Belarusian program to help children of Chernobyl at the age of 5-17 for years, the future businessman spent the summer in foster families.

 

Now Apiterra - this is already a success story. The company sells its goods through Amazon, and also supplies them to about 1000 American stores - from Maine to Atlanta. But Grigorovich's first appearance in the entrepreneurial world of New York did not go smoothly.

At first, the businessman thought that birch sap would be popular in the USA. And he was so sure that this idea would work, that he registered a company in the USA, bought a container of juice in barrels from a supplier and sent it to New Jersey, where he found companions. But after the first meeting with them, I learned that to start such a business, at least 1 million dollars would be needed.

Photo: facebook.com/pg/apiterrahoney

“All the calculations that I did from abroad turned out to be wrong and should have been multiplied by three. My mistake, ”says Dmitry. A million he did not have.

The concept came up in a couple of weeks

But then there was “in the back pocket,” in his words, another project. While the Belarusian was in a panic going to New York from a meeting in New Jersey, he called Oleg Svirchev, an entrepreneur whom he had met before he left Belarus. Svirchev was planning to buy an old industrial building for the production of honey in Grodno.

“I asked if everything from them was still valid. And he answered, yes. Then I said that, too, in the case, "- says Grigorovich. He laughs, remembering that call. Svirchev, who later became a co-founder Apiterraasked whether Dmitry was confident in his decision. “I kind of replied: yes, I have no choice. I am in America to start a business, and just realized that nothing will come out of it. ”

Apparently, fear, panic and horror were the reason that the brain of a businessman entered the supermode. He came up with the concept of the product. Apiterra for a couple of weeks.

Dmitriy was flooded with childhood memories of how his father, working in forestry, was harvesting honey, mixing it with crushed cranberries. “My family was not rich,” says Grigorovich, explaining that such delicacies like chocolate were not available every day. “So we ate a lot of honey with berries.”

The company's lineup is now represented by 6 of various flavors. Photo: facebook.com/pg/apiterrahoney

His father became one of the first suppliers Apiterra. The first box with product options arrived in New York by plane in the autumn of 2015. Together with two employees who joined the team, Dmitry began selling jars on the market. Long Island City Flea & Food, which he found, googling: "How to sell products in New York?".

Track down to a specific hive

“I was given a small trading place,” the businessman recalls. There he installed a folding table and a tent, which then had to be returned - there was not enough money. After all, Grigorovich and Svirchev finance Apiterra from their own savings, that is, without investment from outside.

And then, inspired by the positive response of customers, Dmitriy took courage and turned to local stores like City Fresh Market in Queens and Harvest markets in brooklyn.

Apiterra It works directly with beekeepers, not with brokers or intermediaries, so it can maintain a competitive price by selling from $ 4.99 to $ 5.99 per jar weighing 8 ounces (about 226 grams).

Grigorovich is going to make Apiterra the most transparent honey company in the USA. He is convinced that about 75% honey in the country is mixed with corn syrup or other immediate substance, since the market is not regulated.

Honey is brought from apiaries in Belarus, and is packed in New York. Photo: facebook.com/pg/apiterrahoney

According to the businessman, there remain the problem of the scheme by which fake honey, usually from China, passes through the ports of several countries, receives other stickers and is sold in America.

“Now we are working on a new product line,” announces Dmitry, explaining that it will be presented at the fair of natural products. ExpoWest. Technology will allow the buyer to take a jar of honey Apiterra from the store shelf, I could find out exactly where this honey originated, right down to the concrete hive.

The company, in whose team 5 is now a man, has already started to be engaged in wholesale sales and sells raw honey to American bakeries and breweries, and will soon begin deliveries to the cafeteria of a large IT company.

This year is the first year of work. Apiterra. "And we will finish it with a turnover of more than 1 million dollars", - Grigorovich estimates.

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