Our Story

Rooted in generations of care and commitment to honey bees and beekeeping, Bee Downtown partners with businesses in cities to help save honey bee populations.


Bee Downtown embodies a triple bottom line approach to business. This means that we evaluate success on three criteria: People, Planet, and Profit. We positively impact the environment, educate the public, and provide a turn key sustainability program for businesses. We believe that responsible companies should measure impact in multiple ways, and we hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard than the typical bottom-line business.

our company

Our Vision

Coming from a long line of rural beekeepers, founder Leigh-Kathryn Bonner took her family trade and love for bees to the city. Bee Downtown started in 2014 with three beehives on a rooftop of a business and a dream of what could be. Since then, the business, or “beesness” as we like to call it, has expanded to a fully built out environmental and employee engagement tool at more than 40 companies including SAS, IBM, Waste Industries and more.  We truly believe Bee Downtown has the potential to change not only our planet, but the people in it as well. Our dream has never been to create just another business, but to create a movement that reaches far beyond Bee Downtown as a company and lasts generations after business is gone.

As a company focused on social and environmental responsibility, it is our goal to build healthy, sustainable, honey bee communities around the world. These are core values and goals we embrace as a company through the implementation of Bee Downtown hives in each city we expand to. Bee Downtown brings a harmonious balance of urban and rural together in each of our custom hives and it is our goal to share the importance of these pollinators with every visitor that passes by.

Over the last few decades the world has seen a decline in honey bee health and numbers due to multiple contributing factors like decreased habitat, unbalanced diets, harmful chemicals, unstable living environments, and more.

In 2015 alone the United States alone lost 44% of its beehives, the highest losses reported by the USDA in 10 years.

Coming from an agricultural family, our founder understood what was at stake if the bees were to fully disappear. She decided to use her passion for bees, paired with studies that showed honey bees thrived in urban environments, to build a company that helped give bees a fighting chance.

Our innovative approach uses cities, and the businesses in them, to collaboratively rebuild healthy honey bee populations. In addition to installing and maintaining beehives for the businesses we work with, we have created a turn-key environmental program for businesses that includes, but is not limited to, hands-on beekeeping classes for employees, data collection from the hives to further honey bee research, annual environmental reporting on the hives and the impact they have had in the community, tailored social media campaigns, and specialty bottled honey from the hives each year.

Over time, as the hives grow and naturally split off from existing hives to form new colonies elsewhere, your company will play a vital role in systematically rebuilding the honey bee population.




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We’ve teamed up with fellow Durham, NC startup, Runaway Clothing Company, to create an awesome collaborative capsule collection. Just click on the shirt to head over to www.runawayclothes.com to order yours and BEEcome part of the movement!