Retailer wants large observation hive
A retailer would like to put in a very large honey display with not only different hive products but also a very large (think 4 or 5 frame) observation hive. They were recently in Moscow for a trade show and visited a honey festival of some sort. He said there were hundreds of tiny booths displaying all sorts or different honeys and hive products and it inspired him to set up a large display in his store with displays of all different honeys with an emphasis on local products. It is a large and growing agritourism site with probably 100,000 to 200,000 visitors or more per year. It's a busy place -- open all year but especially busy in strawberry and peach seasons.
They have asked me what it would take to set it up and maintain it (it's about 25 miles from my house). I would get to provide honey, candles, and other hive products for sale. Other local hive products will also be there along with outside products i.e. Savannah Bee. Here were some of my initial thoughts on it.
1- The OH needs to be very visible but out of reach -- maybe surrounded by a stairstep display. Rossman has a nice rotatable OH, but I don't think it's wise to let the public spin it around. It could be set so both sides are visible so they can see the queen, etc.
2- Outside where the bees will exit is about 10-12 feet of grass and hedge and then the outer edge of the parking lot. This makes me nervous. Even after some persuasion, they really don't want to put it in another location with a less conspicuous entrance. I told him that as a minimum, where the hive exits the wall (about 3-4 feet off the ground) would need to be surrounded by a 6-8 ft fence (solid PVC fence panels would look nice) maybe 8 ft square with a gate so I can get into it. The fence will hide the entrance and force the bees up overhead. When maintenance is needed, after hours the hive can be put on a cart and wheeled outside by the entrance for maintenance. Still makes me nervous, especially potential swarming.
3- Still working on the information display content, but they do have access to a graphic arts vendor who can put any content on large posters, foam boards, or other displays and make things looks professional.
4- I am currently thinking the OH will need checked monthly and opened up and cleaned 3 to 4 times per year.
Anyone have experience doing something like this? However much time I estimate, I'm sure it will be 3 times that. But I am also pretty sure it will bring them a lot more traffic and honey sales will increase a bunch. I love this idea for a lot of reasons, but with that many visitors a lot of things can happen.