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POSTED MAY 26, 2005    Print this Story 


Burt Shavitz, founder of Burt’s Bees, will meet the public at the Mast General Store next weekend.

Beekeeper Burt Buzzes Into Mast Store
Burt’s Bees Skin Care & Beauty Experts Meet Public June 4

By Jeff Eason

By any standards you can think of, the success of Burt’s Bees Earth Friendly Natural Personal Care Products is remarkable.

Two decades ago New England eccentric Burt Shavitz caught a swarm of bees and decided to learn what beekeeping was all about. He studied some old books on the subject and learned not only how to care for the hive, but also how to make polish and other products from the leftover beeswax.

Shavitz started his first factory in an abandoned one-room school house in rural Maine where he and his coworkers bottled honey and manufactured beeswax polish for shoes, stoves and furniture. The products were sold at craft fairs around Maine.

In the late 1980s, Shavitz moved his “Burt’s Bees” operation into an old bowling alley in Guilford, Maine. By 1991 his Burt’s Bees lip balm had become a big seller in natural food stores and other outlets. The company was also doing a thriving mail order business and was making and selling a half-million beeswax candles a year.

Deciding that the company had outgrown its Maine base of operations, Shavitz moved Burt’s Bees to North Carolina in 1994. The first factory was located in Creedmoor, North Carolina but relocated to its current location in Raleigh two years later.

Burt’s Bees is now one of the leading sellers of personal skin care and beauty products in the world. With growing concern about the chemical additives in cosmetics, Burt’s Bees is benefiting from its natural source materials in the eyes of consumers.

Burt Shavitz, the man who started it all with one hive of bees, will come to the High Country next weekend for two seminars at the Mast General Stores in Valle Crucis and Boone. The appearance is part of the Mast General Store’s Land Trust Day Celebration.

Joining Shavitz will be Chief Pollina and Burt’s Bees resident beauty expert, Hannah Quimby.

Shavitz and Quimby will appear on Saturday, June 4 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Valle Crucis for a Consumer Seminar. All seminar participants will receive a selection of Burt’s Bees travel-size products.

From 10:30 a.m. to noon Quimby and her staff will give free skin consultations. From noon to 2 p.m., Quimby and Shavitz will meet with the public.

Another customer seminar will take place at the Mast General Store in downtown Boone from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The seminars are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Mast General Store at (828) 963-6511.

To honor Mast General Store’s Land Trust Day, 20% of Burt’s Bees products sales of the day will be donated to the trust.

Land Trust Day

Celebrated for the third year in a row, the Mast General Store Land Trust Day on Saturday, June 4th is a fund-raising event encouraging new memberships local land trusts and an educational opportunity to learn how these groups are working to preserve the natural heritage of our area.

The various land trusts will have representatives at an information table at both locations of the Mast General Store in Boone and Valle Crucis on Saturday.

“With more than 6,000 acres of total land developed each day, it is imperative that we look around us and preserve our beautiful spaces and open farmland for future generations to enjoy and benefit from,” said John Cooper, president of the Mast General Store. “Our Land Trust Day helps highlight local organizations that are working to do just that.”

As part of the June 4th event, representatives from the High Country Conservancy, the Blue Ridge Rural Land Trust, and the National Committee for the New River will be on hand at both locations of the Mast General Store. Visitors will be able to talk with the representatives about ongoing land conservation projects in our area.

The Mast General Store will donate 20% of sales from the day to these three organizations.

Founded in 1974, the National Committee for the New River was founded to stop two dams proposed on the New. The land trust arm of the organization is active in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia and has now protected 2,000 acres and 25 miles of river from development. The organization is active in the High Country through the Todd South Fork Greenway Project which ahs protected over 400 acres and 2½ miles of riverfront, which includes the Appalachian State University Biological Research Station.

Founded in 1987, the High Country Conservancy focuses on protecting the natural resources of Appalachia by conserving land with significant ecological, cultural, recreational and scenic value in Watauga, Avery and Ashe counties. The HCC has thus far protected 973 acres with over 300 of those located in Valle Crucis. With more than 550 members, the HCC was recognized nationally with the Allen Morgan Award for Excellence in 2003.

An active organization for the past eight years, the Blue Ridge Rural Land Trust has now protected over 5,000 acres and has created two new state parks—Bullhead Mountain in Alleghany County and Beech Creek Bog on Beech Mountain. The BRRLT is currently working on 28 projects totaling 4,600 acres in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery Mitchell, Wilkes, Watauga and Yancey counties.

“We are excited about providing this opportunity to the land trusts in our local area,” said Cooper. “The preservation and conservation of important view sheds and environmental sites is beneficial not only to the quality of life for the residents in our area, but goes a long way to further the sustainability of the tourism industry that is one of the mainstays of our economy.”

For more information about Mast General Store’s Land Trust Day, call (828) 963-6511.

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