Ceracell are the sponsor of For The Love of Bees natural Bee School. Ceracell, run by Bruce and Susan Clow, provides New Zealand's largest range of Beekeeping Supplies to commercial and hobbyist beekeepers across New Zealand. Bruce and Susan have taken the role of supporting our natural Bee School for the duration of two years. By working with such generous and likeminded people, For The Love of Bees is destined to lead Auckland's next generation of future beekeepers in the right direction. Find out more about the origins of Ceracell below...
Married in 1980, Bruce and Susan Clow’s pride and joy are their family. Their eldest son, Phillip and daughter-in-law, Melanie, live and work in Canada. Their second son, Thomas, works full-time at Ceracell as Key Accounts Manager, and also runs a beekeeping and queen rearing partnership with two friends in his spare time. Their daughter, Josie, is attending the University of Canterbury studying for a B.Sc., but in the summers works at Ceracell in customer service and dispatch. Their youngest son, Matthew, finished high school in 2016, and is currently working at Ceracell in this his gap year before attending university.
Susan is a Kiwi, born in Morrinsville to dairy farming parents, grew up in Dargaville, and attended Papakura High School when the family shifted to Hunua. After dental nursing school, she met and married Bruce, then went on to the University of Otago and dental school. Bruce was born and raised in Canada, where he earned a degree in Chemical Engineering. Both before and after marrying Susan, he worked in the oil refining industry, and then when Susan went to dental school at Otago University, Bruce studied there earning his MBA. He lectured in accounting and finance for three years at Otago. After Susan graduated and they moved to the Franklin area, Susan set up a dental practice in Pukekohe, where she helped multitudes of people. She is now retired from Dentistry and working at Ceracell. Bruce taught accounting and finance at MIT for some years while managing Susan’s practice and a satellite practice in Orewa. In 2004 Bruce started a business based in the Waikato, manufacturing wood fuel pellets. Unfortunately that coincided with Solid Energy getting into the same business and building a plant in Rotorua, then Taupo. Bruce surrendered to the inevitable and closed his pellet business in 2014, just prior to purchasing Ceracell.
Bruce has kept bees for many years as a hobby, even serving as the Treasurer for the Franklin Bee Club (FBC) for a time, and one year winning the prestigious FBC’s “Big Sting” for his honey and beeswax entries at the club’s annual competition. As a beekeeper, Bruce had been a customer of Ceracell’s for many years, and the timing of the opportunity for getting seriously involved in an industry for which he has a passion, was too tempting.
“I had been acquainted with the previous owners of Ceracell, Trevor, Peter, and Ida Cullen for some years, and I always loved going into their shop and absorbing the smells of beeswax and woodware. In looking more closely at the business, I was impressed with the happy work environment they created, even though for many months of the year it is extremely busy and hectic. Sort of reminds me of the workings of a queen-right beehive. Susan and I were excited about the opportunities and challenges Ceracell offered. We’re grateful to Trevor and the Cullen family for choosing us to carry on their legacy and to build on the success they had created, not just in their business but in the wider beekeeping and honey processing industries,” says Bruce. “Trevor stayed on for over a year while we found our feet and I still call him from time-to-time. He has over four decades of experience as a beekeeper and in beekeeping supplies, and I don’t want to lose that knowledge. Besides, I love his subtle humour and his gentle down-to-earth practicality. He has become a good friend.”
Since taking over Ceracell in December 2014, the Clow’s have made lots of changes to cope with the rapid growth in the industry. They have moved the woodware manufacturing, beeswax processing and the majority of the warehousing to Ohinewai, in the Waikato. At East Tamaki, Auckland, they have doubled the size of the retail shop and modernised it. They have totally rebuilt the Ceracell website so that it is fully e-commerce making internet purchasing comfortable and easy, with customers now throughout the whole world. In 2015 Ceracell purchased the wood bee frame manufacturing company, Mahurangi Hiveware, and fully incorporated it into their existing woodware factory. “Mahurangi wooden bee frames are considered the highest quality wooden frame in the world, and 75% of our production is exported to Canada and Australia. The Mahurangi wooden bee frames business is a beautifully complementary operation for Ceracell. We are experts at making wooden components for beehives, and we already manufacture plastic bee frames, so it made sense to add it to our operation. Now it doesn’t matter what type of frame a customer wants—beeswax coated plastic, wood with coated plastic foundation, or wood with beeswax foundation—we make it all and can ensure the quality is excellent,” says Bruce. “Our goal is to provide a comprehensive line of beekeeping equipment and supplies, which covers the full price range to cater for the budget conscious beekeeper, and those wanting the best of the best. We are always looking for new products and new ways of doing things to help beekeepers deal with the challenges they face in the hive. That’s where being a beekeeper is invaluable. All of our family involved in Ceracell are beekeepers, and many of our staff are too. So we get lots of ideas and inspiration from our own experiences, as well as listening keenly to our customers.”
Please browse the Ceracell website at www.ceracell.co.nz to learn more about the business and what they can offer beekeepers both new and experienced. From there you can link to their facebook page, and view the many instructional videos that Bruce, Susan and Thomas have made.