A new one-stop shop for honey products opened in Naples this month off U.S. 41, across from the Park Shore Plaza.
Grand Central Honey, owned by Cindy McCartney, is home to hundreds of different types of honey across many different brands. The concept for McCartney’s store started when a friend of hers asked for help marketing his new local line of honey. She started reading about and researching bees and was quickly impressed by how bee colonies operated.
“There’s just so much to know,” McCartney said. “Their whole society is just amazing, if everybody ran their society like that, it would be a really cool thing.”
When brainstorming ideas on how to market a new local honey line, she realized it would be difficult to stand out among millions of other brands. “One [morning] at 3 a.m., I thought, what if we had a store where other honeys were and we had some bigger-named honeys that would bring people in?” McCartney said.
The store offers honeys from all over the world—from Meluka Australia to Naples Honey Co.—with infused flavors ranging from rum to coffee to lavender. Customers also will find beeswax candles, skin care products and even bee-themed dog apparel.
McCartney was enthralled with Grand Central Terminal when she was living in New York, which inspired the name. “I kind of thought, with the idea of bringing all these honeys together, it’s kind of like the Grand Central [Terminal] of honey,” she said.
Before purchasing a jar, customers can try their honey at a sampling table called The Bee Bar. “Any honey anybody wants to taste, we will open and make a tester out of it,” McCartney said.
Grand Central Honey is a supporter of Savannah Bee Co.’s Bee Cause Project. The initiative builds hives in schools as tools for education, allowing children to learn and appreciate what bees contribute to society, with a beekeeper in charge of the hive. The store sells honey, and a portion of sales go to the Bee Cause Project. The store also carries Savannah Bee’s entire line.
It will have a monthly limited-edition honey of the month, although all batches can be seen as limited. “None of the harvests are the same,” McCartney said. “It depends on the bee, what they’re feasting on and the nectar.” This month’s featured honey is Savannah Bee’s Winter White batch, which was harvested in Montana.
To further its educational mission, the store has a virtual hive inside for customers to watch. “You can see all the bees. You can see where the queen is. It’s the next best thing to having a real one,” she said.
McCartney plans to host events, such as honey tastings, and partner with restaurants for honey-based charcuterie meals. There also are plans for beekeepers to visit and share their knowledge with customers about the importance of bees.
“We have [a beekeeper] that is going to bring an observation hive, an actual beehive for observation,” she said. “Little by little we just want to educate people.”