mouse-icon hexagons1

Our Story

Rooted in generations of care and commitment to honey bees and beekeeping, Bee Downtown is a North Carolina based company using businesses in cities like Raleigh and Durham 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. Through a financially lucrative business, we positively impact the environment, educate the public, and provide an important resource for food and agriculture. 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 two beehives on a rooftop at the American Tobacco Campus and a clear storefront observatory hive at the front door of Burt’s Bees in Durham, NC. In July, 2015 Bee Downtown made the change from a non-profit to a for-profit company. In the past year, the business, or “beesness” as we like to call it, has expanded to work with companies across the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area. With a goal of expanding around the world, 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.

“If the bee disappeared from the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” – Albert Einstein

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 rooftop and observation 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. We install and maintain beehives in urban areas where bees thrive while simultaneously providing Corporate Social Responsibility green initiatives for businesses that purchase our hives.

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.

Every third bite of food you eat is thanks to a honey bee.

70 of the world’s top 100 food crops are pollinated by honey bees.



Sign up for our Newsletter




We’ve teamed up with fellow Durham, NC startup, Runaway Clothing Company, to create an awesome collaborative capsule collection. Get your t-shirt, tank, local honey and print today! Just click on the shirt to head over to to order yours and BEEcome part of the movement!