Interview with Allyse Jackson
Allyse Jackson had an idea. It started as a little idea to help support her family, but it has grown into a thriving family business — all thanks to her vision and dedication.
Serving in a simple way
Around 2016, Allyse and her husband Adam were living in Provo, Utah, where Adam was working for a local tech company. Allyse was carrying their first child, a baby girl, and at six months pregnant, she went into complete nesting mode. “I decided to prep all these freezer meals so when I had the baby I wouldn’t have to cook!” she says.
Well, 60-80 freezer meals later, Allyse had completely filled their deep freezer. “I realized I had way over prepped,” she laughs.
Word got around that the Jacksons had more food than they could eat and that Allyse had started giving them to neighbors in need. “I could serve people in such a simple way that meant a lot to them,” she says. Families that welcomed their own new babies or had illness could count on Allyse dropping off frozen dinners — often one cooked ready to eat and one frozen for another day.
“Food brings joy to people,” Allyse says, and serving them brought joy to her, too.
I woke up one morning and wrote a list of things I’m good at — and freezer meals were on the list.”
A litle later, the Jacksons moved to Farmington, Utah, but the new era came with new challenges. “Nothing felt super stable with Adam’s current job,” Allyse says. “We weren’t sure we would even get a paycheck for a while, and I thought, ‘If this company goes under, we don’t want him to have to just take the first job that comes around.’”
She decided they needed to have another source of income if Adam decided to leave his current position. “I woke up one morning and wrote a list of things I’m good at — and freezer meals were on the list.”
So, Allyse posted her idea to social media: Freezer meals for sale! Within a few hours, people were Venmoing her money. She kept it to 10-12 people a week, a few meals each. “This was supposed to be small and temporary,” she says with a smile.
But it kept spreading.
For the first six months, it was just Allyse shopping, preparing food in their rented commercial kitchen, and delivering it to customers. But more and more people wanted the service, and she realized just one woman just wasn’t going to cut it.
In February of 2020, she hired her first two employees and took orders for 20 families a week. Within a month, she had hired two more, each working 10-20 hours a week to keep up with the demand.
Today, Beehive Meals employs 65 people and runs 14 delivery vans throughout Utah, Idaho and Arizona! From such humble beginnings, this “small and temporary” business has grown bigger than Allyse could have imagined.
Navigating a global pandemic
Getting your business up and running in the first quarter of 2020 was no joke, especially in the food industry. As people began shopping for the long haul, grocery stores shelves were bare. No one wanted to go out (thank you grocery pick-up!) at the same time Allyse’s little business — at the time called Honeybee Beehive Meals — was doubling their deliveries.
Food was hard to get, and grocery stores began limiting the amount one person could purchase at a time. Allyse and Adam would head to the grocery store and speak directly to the butcher to get enough chicken for their meals, check out, and then go back in for another load. “People looked at us so weird,” she says, shaking her head.
Despite these growing pains, Beehive Meals grew out of its kitchen and was a company of 20 employees by the end of the summer.
Turns out the pandemic made people realize just how nice it was to avoid grocery shopping and food prep. Beehive Meals was now a big enterprise in Davis County, Utah.
I remember coming home to homemade dinner and eating as a family. I grew up with that, and that aided in my desire to prep for my own family.”
Meals bring people together, they say, and that was certainly true for Allyse. “I remember coming home to homemade dinner and eating as a family,” she recalls. “I grew up with that, and that aided in my desire to prep for my own family.” She wanted her daughter and two sons to have the same memories of warm, homemade food around the family dinner table just as she did.
Some of the meals delivered to your doorstep are inspired by the meals Allyse had growing up. “Mom made a lot of casseroles, and I’ve adapted some of those meals.” Like the ever-popular Beef Corn Mac? It was once a Beef Corn-noodle Casserole on Allyse’s childhood dinner table. The Artichoke Chicken? Also once a casserole, adapted for Beehive Meals.
But the food itself isn’t the only way Beehive Meals is a family affair: Allyse and Adam Jackson work together every day to keep this business running. “He’s the entrepreneur,” Allyse says. “He does all the marketing and digital — anything that’s online is him. All the recipes and processes in our facilities is me.” Their entrepreneurial spirit is spreading, too. Their six-year-old daughter is often using her “own little business spirit,” selling eggs from their chickens and saving her money.
Like mother like daughter.
While Allyse certainly didn’t see her freezer meal skills skyrocketing into a multi-state business, she does see a bright future for Beehive Meals now. More vans are on order. She has plans to open deliveries to two more states in 2023 (no spoilers yet!), and she’s looking to the future of expanding their personnel.
“Our product sells itself,” she says. There’s not much they have to do to expand. “We grow by word of mouth — people need this!” But it’s more than that. The friendships and relationships Allyse made in those early days of the one-woman-business are still in place. “Some of our first families are still with us! They use this to feed their families every month and have for the past three years.”
Allyse will tell you freezer meals wasn’t “supposed to be the great big idea,” but to us and so many loyal Beehive Meals consumers, it sure is a GREAT idea.
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