When Sebert Miller first started making supplies for his own use, he had no intentions of turning his hobby into a business. After a few years though, he started selling to neighbors and friends. His son Presley started to help out after school and on weekends in the original shop. In 1976, the year Presley graduated high school, Miller Bee Supply was filed as a business. In 1980 a second shop was built and a third was built in 1988. Presley worked as a carpenter, cabinet maker, and 11 years as a lumber yard manager and a dry kiln operator at American Drew Furniture Company. In 1988 he quit to work full time at Miller Bee Supply.
In 1993, Beverly and Presley’s baby girl, Tyler, was born into the hustle and bustle of a growing business.
In the early 1990’s a mite infestation hit the North Carolina area and devastated countless stands of bees. Before the mites, the business sold about $75,000 worth of merchandise a year but since no one was buying bee supplies, business fell to about $18,000 a year. So Presley bought Sebert’s half of the business in October of 1994 for $10,145, to become the sole owner.
Frames were bothersome to make in the early days. Presley and Sebert had to cut out every single piece on a table saw, by hand. In 1997, Presley spent $15,000 for motors and steel to build his famous frame making machines that are still used today. Just think about how long that order of 500 frames would take if Presley didn’t have the radical idea to make his own frame machine!
When K-Mart closed in the early 2000’s, Wilkes County lost a great asset, but Miller Bee Supply gained one. A few months before K-Mart closed, Beverly Miller (Presley’s wife) quit her job of office manager after 22 years of service, to work full time with Presley. Her joining also brought the first computer to Miller Bee Supply and because of her experience, instead of writing out sales by hand, everything was computerized. Here’s a fun fact. The first sales building did not have heating or air, and it didn’t even have insulation! Presley made some plastic walls to surround Beverly’s work station to keep her some what warm during the cold winter months!
Miller Bee Supply was expanding and quickly outgrowing the tiny old shops. In 2003, a new warehouse was built to better fit the ever-growing business. This was 7,000 square feet of new space to use. A milestone of this size gets bigger, as this was when the manufacturing was moved from 11562 North Highway 16, Millers Creek, to 496 Yellow Banks Rd. North Wilkesboro.
This was the first serious step in completely relocating the business. In September of 2007, the new sales shop, 8,500 square feet, was finished and Miller Bee Supply had a new home. The sales area was moved down off the mountain and ever since the business has grown. Miller Bee Supply was incorporated in 2008, and changed to Miller Bee Supply, Inc.
Now it’s 2019, 43 years later and we are still doing business with a small-town, family mind-set. We won’t ever forget our humble roots!