The Busy Bee Story
Chelsey Soder has been passionate about gardening since she was a little
girl. (She has been known to randomly pull a few weeds in front of
businesses, pinch a leggy plant, or pull off a bad bug on a plant in
need, even though they aren’t her plants.) Her first landscaping
project, at age 4, involved a much-anticipated trip to a local
greenhouse to buy plants. With her mom’s help, Chelsey found the
perfect plants to spice up the look of her tree house. The next morning
brought disaster, along with a critical lesson about gardening. Rabbits
love plants! Chelsey attended DMACC for Commercial Horticulture, which laid a great foundation for growing a lifelong passion.
Thanks to a very supportive family, who encouraged her to follow her dreams, Chelsey decided to turn that passion for gardening into a
business. In 2008, she officially opened Busy Bee Garden Center. Chelsey’s dream of owning her own business started with one small greenhouse and one small garden out in the country, just south of Indianola. Each season grew with a new greenhouse until the big dream came true. In 2015, Chelsey bought the current location North of Indianola.
That dream has continued to bloom! Busy Bee now occupies a larger location north of Indianola, with over 40,000 sq. feet in eleven greenhouses. In 2019, Chelsey retired 6 acres of chemical-free vegetable gardens and a spot at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market to pursue another dream of building an event venue- The Hive. The Hive has been a great addition to the many things offered at Busy Bee and marked a new chapter in business growth.
While you visit the garden center, you can also stop and see the chickens, ducks, and turkeys! You may even catch a glimpse of Tillie and Lottie, the herd of miniature cows, and their friends, the pigs, sheep, and goats, as they roam around the pastures around the greenhouses.
Quick! Pop quiz! Do you know why it’s called Busy Bee? Chelsey is a
4th generation beekeeper. Her parents own Soder Apiaries and Busy Bee
sells the honey. (You can also find Soder Apiaries at the Downtown Des
Moines Farmers Market from May through October.)