HICKMAN — The Bee is a coffee shop, bakery, ice cream parlor and Mexican restaurant all in one.
It opened five and a half years ago in Hickman, started by a mom and her two daughters.
“My sister was living in LA, I was out in Fort Collins, our mom lived here in Lincoln and we knew we wanted to start a business,” Sarah Gray, one of the daughters, said. “And we knew we were going to do bakery because my sister’s a genius at it. And Nebraska was the right fit for us.”
They heard about Hickman, a town of about 2,000 people near Lincoln, and saw that the community was in need of a coffee shop, so they decided to combine the bakery idea with coffee.
They found their location, but had to do a lot of work to make it the place known as The Bee today.
“This place, I say, was built on Home Depot and YouTube. It was awesome. But we had a really good team,” Gray said.
The other daughter, Amanda Rekasis is the primary baker who has all the recipes. Their mom, Joan Ransom is the complementary baker and does occasional floral arrangements. Gray does the front of the house and helps out where needed.
A year ago they decided they wanted to add Mexican food to their menu and started serving lunch and dinner.
“Switched over to Mexican food and that was a really good transition for us because the town did want to get fed so it’s been an awesome move, it improved our liquor sales greatly, now we do a lot more margaritas and that’s really good,” Gray said.
The Bee has a following on Facebook, where they do most of their marketing, including their menu change.
“Luckily, we had already established us, so we just needed to bring them in for something different,” Gray said.
They also switched out their soft serve ice cream machine for hand-scooped ice cream.
“We do eight flavors of ice cream now all the time. That has been very successful,” Gray said. “Before we had a soft serve machine that broke down all the time, it was cantankerous at best, so this is rad – it pumps like crazy, all the kiddos love it.”
Since they are a business of many talents, they are a staple of the Hickman community.
“I would say we are super involved and we have a vested interest in the Hickman community because if the community is doing well then we’re doing well,” Gray said.
The Bee is open Tuesday – Saturday serving coffee, bakery items, tacos, margaritas, ice cream and smiles from the family of three behind the counter.
“It’s our family business,” Gray said. “So yeah, and we stand behind it and we’re proud to do it. So it’s been a treat for us. We really like it here in Hickman.”