Back in 1982, a salesman stopped for lunch in the tiny town of Terry, Montana and overheard the town’s lawyer, barber and beekeeper talking about bee pollen in the next booth. They had a lot of bee pollen but they didn’t have a clue about how to sell it. The salesman struck up a conversation and he started to sell the granules, capsules and tablets at truck stops along his route.
Meanwhile, in Arlee, Montana, a local boy, Ron Hauge, returned from Europe with his Irish wife, Denise, where both had been working for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. Ron was an entrepreneur and marketer with a business degree in finance and he was interested in creating a local business to support his family.
The salesman and Ron crossed paths a year later and following their encounter, Ron formed a small company called Pollen and Herbs in 1983. Having worked for WHO, Ron and Denise were initially interested in bee pollen as a highly nutritious, compact food that might stave off world hunger. Out of their little office, they sent out samples and literature and realized that the market for bee pollen lay with health food stores because the stores believed in foods as nature intended and the stores were already familiar with bee products. They hired a telemarketer and by the end of 1983, they were in 830 stores throughout the 50 states.
Ron believed in “Quality from an Environment You can Trust™” and developed a drying system with cool air that would reduce the moisture content of the wildflower pollen so it could be cleaned, but still maintain its enzyme content and be shelf stable. He sold granules as well as capsules and tablets. Later he added royal jelly and propolis products and in 1985, launched a unique combination product called “Pure Energy,” which is still a very popular favorite today as an energizing formula that combines bee pollen and royal jelly with gotu kola and eleuthero but doesn’t contain caffeine or other stimulants.
In 1985, Ron and Denise incorporated Montana Naturals as a company with Montana Big Sky as the brand and in 1987, the company went public and continued to grow. Nutraceutical purchased the Montana Big Sky brand in 2004 and as part of Nutraceutical’s “Family of Brands” it continues to be loyal to the health food stores that embraced the nutritious Montana bee pollen more than 25 years ago.
See the online Montana Big Sky™ catalog.