Comvita Founder Turns 99
Voxy News, 8/18/2009
If anyone knows the true value of bee pollen products, it is 99 year old Claude Stratford.
The Bay of Plenty man, the founder of iconic New Zealand natural products company Comvita, celebrates his 99th birthday this week. He is still passionate about maintaining his own health - he continues to take bee pollen and Manuka honey - and Comvita is a huge part of that passion.
In 1921, aged 11, Claude owned his first beehive, which sparked a lifelong affinity for bees (when working with bees he would often forego any protective gear). As he was born during the Depression - when nutritious food was scarce - Claude suffered from ill-health as a child and was often very sickly. His childhood was spent in and out of hospital but his life and his health changed dramatically for the better when he discovered the benefits of taking products from the hive. This inspired in him a desire to create natural remedies from bee-related products.
In 1974, Claude started selling his products from the basement of his house and in time for Christmas 1976, opened the first Comvita shop in Paengaroa, selling Manuka honey, propolis, bee pollen, royal jelly and Claude's own recipe, Herbal Elixir, which is still a best seller today (now known as Fortacold Herbal Elixir)…