Alumni Profile: Nicholas Melka '10
Beekeeper and Business Owner
When life handed Nicholas Melka a batch of lemons, he didn’t make lemonade. He made honey. Faced with the debilitating symptoms of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses, which he contracted during his first year at Bishop’s University, Nicholas was taking 60 pills a day. Tired of the excruciating pain, medication, organ damage and frequent hospital visits, he turned to Eastern Medicine. After heeding the advice to try unprocessed honey, his life began to change within a matter of days. Inspired by the healing properties of honey, Nicholas became fascinated by beekeeping.
Although unprocessed honey may not be a cure-all for everyone, Nicholas’ experience compelled him to get involved and make a change. While still in school, he started off by researching, building a foundation and setting up seven beehives later that summer in Montreal, all of which he registered with the Ministry of Agriculture. His goal was to produce raw or unprocessed honey and to help sustain the honeybee population, which has seen a dramatic decline.
“I wanted to give back to the bees,” he says. “Not only did they help me personally, they are also critical to our ecosystem. In Montreal alone, they help pollinate over one billion flowers a year.” These seven beehives ultimately became Miel MTL, Nicholas’ business, which extracts honey from the honeycombs using a stainless steel centrifuge. Unlike processed honey, which is heated, Nicholas says that this cold-extracted process helps to retain the medicinal and nutritional properties.
Today he maintains 110 beehives in 66 areas across Montreal and Quebec, and plans to continue to contribute millions of honeybees every year. Miel MTL’s honey can be found in health food and boutique stores throughout the City of Montreal, and he has even begun to penetrate the market in Toronto and New York.
Nicholas graduated from Dawson College with a degree in psychology and more recently, from Bishop’s University this year with a degree in business. “I am proud that I have been able to apply what I learned in school to the development of something so positive,” he says. “One of my greatest achievements is having turned a bad situation into a productive enterprise.”
He believes that many of his core and life skills, as well as the drive to work toward something like Miel MTL were acquired at LCC. “The school gave me a strong foundation,” he says. “It allowed me to develop my mind and think beyond my local surroundings.” But even with these skills, he acknowledges that building a successful business takes time. “You have to work hard and take the necessary steps to reach a goal. If you lay down one brick every day, you will eventually have a castle.”
Updated January 15, 2020