Wild Birds Unlimited
owner Barb Whipkey is no stranger to owning her own business. When she decided to open the franchise in August in Lexington Park, Maryland, it was not a new career move for her and her husband, Chip.
In the past, she had owned her own pet sitting business for 10 years, along with owning a home day care—which spun off from her duty to take care of the grandkids full time.
Once the grandkids were off to school, it was time to get back to business. Whipkey always enjoyed feeding birds in the backyard and was starting to find it was difficult to get quality birdseed around town. At one point, they even started to mix their own birdseed. That’s when it occurred to them this premise could be their next business opportunity.
They decided to do a little research about opening their own store and stumbled upon the Wild Birds Unlimited
franchise. Admittedly, Whipkey explained they were not specifically looking to open a franchise, but Wild Birds Unlimited stood out from the rest of the pack.
When it came to franchising, Whipkey confessed she knew nothing before buying her own Wild Birds Unlimited. In the early stages of her discussions with corporate, the brand was diligent in making sure they were a good match. And having no knowledge of the franchise world, she was skeptical of how corporate would advise her.
“The first thing they told us to do was to go read Franchising for Dummies,” Whipkey joked.
But the franchise is determined to provide a strong support system with all of the information and tools necessary to prepare them for a successful business venture.
“There’s no one I couldn’t pick up the phone and call with a question or any time something happens,” she said. “It’s a family atmosphere, and they check in on you and send random emails asking what they can do to help.”
Whipkey said she feels comfortable calling all of the franchisors or even franchisees for help, something that differs with other businesses. A network of franchisees with the same goals and interests in mind seems like an amazing support system to lean on for any business owner.
When choosing Wild Birds Unlimited, Whipkey said the name recognition was one of the many deciding factors. She said the brand would make marketing her location easier. Whipkey also said Wild Birds Unlimited had a great reputation based on her research. She was unable to find any negative feedback about the brand.
“They had a proven business model and great support system,” she said. “Why reinvent the wheel when they are already successful?”
Wild Birds Unlimited is not focused on selling only birdseed and bird feeders. The business strives to bring people and nature together through education, which includes informing and educating customers about the wonders of birding and nature. With this added element of education as part of the business along with her passion for birds and nature, Whipkey was sold on being a part of what Wild Birds Unlimited had to offer.