“The Joy of Bird Feeding: The Essential Guide to Attracting and Feeding Our Backyard Birds” is a smash success with Wild Birds Unlimited store owners, employees and customers - and is turning newbies into regulars.
Released in early 2017 and authored by Jim Carpenter, the founder, president and CEO of Wild Birds Unlimited, the book is jam-packed with tips for bird lovers on how to best attract and care for their backyard visitors.
Franchise owners say the book has helped strengthen the brand with employees and existing customers and converted new customers into becoming store frequenters.
Carpenter was inspired to write the book by his many years in the bird feeding business and seeing the impact made on customers and their relationship to nature.
“We really do ‘Bring People and Nature Together,’” he said, echoing the Wild Birds Unlimited mission statement. “We do it in the store with a customer experience worthy of a 50-mile trip. We do it in backyards with our products. There are very few retailers that can have this kind of an impact on people’s lives.”
Laurel Zoet, co-owner of the Wild Birds store in Brighton, Michigan, which opened in March 2017, said the book has been gifted to all new store employees.
“It’s kind of like the WBU training manual,” she said. “Obviously, we have a real training manual, but this has everything you would need to know. This is like the ultimate study guide to be a backyard bird feeding specialist.”
Carpenter passed by Zoet’s store during his book tour, which definitely caused a ripple of excitement among the employees there.
“One of our staff members brought her book just in case Jim came by, and you would have thought some famous movie star had walked in,” Zoet said. That employee got her copy autographed.
And the feedback from customers has been strong as well.
“I did have another customer who summed it up so well after reading it,” Zoet said. “He came in and said ‘You know, this isn’t a book written by a man who started a business. It’s a book written by a man who LOVES feeding birds and wants to share that with everyone.’ I thought that was the perfect endorsement of the book, and that’s absolutely true if you’ve met Jim.”
Other fans of the book, Zoet said, include a widow who got back into bird feeding, her late husband’s hobby, as a way of healing. A younger fan received a free signed copy of the book after initially coming in to find a birthday gift for his grandmother. He ended up wanting to feed birds himself, and is now a bird enthusiast.
Joe Perez, who owns the Birmingham, Alabama WBU store, said a new customer came in on June 16, purchased the book, and returned the next day to purchase several bird feeding-related items.
“He indicated that a lot of his purchases were as a result of his reading The Joy of Bird Feeding from front to back,” Perez said.
The customer recently visited the store for the tenth time just to give the staff a cake he baked.
“[He] has become a real friend to each of our associates in the store, and we look forward to his every visit,” Perez said of the customer, who he said has spent more than $2,000 since that first visit and has also joined the company’s Daily Savings Club.
The response to the book has caused a wave of excitement throughout the brand and further solidifies the mission of WBU.
“Even though there are reasons to be uncertain, unhappy, or even scared about the world at large and about our own businesses, I know for certain that we have the power to make a powerful and lasting impact on people’s lives,” Carpenter said. “When we understand that and passionately fulfill our mission with every single customer, we have every reason to feel that we can have a meaningful impact on our customers’ lives and that we are in control of our future.”
With locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores. Recently ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 in the Retail category on Franchise Business Review’s prestigious 2018 Franchisee Satisfaction Awards, there's no better time to join the Wild Birds Unlimited team. Click here to learn more.