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Eric and Margo Garrison Win Wild Birds Unlimited’s Franchisee Honor Award

The couple’s relentless efforts to build their enterprise were recognized

By Ben Warren1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSORED 11:11AM 08/16/18

Each year at the Wild Birds Unlimited’s  Enterprise Leadership Conference, owners from across the franchise system and the Franchise Support Center team members gather to share ideas, listen to keynote speakers, learn about new initiatives and take advantage of unique purchasing programs from the company’s top vendors. The event is also an opportunity for the brand to acknowledge and honor  its top performers and owners who exemplify Wild Birds Unlimited’s commitment to education, preservation and service. This year, Eric and Margo Garrison, owners  of the Wild Birds Unlimited in Ottawa, Ontario, took home the Franchisee Honor Award, which is the highest honor awarded to a franchisee each year.

Eric and Margo have been Wild Birds Unlimited owners since 1992 when they opened their store as a side job. At the time, Eric was a school administrator and Margo worked for the government. After a few years, they decided to leave their former careers to focus on Wild Birds Unlimited full time. Since then, Eric and Margo have grown their business and become pillars of their local community.

During the award ceremony, Pat Perkinson, WBU’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said Eric and Margo’s success as Wild Birds Unlimited owners can be summed up in four words: follow through, initiative, teamwork.

“Eric and Margo are capable of wearing many hats and setting high expectations for themselves and others,” Perkinson said of the owners’ ability to follow through on plans. “They are driven, reliable and hard-working.”

To illustrate the couple’s initiative, Perkinson pointed to EcoClean, a product that Eric and Margo assisted the Franchise Support Center during the Canadian launch. Perkinson quoted Merchandise Manager Andrea McNeely, who said “Margo was instrumental in helping me navigate the Canadian government system to get approval of our marketing and packaging claims for the EcoClean products for the Canadian stores.”

With regards to teamwork, Perkinson said, “Eric and Margo create supportive relationships. They are effective at delegating and empowering others.”

Perkinson also noted that Eric is a sitting board member of the Wild Bird Care Centre, a donation-based organization that cares for injured, orphaned and displaced birds — further evidence, Perkinson said, that the pair is “relentless in their efforts of bringing people and nature together in their community.”

As franchisees, Eric and Margo have never lost sight of the customer experience, which Perkinson said “has always remained at the forefront of their business.” Long-time customer Barbara Adams said, “I have known Eric and Margo for many years and find their work on behalf of animals, specifically birds, really amazing. They are a couple that people in the birding community hold in high esteem and come to for advice on equipment and feeding practices. Eric and the entire staff of the store are always welcoming, helpful, and most importantly, knowledgeable.”

Eric and Margo’s store has seen consistent sales growth over the years, something Perkinson attributes largely to their marketing efforts, which includes television, radio and social media outreach. Eric, is the face and voice of WBU Ottawa, being the on-air talent recording the commercials and Margo is one of the franchise’s first adopters of social media and creates all of the store’s email content.

Eric and Margo were presented with the Franchisee Honor Award before Wild Birds Unlimited’s entire franchise system, including last year’s winners, who Perkinson took a moment to recognize as well.

“These franchisees epitomize what Wild Birds Unlimited is all about,” Perkinson said of both this year and last year’s winners, “Through this spirit of teamwork, our system has continued to improve and prosper.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.