When entrepreneurs make the decision to become a franchisee and pursue business ownership with the backing of a proven system, they’re often fueled by a desire to be their own boss and the potential of creating a profitable business. However, for Wild Birds Unlimited, there’s another critical type of motivation that’s evident in all of the brand’s franchisees: passion. Because the leading franchise brand is known for its ability to connect people with nature, every member of Wild Birds Unlimited’s team is driven by their love of backyard bird feeding and the joy that comes with it.
Because Wild Birds Unlimited is rooted in passion, the brand makes it a priority for franchisees to get involved with the local communities they call home. That’s why it’s common for franchisees across the country at Wild Birds Unlimited’s 300-plus locations to be actively engaged in their community’s nature and bird-related scenes. Kelli Frame, for example, has owned her store in Salt Lake City, Utah for nearly three years. Over the course of those three years, she’s taken steps to ensure that her business is the go-to spot for people interested in birds and backyard bird feeding.
“I made a point of only hiring people who care a lot about birds and are passionate about bird feeding. There isn’t a single person on my staff who thinks of this solely as a job—we all love what we do. By establishing that excitement as a part of our culture, my store has been able to become the central place in the Salt Lake City market for people who are interested in birds. Whether they’re shopping for something specific or simply have a question about a bird that they saw in their backyard, our community knows that they can come to Wild Birds Unlimited for help,” said Frame. “Our community engagement begins with every interaction we have in our store. We aren’t only focused on a transaction. Instead, we’re taking the time to talk to our customers about birds and our products to make sure that our business extends beyond our store and plays a role in their everyday lives.”
In addition to educating customers on birds and the joy of backyard bird feeding, Frame makes an active effort to get the Wild Birds Unlimited name out in the community. Year-round, her store sponsors bird walks that are well attended. Frame and her staff will also attend meetings for local garden clubs to talk about seeds and planting native plants for birds, and they’ll also host events at the local library to further people’s bird knowledge. Frame has also made it a point to get involved with all of the local birding and nature organizations in the Salt Lake City area. By supporting local bird organizations, Frame has been able to form strong relationships with key members of the community to ensure that Wild Birds Unlimited is top of mind.
That ability to integrate the business behind Wild Birds Unlimited with the local communities it calls home is something that’s common across the brand’s entire franchise system. Tamar Boorstin, a franchisee in Palm Coast, Florida, also takes active steps to ensure that her store has a strong presence in her local community. While her grand opening only took place about a month ago, Boorstin spent the months leading up to her opening creating relationships with members of Palm Coast’s nature scene.
Boorstin said, “Before I could get into my actual store to start setting things up, promoting my Wild Birds Unlimited business became my full-time job. Anything that seemed like a good fit for the brand, I did. Palm Coast is filled with nature lovers, so I made sure to have a table at the local Birds of a Feather Festival and the Arbor Day Festival. And there’s no doubt that all of that effort paid off—we had people lining up outside before we opened our doors. Now that we’re officially up and running, I’m going to continue connecting with the community. I want this store to be seen as the local resource on all things bird related. In a small town like mine, having that level of expertise and providing a unique service is really important. Palm Coast has been craving this kind of business, and now that Wild Birds Unlimited is here, I’m going to make the most of that opportunity.”
When it comes to connecting their stores to the local community they serve, business owners like Frame and Boorstin aren’t limited to visiting other events. Both of their stores—and Wild Birds Unlimited stores across the country—also host their own in-store events with featured speakers, themes or topics that relate to the wildlife in their individual markets. By making that additional connection, Wild Birds Unlimited franchisees are ultimately able to fully capitalize on the power of their stores while also being introduced to potential new customers.
According to Frame, it’s that ability to make personal connections through owning a Wild Birds Unlimited store that makes the brand’s business ownership opportunity unparalleled in the industry.
“I thought that the best part of this job would be learning how to run a business. But now that I’ve been doing this for almost three years, it’s clear that the best thing about being a Wild Birds Unlimited franchisee is being able to do what you love every single day. My days are filled with conversations with customers about birds, and it brings so much joy into not just my life, but also the lives of my customers. I don’t think there’s been a day that goes by where someone doesn’t say to me that visiting this store is the highlight of their day,” said Frame. “Offering the world more information about birds sounds like such a small thing, but in reality, I can see it making a big difference.”