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Wild Birds Unlimited Sets Itself Up for Continued Franchise Growth as it Celebrates a Successful Third Quarter

The backyard bird feeding franchise saw an increase in same-store sales and achieved success despite the challenges posed by the pandemic by tapping into the power of its updated e-commerce platform.

Despite the challenges facing businesses across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wild Birds Unlimited is continuing to experience growth.

Over the last quarter, the original backyard bird feeding franchise saw a significant increase in same-store sales. The brand, which is dedicated to connecting its customers with nature in over 300 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, attributes that success to its hard-working franchisees and to its updated e-commerce platform, which made online sales significantly easier for bird-loving customers when many stores were forced to temporarily close.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in the early months of 2020, Wild Birds Unlimited was able to continue operating through online ordering and curbside delivery. With its customers spending more time at home birdwatching, Wild Birds Unlimited was able to experience increased sales during the pandemic. 

During the first half of the year, Wild Birds Unlimited’s stores experienced an eight percent same-store sales increase. A huge accomplishment given the fact that most of the system’s in-store showrooms were closed to the public. In August alone, the brand achieved double-digit same-store sales increases despite the pandemic continuing to rage on.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to see success throughout an otherwise stressful time,” said Paul Pickett, chief development officer of Wild Birds Unlimited. “Our brand is unique in that even as things throughout the country and the world at large remain uncertain, we’re still able to help our customers carry out a hobby that they love and find solace in.”

An additional point of success for the brand during the third quarter has been its overall unit growth. Over the last quarter, Wild Birds Unlimited has added four more franchisees to its growing roster and resold six existing Wild Birds Unlimited stores. Philip and Shelly Edge, who are multi-unit owners with the brand, were a part of that growth process — expanding their footprint in North Carolina by opening a third location in their hometown of Mooresville during the pandemic. 

“We had basically just signed on the dotted line for the real estate,” said Phillip. “It was scary at first, but the biggest issue was getting the permits because everything was on lockdown. Although we weren’t able to start with construction until mid-May, we were able to open only a little behind schedule on June 10.”

Manuel Pena, who is another franchisee with Wild Birds Unlimited in Dripping Springs, Texas, said the support he received at the corporate level reinforced his confidence in the brand’s leadership and direction throughout the pandemic. 

“During this time, the franchise set up a COVID-19 hotline and help desk, which has been helpful. We’ve only had to utilize it a couple of times, but it’s been really beneficial,” said Pena. “Running a business is already difficult, so dealing with the little, everyday problems you have and then putting COVID-19 on top of that has been challenging. We’ve been fortunate to have the help we need whenever we ask for it.”

It’s important to note that a significant aid to the brand’s success throughout the pandemic and this past quarter has been the update of its e-commerce platform, MyWBU. Over the course of COVID-19, MyWBU has been instrumental in keeping franchisees going strong, allowing the brand to keep its sales up despite being temporarily closed to in-person guests. The digital platform, which connects local stores to regional customers through e-commerce, has even helped multiple locations see a spike in revenue. 

“We know we can leverage the platform to keep [customers] engaged with our services and increase lifetime value,” said Patrick Eckhardt, Wild Birds Unlimited’s e-commerce manager. “No matter their personal situations, they continue to learn more about a hobby they love and engage with a store they love.”

The investment level to open a Wild Birds Unlimited location is $170,382 to $281,606. To learn about franchising opportunities with Wild Birds Unlimited, please visit www.wbufranchise.com.

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

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