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Wild Birds Unlimited’s ‘Nest Generation’: Children of Successful Franchisees Take Flight With the Brand

Every business owner dreams of creating a legacy to hand down to their children. At Wild Birds Unlimited, successful franchise owners have already passed on their nest eggs to the next generation.

Wild Birds Unlimited has been connecting its customers with nature since 1981. 

With a focus on bird seed and bird feeders, this franchise has grown to more than 300 locations across North America. 

Now, nearly 40 years later, a “nest generation” of children is taking over their family’s franchises. 

Birdwatching and feeding birds is a simple pleasure that has always united generations. Now, as the use of technology has grown, the hobby of birding has grown more important, providing a much-needed break from today’s busy, always-connected world.

That’s how Wild Birds Unlimited stores have weathered decades of good economic times and bad to provide a bedrock business foundation that has seen families through multiple generations. 

Brooke Cassidy, in Oakdale, NY, was an adult when her father opened a Wild Birds Unlimited franchise 14 years ago, the same month her first child was born. At the time, she had a career in the restaurant industry, and her father was stepping back from a lifetime as an accountant. 

She never planned on taking over the store full time, but life had a way of bringing her back to what began to feel like a home.

“I didn’t intend on it really becoming such a large part of my life when my dad opened the store,” she said. But as the years passed, the appeal of a steady job where she could work around family steadily increased. Cassidy picked up some shifts at her dad’s store and found they had a great working relationship.

“I don’t feel like I’m going to work. I feel like I'm going into my living room. I know the space so well,” she said. “We’ve been doing this so long and our customers are such nice, down-to-earth people.”

“If you ask my newest employee, she’s surprised that I know the majority of people’s names and their families and what they do. It’s very exciting to make all these friends you normally wouldn’t meet because you’re just in different life stages. They’re all like family,” she continued. 

But while Cassidy is a natural saleswoman, and her father was a great accountant, Wild Birds Unlimited provided the missing ingredient for a successful business.

“Everything Wild Birds Unlimited does is so well put together and so well thought out. They’re very good at accepting ideas and implementing those changes. It’s such a good brand to be associated with because they've been doing it for so long,” Cassidy said.

Now Cassidy sees a chance for her to pass on the gift her father left her by bringing her daughter into the business.

“If she decides to do this as a career, at least I’m able to provide her with the business experience and the job experience of dealing with people and the franchise,” she said. “The fact that I’m able to teach her these things is invaluable to me, and it’s nice knowing she can become the next owner in 20 years.”

The Cassidys are just one example of the “nest generation” that grew up with the brand and continue to be passionate about it today. 

Danielle Pecoraro is in the process of taking over the Blasdell, NY Wild Birds Unlimited location from her mother. 

A passionate birder who had to leave her job at a book-printing company due to tendinitis, Pecoraro’s mom needed a new line of work to support her young family. Wild Birds Unlimited was there for her. And now, it’s there for her daughter.

“I would work when I was on break from college and then in the summer I was working full time,” Pecoraro said. “After I graduated, I wasn’t sure entirely what I wanted to do. Around that time I was offered an actuarial position with some company and I decided that working in a cubicle all day wasn’t really for me.” 

Instead, Pecoraro focused on a passion that had been in her family since she was born. 

“We’ve been feeding birds for 35 or 40 years. We didn’t have a lot of money when we started out so we’d use milk cartons to cut and make a feeder or an aluminum tray on a picnic table,” she said. “My mom didn’t go into this business to make a ton of money. It was her passion for nature and wildlife that drove her. She wanted to share that with other people and inspire them and share in their happiness when they have new birds come or they see an exciting bird.” 

Wild Birds Unlimited has enabled that passion for the Pecoraros. The brand’s constant support, training and education allow them to pass on the best possible service to generations of customers that have become like family. 

“They’ve given us the tools and the means to share our passion and educate customers. They find the quality brands and do the quality control and research and development,” she said. “It’s essential. Whether it’s moral support or dealing with vendors or bouncing ideas, Wild Birds Unlimited has been there for us.”

Through it all, the Pecoraro’s passion has found a loyal customer base, some of whom became dear friends. 

“We’ve been open 23 years now. We have customers that have been coming in since the beginning,” she said. “They’ve become more like friends. We know their family, we’ve watched their children grow up and start families of their own.”

Now, with a strong reputation in place and decades of experience, both the Pecoraros and the Cassidys dream of passing the business down to the third generation, or even opening up additional stores. 

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

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