The past two years have seen a massive shift in workplace expectations, as workers have taken charge of their futures more than ever. With so many searching for new companies – or even industries – to better value their work and time, there is a premium on businesses that can retain their talent.

Jennifer Waligora found one of those businesses in Wild Birds Unlimited, and decided to invest even more of her time, effort, and money into the brand.

Jennifer Waligora, an employee at WBU’s Franchise Support Center, is now a store owner with her husband Mark.

An employee at WBU’s Franchise Support Center since, Jennifer fell in love with the brand and how customers described their “beautiful” and “relaxing” shopping experience in stores throughout the country. During her tenure assisting franchise store owners in providing fresh, innovative visual merchandising plans, she began looking into growing her connection to WBU by owning a store with her husband Mark.

The Waligoras found their opportunity when the owners of an existing store in Asheville, NC decided to retire in 2021. Mark became the full-time owner-operator while Jennifer continued her role with the WBU Franchise Support Center remotely.

Their experience is one to which Liz and Matt Cleary can relate, after they purchased the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Somersworth, NH from the original owners – who also decided to retire after two decades of ownership.

Liz Cleary has spent years around WBU as a Franchise Support Center employee, manager of her family’s store, and now as an owner with her husband Matt.

Liz is no stranger to the WBU brand, having helped in the WBU store that her family owned near Pittsburgh. After graduating college, working elsewhere and a stint managing the Monroeville store, Liz joined the WBU Franchise Support Center in 2007 as a member of the Product Support team. She and Matt, who brought valuable marketing and media experience of his own, jumped at the opportunity to own a store themselves – especially when the opportunity arose in New Hampshire, close to family and an area they enjoyed.

As franchisor employees, helping franchisees to navigate various opportunities and challenges that come with owning a WBU store, both Liz Cleary and Jennifer Waligora saw the benefits of the brand’s support system. Their experience on the franchisor side validated the decision to become a Wild Birds Unlimited store owner because they knew the value of the franchise support they’d receive.

They also knew the overall value of expanding their relationships with WBU. The brand often feels like family to the people on both sides – whether they are a franchisor employee or a franchisee. It feels that way to many customers as well, which is why so many people who share the love of nature and birding shop at WBU and eventually open their own store.

If you are interested in joining the WBU family, fill out our form and learn more about flying with us!