Video Transcript: WBU History
(Description: Wild Birds Unlimited logo appears on screen then fades with cheerful music playing in background. Historical photos of the owner Jim Carpenter and his first business location are shown on screen with “1981” then “An Idea” appears underneath.)
[Narrator:] In 1981, Jim Carpenter decided to take a chance on an idea. With a master’s degree in horticulture and a love for nature and birds, he decided to open a small retail store in Indianapolis Indiana, called Wild Birds Unlimited. It was one of the first bird feeding specialty stores in all of North America.
Jim had a really simple wish to run a business which focused on helping people attract wild birds and nature and to do it to the very best of his ability. He spent time studying which foods are best for backyard birds and how they like to feed. That launched more than 30 years of developing products unlike any on the market before, including specially-formulated bird seed blends and bird foods, patented bird feeders and hardware.
From the start, Jim knew it would take more than offering great products to make his store a success. He would also need to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience. He wanted the business to be more than just a place to sell bird seed and feeders. His goal was to bring joy into customers’ lives through their backyard bird feeding experiences.
As Jim managed his store and focused on providing the best products and services to his customers, his girlfriend, Nancy, a talented artist and a teacher in a local school, assisted by creating artwork for ads and other marketing materials. Wild Birds Unlimited quickly became a place where customers could share their experiences, learn about the birds in their backyards, and learn how to create habitats where the birds could thrive.
People began to inquire about opening their own Wild Birds Unlimited store, so in 1983, Jim formed a partnership with Dick Schinkel, a Michigan naturalist, and they began offering franchises. 1983 was also the year Jim made another really smart decision. He married his girlfriend Nancy. In order to meet the organizational demands of a quickly-growing franchise system, Nancy left her teaching position in 1987 and took on the role of Operations Manager for Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. Nancy’s focus on training and education for new franchisees made an immediate impact and set the stage for the best practices Wild Birds Unlimited has in place today. Her artwork continued to be used in marketing and advertisements for 15 years.
In 1989, Jim became 100% owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc., and the franchise growth began in earnest. Today, more than 81 million people feed the birds and watch wildlife in their own backyards and Wild Birds Unlimited has become a thriving community of more than 325 franchise locations throughout North America. Doing what’s best for birds while bringing joy into people’s lives is still the driving force behind Wild Birds Unlimited and the staff at the company’s Franchise Support Center. It’s the foundation of all we do to create and support an award-winning franchise system, providing our franchise store owners with the tools to operate a business enterprise and to fulfill their passion for nature.
To each local community where a Wild Birds Unlimited store is located, it’s more than just a place to buy bird seed. It’s truly a special place where people and nature come together. It’s a place where communities are impacted for good. It’s a place of learning, a place of sharing. It is a place of joy.
(Description: Company jingle plays: “Wild Birds Unlimited, we bring people and nature together” while Wild Birds Unlimited logo appears on screen then fades.)