Wild Birds Unlimited provides our franchisees the opportunity to enhance the lives of their communities by giving them the highest quality backyard bird feeding products along with expert local advice on how to enjoy birds and nature in their own back yards while providing a fantastic business opportunity.Our commitment to providing the highest quality products, customer experience and innovative support has resulted in our high level of franchisee satisfaction and growth.
With nearly 300 Wild Birds Unlimited stores across North America, we are well on our way to being a household name that means “the best bird feeding products in town”.
Wild Birds Unlimited is a great concept for prospective franchisees who want to tap into their love of birds and nature and turn that love into a business enterprise. Our support team is here to provide tools and support every step of the way, including assistance in helping to choose the ideal locations in a chosen market.
In 1981, Jim Carpenter, our founder and CEO, had a dream. Jim loved the hobby of bird feeding and loved the idea of controlling his own destiny by owning his own business. Jim’s entrepreneurial spirit came naturally; his grandparents had owned a small chain of “Five and Dime” retail stores in Indiana. So, with a big dream and small inheritance, Jim opened the first Wild Birds Unlimited store in Indianapolis, IN. Jim was confident that if he had the best bird feeding products, delivered the finest customer experience and focused on enhancing his customers’ lives by providing them the best way to enjoy the backyard bird feeding hobby, he was sure to succeed. These foundations have not changed over the past 35 years.
Jim started franchising Wild Birds Unlimited in 1983 when the nephew of his first employee saw the smile on Jim’s face during a visit to his uncle and said…”I want to have that smile on my face too”…and the Wild Birds Unlimited franchise system was launched. We now have nearly 300 franchise stores across the United States and Canada and continue to grow.
Energy & Passion for Retail and the Hobby of Bird Feeding
Like a lot of people, Silvia Slemmer had always dreamed about being a business owner one day—but it was a goal that always seemed just out of reach.
For most of her life, Slemmer worked as an executive assistant, handling the meetings, schedules and travel plans for top-level leadership. Slemmer says her core responsibility was to keep their lives in order. It was a rewarding—albeit busy—career.
But yet, Slemmer often found herself wondering what else life might have in store for her. On the weekends, she’d regularly visit the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Carlsbad, California to buy supplies for her backyard birdfeeders. She says that’s where her dream began to become a business owner.
“I would visit the local Wild Birds Unlimited at every chance I had. I’d walk through the aisles and say to myself, ‘When I have a store like this…’” Slemmer recalls. “It was a dream of mine to have a store like Wild Birds Unlimited, but I knew I could never do it because I had no retail experience and I didn’t have the support from my husband to help make it happen.”
Looking for guidance, Slemmer turned to Paul Pickett, the chief development officer at Wild Birds Unlimited. He provided her with a list of important books to buy and walked her through the brand’s business planning. This process includes an in-depth look at Wild Birds Unlimited’s comprehensive support services for all elements of the franchise operation, an example Business Plan to work off of and a Financial Projection worksheet. Having this detailed information on hand ultimately helped Slemmer secure the business loan she needed to get her Wild Birds Unlimited location transferred over to her name.
In 2011, Slemmer became the new owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Carlsbad. To this day, she says it’s still a challenging—yet rewarding—process, but that’s what makes being a franchisee with the brand so great—she’s never done learning.
“Every day I walk into the store, and I can’ t believe this is mine—that I’ve come this far. I’m right back where my dream started. If it wasn’t for Wild Birds Unlimited, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” Slemmer said. “Sometimes we get held back from going down our own path. I’m glad I didn’t listen when people told me it couldn’t be done. I determined my own happiness. And I found it with Wild Birds Unlimited.”
Wild Birds Unlimited
No. Of Units Currently Open:
$125,978 to $199,172 (Includes Franchise Fee)
$25,000 per location