Wild Birds Unlimited is having a pretty big year so far. In 2016, the brand has opened 16 new franchises, armed with another 13 signed agreements with franchisees. They hit the important 300-store milestone. And they’re on pace to meet—or exceed—their goal of adding 20 new locations to its system by the end of the year. All told, Wild Birds Unlimited has experienced an impressive double digit increase in franchise development activity this year.
But Wild Birds Unlimited isn’t a brand to rest on its laurels. In fact, they’re using this impressive momentum to continue growing in untapped territories throughout the country—including Roanoke, Virginia.
“North America’s passion for birds and nature has presented our brand with the phenomenal opportunity to strengthen our market share across the country,” said Paul Pickett, the chief development officer at Wild Birds Unlimited. “We are constantly reinventing ourselves and implementing new initiatives so that our franchise owners have the necessary tools to deliver exceptional service to their customers. Now, we’re eager to bring that same passion for what we do to Roanoke—a city filled with so much untapped potential.”
According to Pickett, Wild Birds Unlimited sees a lot of potential in Roanoke thanks to its demographics. With a population of nearly 97,000, the city boasts solid income levels. It also serves as the regional shopping hub for the entire county, making it an important business center for both consumers and entrepreneurs.
Roanoke’s bird-friendly habitat makes it an important market for Wild Birds Unlimited, too. When the brand investigates new territories to develop in, they work with their own chief naturalist to review local data on bird feeding activity. Wild Birds Unlimited also utilizes eBird—a real-time, online checklist program that has changed the way the birding community reports and accesses information about birds—to learn more about a region’s bird watching behaviors. Ultimately, this gives the brand a better overview and understanding of bird distribution in any given territory.
“By using a program like eBird, we’re able evaluate each and every market prior to making any business decisions. This shows us if it’s a good, solid market for our concept,” Pickett said. “We want to make sure that our very end ‘customer,’—the birds that eat our bird seed—are present in strong numbers. We were pleased with the data that we pulled in Roanoke.”
Roanoke, a city nestled in green mountainous terrain, is teeming with opportunities for birding and wildlife viewing, making it a popular destination for ornithologists. From red-tailed hawks and bald eagles to northern mockingbirds and hooded warblers, Roanoke has become a haven for bird-watching enthusiasts.
“Roanoke is a vibrant city filled with people who have a deep passion for the outdoors. Backed by a strong brand presence throughout Virginia, our expansion into Roanoke will enable us to reach a new customer base and supply nature aficionados with all the bird feeding and hobby supplies they need,” Pickett said.