Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - 71

WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED
www.wbu.com / Headquarters: Carmel, Ind. / Employees: 42 / Jim Carpenter, founder
and CEO: "If you cannot create unity in the same direction, you cannot grow together."

For the Birds

Wild Birds Unlimited transformed its franchisees from owner-operators into
enterprise leaders better equipped to support store growth. BY TIM O'CONNOR

Wild Birds Unlimited Founder Jim Carpenter
(second from left) celebrates a franchisee
satisfaction award with his team.

Retail is a challenging industry for any company, but when environmental factors affect the bottom
line, it puts increased pressure on an
organization that must adapt. Climate change is one of those outside
factors impacting Wild Birds Unlimited, a franchise system for entrepreneurs who are also bird feeding and
nature enthusiasts. When the weather
gets cold, birds must eat more to stay
warm, driving up bird seed sales. As
the earth's warming trends continue,
those birds don't need to consume the

same amount of energy, and individual stores see the result on their balance
sheets. "It's just kind of an unknown
because we're really starting to notice it over the last five years that the
climate is starting to change and the
birds are changing with it," Jim Carpenter, Wild Birds Unlimited founder
and CEO, says. Focusing on broadening the customer base and bringing
the company's mission of "we bring
people and nature together" to more
customers has resulted in same-store
sales increases for the past five years.

Luckily, Carpenter and his team of 42
corporate employees have successfully transitioned Wild Birds Unlimited into an enterprise culture, better
able to adapt to market changes with
stronger support from the corporate
office than the mom-and-pop model
the company originally employed.

SMALL BEGINNINGS
Wild Birds Unlimited is an Indiana-based hobby store for backyard
bird feeding enthusiasts. The company sells bird seed and feeders,
SUMMER 2016

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Franchising Today - Summer 2016

Contents
Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - Cover1
Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - Cover2
Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - 1
Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - Contents
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