Jim and Joanna Walker recently opened Wild Birds Unlimited in the Denville Commons plaza on Route 10. We popped in recently to welcome them to Denville and get to know them and their new store. Here’s what Jim had to say:
What prompted you to open up Wild Birds?
About 3 years ago, I hit a wall in my corporate career (High Technology Sales) and with my family growing up (twins Grace & Nick – now 20 & Jessica – now 18), my wife, Joanna, and I came to the decision I needed to find a way out. I began researching franchises and came upon Wild Birds Unlimited, a franchise that caters to the backyard bird feeding hobby. I thought, really, there is an actual business that is specifically for a hobby that I, too, have been a part of and am excited about? The process the WBU has for educating me on their business model and mission combined with the professionalism and passion exhibited by the Franchise Support Team made it very easy for me to commit to moving forward. It was a perfect fit.
What made you choose Denville as the location for your new store?
Living in Mendham, we have only on occasion visited Denville and each experience was enjoyable. I have always heard great things about the community and the support downtown Denville gave to their local businesses. When I found space in the Denville Commons which met the franchise demographic requirements, the decision to open where I am became an easy one.
What do you most want people to know about you and your new store?
The mission of Wild Birds Unlimited is to “Connect people and nature together…and to do it with excellence.” We do this through not only offering excellent products and high quality bird seed, but we also aim to provide excellent customer service and knowledge about the bird feeding hobby. In addition, we strive to build excellent community partnerships with like-minded organizations, those that care about nature and about helping protect the earth. If we all can make our small piece of earth in our backyard safer for birds and healthier for nature, then perhaps we can say we are giving back
to the wonders that we have been afforded.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Meeting and engaging with real people again has been a breath of fresh air for me. Opening my store has allowed me to take off my corporate ‘blinders’ and has been amazingly re-energizing for me. My wife, Joanna, has said ‘I am back’ in both mind and body, and she couldn’t be happier for me.
What is your favorite meal in Denville?
Tough one…the omelets at Alexis Diner are excellent and the Veal Francese at Bensi’s is outstanding.