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New store is for the birds

Wild Birds Unlimited offers everything birders need

It only took one visit to Wild Birds Unlimited and  Scott Cavallaro  was hooked.

“Being a birder, you’re used to going into your usual big-box stores and getting your feeder and seed and everything, and when I walked in the store and saw the quality that they had on hand, I was like this is really impressive,” he said. “And I was just immediately captivated by it, and I just kind of thought to myself this is the kind of business I want to own someday,”

That was six years ago in Winchester, Va. Today, the backyard birder has turned his ambition into a reality, opening  his own franchise of the retail chain in March.

Located in Suncrest Towne Center, the store offers eight varieties of seed and suet, as well as birding accessories, such as bird houses and baths.

“Each particular bag of seed is set up to attract a certain bird, a lot of them overlap.” Cavallaro said.

“You’ll get the same birds with this seed as that seed but it gives people a choice, and that’s something they’re not used to around here.”

He said the business’s patented pole system is his hottest-selling item.

“I can’t keep them in stock right how, they’re so popular,” he said. 

The poles interlock, so that buyers can customize the height of their system.

“There’s a lot of different attachments, and you just keep adding onto it,” Cavallaro said. “You can get four or five or six hooks on there and just hang your feeders in all different ways, and you can’t get that at any of the local stores.” 

He said that  seed cylinders  are another popular purchase, as each lasts for two or three weeks, so “you don’t have to go out and scoop seed every two or three days.” 

A backyard birder himself, Cavallaro  said he’s tried many of the products he carries.

“It does make a difference when you’re trying to sell the product to the customer, because you know firsthand how it worked for you. And you feel a lot better about sharing that experience.”

And if he hasn’t, it’s likely one of his customers has, and they’re encouraged to interact as they shop.

“Customers feel so well-known and taken care of, and they are always welcome, educated and assisted, not sold,” said Lisa Hammer, manager of franchise development at Wild Birds Unlimited, who worked closely with Cavallaro. “Our stores become a community hub of knowledge and education and sharing of information about nature and birds.”

She added that that is certainly the case here in Morgantown, the only Wild Birds Unlimited in the state. And it’s an inclusive environment Cavallaro  plans to continue to foster. He asks customers to bring in photos of the birds they attract, and eventually plans to set up a bulletin board to display them.

In the handful of weeks the Suncrest location has been open, Cavallaro said he’s seen about 470 customers walk through the door, including returning clientele.  

“It picks up, we see new people every day,” he said. “We’ve got repeat customers. That’s the true tell of the story is if you get repeat customers. That tells me that people are satisfied.”

LOCATION:  1074 Suncrest Towne Center Drive
PHONE: 304-241-4370 
 Mon-Sat: 10 a.m.-6p.m. 
 Sun: Noon - 5p.m.