Flying Colors is a sponsored column on the hobby of backyard bird feeding written by Michael Zuiker, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Visit the store at 2437 N. Harrison Street or call 703-241-3988.
14,191,000. What makes up a minute? How do you fill up an hour? How does a day “fly” by? Where did the month go? Is another year gone?
Simple questions to wonder about when a “milestone of time” occurs. For us at Wild Birds Unlimited, that milestone is now!
For 27 years, WBU has been bringing people and nature together in an ever-changing landscape; mentally, emotionally and physically. For 27 years, our eyes have been looking out into our center. And boy, the things we have seen.
In the beginning, the center was failing. 20-40% vacancy was not uncommon. We worked endlessly to get people to discover our new, unique nature store dedicated to “wild birds” in the neighborhood yards.
On Sundays at 4 p.m. in the fall, the parking lot was 95% empty! A winning Washington football team, a failing grocery store and a failing discount pharmacy did not help this situation.
When they left, the center reinvented itself. One fifth of the center was removed and a new anchor grocery store opened up. A small coffee shop also opened up; Star… something or other.
More businesses came and more businesses went. Here is just a short list of what Wild Birds Unlimited has said goodbye to:
Super Fresh Grocery, Rite Aid, Foam Center, Seredipity, Dogma, TCBY Yogurt, McDonalds, Popeyes, Baskin-Robbins, Oriental Gourmet, cleaners, optometrist, another yogurt store, a dance studio, book store, children’s clothing store, florist, fabric store and there are a few others I am sure I have missed.
Yet, through it all, Wild Birds Unlimited has maintained its relationship with Arlington; but more importantly our friendships with our customers.
Businesses may come and go, but it is gut wrenching and heartbreaking to lose those friendships that we have developed all these years. When we started, many of our customers were in their 40’s through their 70’s. Twenty-seven years adds up and takes its toll. Those that have left us, have left us too soon and we miss them. They cannot be replaced.
Now, the Arlington demographics have evolved over the last 10-15 years to a much younger family nucleus. The blur of tiny bundles of energy in the form of four, five, six, seven-year old’s and higher have energized the center. Talk about energy! Wow.
That is part of the new makeup of the center that our bird store has seen. So, we adapt. Yet our mission is not different then is was when we opened.
We Bring People and Nature Together!
It does not matter if the person is 4 or 80, our goal is to educate them and help them enjoy the wild birds in their backyard.
So, after being open for 14,191,000 minutes, we have to have a party. This Saturday, September 29th, we will open our doors at 8 a.m. and be open for 12 hours to celebrate with all of you.
Take a look below and come on by and let us thank you. Whether you have been a customer for 27 years (and yes, they exist) or coming in for the first time. We are here to help you enjoy the beauty, peace and “JOY” of nature in Arlington.
Thank you, but I have to go now. The minutes are ticking!