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Wild Birds Unlimited is celebrating 40 years of business. On Jan. 28, 1981, Jim Carpenter, an unemployed nature enthusiast, combined his retail experience with his passion for backyard bird feeding to open the first Wild Birds Unlimited store in Indianapolis. There are now more than 345 locally-owned and operated Wild Birds Unlimited franchise locations throughout North America, each dedicated to bringing people and nature together, officials said in a statement.

“Everyone questioned my idea,” said Carpenter, founder, president and CEO of Wild Birds Unlimited. “And though I didn’t realize the full-potential of the business at the time, I saw a niche for a hobby store and a great way to be my own boss and do something I loved.”

The company has seen a soaring interest in the hobby of backyard bird feeding, according to officials. People are spending more time at home these days and with that comes time to look out the window and notice the natural world, officials said.

“Bird feeding is an easy, inexpensive hobby that everyone can enjoy in their own yard,” Carpenter said. “Our goal is, and always has been, to provide the best possible products with the best local advice to help people attract the kind of birds they want to their yard.”

Wild Birds Unlimited also has a podcast called Nature Centered. Episodes can be found here.

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