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Business Profile: Wild Bird Warehouse

WBW is a wild bird lover’s paradise

Store has been at same location in Willmar for nearly 30 years


Craig Radel’s wild bird seed store in Willmar has a little bit of everything for the bird lover, whether it’s wild bird feed, bird feeders or bird houses. You can find it all at his place of business, the Wild Bird Warehouse, which is located at 1101 High Avenue NE in Willmar.  Their phone number is 320-235-9200. This spring is the 30th year Craig has been in the wild bird feeding business, and the 29th year for the current location. “We strive to be the most complete wild bird feeding store in the midwest with over 300 styles of bird feeders, houses, poles, baffles, hangers, and identification books in inventory. In fact, he said, they have over a dozen styles of feeders and houses made only for his store. They carry all of the necessary high quality ingredients for wild bird feeding along with their own long-time private label ‘Cardinal  & Chickadee and Premium Wild Bird’ mixes only found at his store. “Our specialty mixes, including Walters Mix, Cardinal Candy, Smorgasbird, and Finch Mix, are mixed on site to insure consistent, high quality products.” The bird seed is their main business, he said. “We buy in large quantities and we sell a lot of bird feed. We have different suet feeders, different platform feeders, and items we have found work very well for feeding with the types of seed products that we handle.” They also have commercial suet products along with their own super-high quality suet products that have their customers saying ‘Wow, the birds really like those.’ The suet is available in one and 4-1/2 pound blocks, and 6 pound cans with no filler. They have a ‘cold storage room’ which they built about 10 years ago. Craig said this room keeps the products cool and fresh in even the warmest summer days. “The shelf life on fresh products is somewhat limited, so for us to keep it cool, keeps it fresher for our customers.” With bulk seed available, Craig said, no quantity is too large or small. “This quality and pricing advantage over competitors has led to some of our customers traveling long distances to stock up on our products. Different things sell at different times, he said, noting they sell a lot of sunflower products that are hull-less. “We sell a lot of sunflower hearts, sunflower chips, a lot of our mixes too. Some people want something that doesn’t germinate, and hulled products don’t germinate.” Also, he said, their many years in this business give them access to some of the most knowledgeable folks in the industry. “Our broad customer base gives us a wide range of practical backyard feeding information.” Their e-mail newsletter keeps customers informed as to recent bird sightings, interesting and timely articles, new products, upcoming events and sales. You can send your e-mail address to them at wildbirdwarehouse@yahoo.com to be included. Wild Bird Warehouse is also the only wholesale outlet for Sawyer Art, which is chain saw carvings with custom carvings available that range from eagles, bears, sailors, gnomes to more. Craig does all the chain saw carvings and paints them as well. Craig was the one that came up with the name Sawyer Art (Saw-your-art). Wild Bird Warehouse is having a spring open house on Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and some very special guests will be on hand. WCCO’s Jim Gilbert will be at the store from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for a book signing. He will have copies of his recent issue ‘Minnesota’s Outdoor Wonders and Minnesota Nature Notes’ available on site. “That’s the perfect Mother’s Day gift,” said Craig. Also on hand will be Keith Radel, state director of the Bluebird Recovery Program. He will be there from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Keith has vast knowledge of Bluebirds, establishing Bluebird trails and other nesting birds such as Wood Ducks and Purple Martins.” Randy Frederickson, local bird identification expert, will also be available for anyone with bird identification and backyard birding questions. Wild Bird Warehouse really is a labor of love, said Craig. “It’s kind of like everybody’s hobby and that’s how it started out with us too and it’s grown from there. He has a shop near New London where he does the chain saw carving and builds some of the bird feeders. Of course he has bird feeders at his shop and his house in addition to the warehouse. “I’m probably my best customer,” he said with a smile. The staff of three…Craig, Sandy Williams and Jo Groen…have over 50 years of combined bird feeding experience. “Without our long time customers we wouldn’t be in business,” said Craig. “We really appreciate them.”

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