FAIRFIELD, Conn. — To paraphrase Tennyson, it’s nearly spring when a homeowner’s fancy turns to — the backyard.
Which is why it’s the perfect time for Chris Petherick and Sue Shunta to open their Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop, a new Black Rock Turnpike outpost for everything you need to make your feathered friends feel welcome.
“The whole backyard is what we’re after. Helping people enjoy it,” said Petherick, who held an official ribbon-cutting at the shop Friday.
The venture is a real leap of faith for the married couple. Originally from Milwaukee, Petherick was in investment management when he got the urge to switch gears.
He’s never run a retail shop, but he thinks his lifelong love of birding will help the storefront, near Trader Joe’s, thrive.
The pair researched a lot of potential franchise options before going with Wild Birds Unlimited. Once they decided on the business, they looked for the perfect location, agreeing to move to Fairfield last November.
The tidy shop offers fresh high-quality birdseed, bird feeders with a lifetime warranty and gifts and other nature-themed items. And they haven’t forgotten your other woodland pals. The shop carries squirrel feeders — if you can’t beat ‘em — and bat houses, as well as bird baths and hummingbird feeders and swings.
A flatscreen at the back of the store offers a view of a Cornell University bird-cam set up in Ithaca, N.Y.
“There is nothing better than starting the day by watching all the gorgeous birds — big and small — chowing down at your backyard bird feeder,” Petherick said. “It’s a few moments of zen before life takes over.”
First Selectman Michael Tetreau, Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart and Beverly Balaz, president of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, were all on hand at the ribbon-cutting.
It kicked off a grand opening weekend with raffles, a visit from the raptors of Horizon Wings Raptors Rehabilitation on Saturday from 1 to 2:30 p.m., freebies and more.
Now is the time to prepare for spring bird nesting and migrations, Shunta said.
“This is where you’re just itching to get to work on your yard,” she said.
Wild Birds is at 2246 Black Rock Turnpike. Visit the website for more information.