Communing with nature, the call of wild birds and the joy of observing wildlife in your own backyard is the appeal and enticement provided by Jay’s Bird Barn.
Jay's Bird Barn is a backyard wild bird store started by Eric Moore in 2003. Now located in the Safeway Shopping Centers of both Prescott and Sedona Arizona, Jay's Bird Barn is successful at "Bringing Wild Birds to Your Backyard"
Owners Eric and Gayla Moore are outdoor people with a great respect for wild creatures and especially the prolific array of wild birds in the mountains and valleys of Arizona. Moore’s journey with SCORE has covered more than a decade and provided insight and advice as his business expanded from a tiny 575 sq. ft. building at the Watters Garden Center in Prescott in 2003 to three locations in Prescott, Sedona and now Flagstaff.
The quality of the seed blends that Jay’s Bird Barn sells is a matter of pride for Moore and it was important for him to maintain this standard. His blends have been developed to provide optimum nourishment for area bird species. All blends are customized, using no filler ingredients. And, the blends are mixed locally by Yavapai Exceptional Industries (YEI), a non-profit organization that works with disabled individuals. Therefore, Jay’s supports this local endeavor and through his clients, they also provide support for YEI.
In 2010, Moore expanded his operation to Sedona and mirrored the success he had in Prescott by again locating in the Sedona Safeway Shopping Center. It then became necessary to hire a manager and four employees. However, he underestimated the growth potential and in a short time had to relocate the store to another, larger space in the same Safeway Center “In this decision, we didn’t anticipate the growth,” Moore stated. “So, in two years we had to move and that required another buildout, moving equipment and all the accompanying expense. I would encourage anyone thinking of going into business to think big.”
But, with all this success, there are situations that arise. In November of 2013 Jay’s experienced a fire. A glass sphere hanging in the display window directed intense sunlight to flammable goods igniting the material. Again Van Bourgondien stepped in to provide support in the transition to an empty space while the damaged location was undergoing repairs. Jay’s actually opened the next morning after the fire in the new location. Then, if the fire weren’t enough of a disruption, three weeks later, still in the temporary space, a car ran into the front of the business. Moore spent the night on the floor in the store and, amazingly, opened for business the next morning.
Last October 2015, Moore was attending a Wild Bird trade show in Mexico, Missouri where he received the award of Retailer of the Year. Three months later in January of this year, Jay’s was voted Best Locally Owned Healthy Business by the Prescott Chamber of Commerce. “These were great honors,” exclaimed Moore, “for our family business.”
Now, building on his success, Moore has opened another store in the Sprouts Shopping Center in Flagstaff. He has also added a Hallmark Gold Crown Store that is expanding his market reach.
“SCORE has provided ongoing support over the years and several of the SCORE counselors are also my customers,” declared Moore, “and the support from SCORE has been ongoing on an informal basis and then on a structured basis when I needed more formalized assistance. So, even though I didn’t always have a need for specific direction, I still had casual but consistence guidance. And, when I needed more assistance, SCORE has been there.”
How Moore learned about SCORE was through the articles in the Prescott Daily Courier. His first mentor was Ed Dragala. Moore had a previous business background and felt he didn’t need a great deal of handholding, but wanted someone with business expertise with whom to bounce ideas. This was effective for the planning involved in relocating from Watters to his current Willow Creek location in January 2006. Up until 2007 Jay’s was a totally family-run business, but the business began to grow and it then became necessary to hire employees.
Things were going along smoothly until there were drought and fires around 2009 that reduced the millet crop by about 80 percent. This greatly affected seed prices, especially for the millet, which is one of the primary seeds used for the blends that Jay’s developed for the local bird populations. That was when Joe Van Bourgondien stepped in to provide counseling as Dragala had relocated to Phoenix. Van Bourgondien worked with Moore, calming him and helping him to realize that, even with the extraordinary price increases, he needed to have confidence in his customer’s loyalty. Moreover, Van Bourgondien assisted Moore in creating effective pricing strategies that would allow him to maintain profitability on commodity products and still keep prices competitive.
With the addition of a third location, and due to the recently passed wage laws, Moore reached out again to SCORE. In stepped Tom Roegge, SCORE counselor since 2006. Although all Moore’s employees are paid well above minimum wage, Moore consulted with Roegge to address how this law affects the three salaried managers for his Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff locations.