Pet Age recently visited Bird Paradise in Burlington, New Jersey, to view the selection of food and products, as well as the birds themselves, plus to learn about the grooming and boarding services offered by store owner Jack Lance.
Q What is your store’s “Healthy Bird Program”?
A The majority of pet stores’ health guarantee is contingent upon taking a newly purchased bird to an avian vet within a stipulated time from taking the bird home. Bird Paradise does not discourage a customer going to their vet; however, we disease test our birds. This gives Bird Paradise and the customer peace of mind. It also saves the customer several hundred dollars in vet bills. We weigh each bird on the day it goes home and require the owner to bring the bird back within five days for a weight check. Our guarantee is contingent upon this reweigh and allows us to monitor the weight. In addition, we only board birds with test results. Allowing untested birds to board would negate the expense and effort we put into assuring healthy birds.
Q Why is it so important that the big birds sold at Bird Paradise are DNA tested and also tested for psittacosis, PBFD and polymavirus?
A Disease testing provides Bird Paradise and our customers with peace of mind that our birds are healthy and free from disease. All stores should follow suit. DNA testing is for the benefit of customers who prefer a male or female. In some cases, customers prefer a male to avoid the possibility of egg laying. And in some cases, customers appreciate knowing the sex of their bird in selecting a name.
Q Why do you carry 150 varieties of bulk food?
A The cornerstone of our bulk foods are our exclusive in-house custommade blends. They also yield the highest profit margin and are the key to the success of our business acumen. Once old enough for solid foods, every bird in our store is given the custom blend appropriate for their species. Every customer who purchases a new bird from us is sent home with that specific custom blend. Because not all customers are from our local area, we have in place an auto-ship program so they may continue purchasing our food on a regular basis. The ideal time to offer the auto-ship program is at time of purchase.
In addition to our custom blends, we offer 150 other varieties of food in order to meet the needs of all customers. We sell both prepackaged and bulk food. Bulk food allows customers to select as little or
as much as they want. Small sample cups are provided to encourage customers to try foods without making a commitment. Many times customers want suggestions as to what foods would be appropriate for their birds. The opportunity to purchase in bulk and/or try samples is an ideal marketing strategy.
Q You offer 6,000 parts for your build-your-own bird toys. How have your customers responded to this concept?
A We started in 2003 with 24 different parts, and as time went by, customer demand dictated our decision to grow the toy parts line, resulting in over 600 different parts. Customers enjoy making toys specifically for their own birds. It is cost effective, bird specific, fun to do and family-oriented. Our huge selection of toy parts includes wood, plastic, natural vines, leather, natural pods, finger traps, cork, bark, coconut shell, yucca, metal, sponges, pine cones, paper bagels, etc. As with our huge food selection, customers love variety and choice.