Jim Carpenter

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Jim Carpenter
Founder, President & CEO of Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc.

Jim Carpenter was raised in southern Indiana. His fondness for nature was cultivated during trips to his grandparents’ country home, where his grandmother introduced him to hummingbirds, shrikes, mockingbirds and other interesting birds and wild things.

After earning a B.A. in Biology from Indiana University (1975) and a Masters Degree in Horticulture/Plant Physiology from Purdue University (1978), Jim learned the basics of the retail while managing two Indianapolis-area garden centers and a produce stand.

In 1981, Jim opened a 700 square foot retail shop on the north side of Indianapolis and named it Wild Birds Unlimited. This unique shop, one of the few in North America at the time, specialized in providing people with the necessary supplies and information for attracting and feeding the birds in their backyard.

Jim married Nancy Roush in 1983 and together they built the company. Nancy worked on the marketing pieces, doing most of the line art drawings used in the monthly BirdTracks newsletter. Nancy stepped back in 1995 to focus on raising their two daughters. Jim also took on a business partner, Dick Schinkel, to start Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. and sell and support Wild Birds Unlimited franchise stores. Jim became 100% owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. in 1989 when he purchased  Schinkel’s shares of the company. The 100th store opened in 1992 and the 200th store opened in 1996.

As CEO, Jim is responsible for guiding the franchise and retail stores to deliver an inspiring customer experience with expert advice and top quality products that effectively help customers enjoy the birds and nature in their backyards. Jim is intensely involved in the hobby and has originated many beautiful and effective designs for bird feeders, houses and pole systems. He has also developed many high-quality bird foods, including bird seed blends and Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter, a food that has attracted more than 100 different species of birds.

Outside of work and spending time with family, Jim enjoys bird feeding, bird watching and nature photography. Jim and Nancy often travel together and spend a lot of time at their new home in the foothills of Northern Colorado.

Jim Carpenter has received recognition from many organizations including:

Ernst & Young / Inc. Magazine / Merrill Lynch / PSI Energy Entrepreneur of the Year
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

The Corporate Wildlife Stewardship Award

Indianapolis Business Journal  The Enterprise Award
Purdue University Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award
Indiana Governor O’Bannon

Sagamore of the Wabash

Jim was recently featured in Success magazine (December 2009) and was the cover feature story for Smart Business Indianapolis (September 2008)
Jim is currently on the following Boards:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY.
Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, NY

Wild Birds Unlimited has its own conservation fund, “Pathways to Nature”, that has funded wildlife viewing and education projects at 24 wildlife refuges and is currently providing scholarships for kids to attend Audubon Summer Camps.(www.wbu.com/pathwaysforkids)

2 Responses to “Jim Carpenter”

  1. Karen Holm says:

    On behalf of my children & myself, thank you for all you’ve done. I would like to suggest an idea for a WBU product (not a feeder). How/Where can I do that?

    -thx, karen

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