WBFI Member Spotlight - Randall Putz
Nature has been an integral part of Randall Putz's life, stemming from his upbringing in a nature-loving family in Santa Barbara, California. Putz's earliest memories involve dancing in the wind with his mom during Santa Ana wind conditions. However, it was the influence of his wife, Beth Wheat, that shifted his focus towards the Valley's wild bird population. Encouraged by Beth, who had a longstanding interest in wild bird feeding, Putz explored the idea further.
This conversation sparked the inception of Chirp Nature Center, a unique store that goes beyond being a bird seed supplier. Alongside feeders, houses, birdbaths, seeds, suet, and nectars, Chirp offers a diverse range of bird-related gifts, jewelry, books, educational toys, hiking and camping gear, home décor, and more. They actively engage the community through monthly bird walking tours, special events like bird talks, entertainment gatherings, and coffee tastings.
Randall and Beth expanded their venture by purchasing a building on Bonanza Trail, aiming to connect people to nature using wild birds as inspiration while maintaining a steadfast commitment to sustainability. This dedication to a holistic approach in their business model does not go unnoticed. Chirp Nature Center received the Best of Big Bear award from the local newspaper, the Big Bear Grizzly, and achieved the prestigious title of Best Small Wild Bird Retailer in the entire U.S. at the Wild Bird Expo in 2022.
Reflecting on his years in the industry, Randall Putz has witnessed notable changes and developments. With its diverse offerings, including feeders, houses, birdbaths, and more bird-related gifts, Chirp has become a comprehensive destination for nature enthusiasts. The industry has seen a surge in interest, particularly in 2020, with a heightened focus on outdoor activities, fostering the growth of businesses like Chirp.
The most significant WBFI member benefit for Randall has been the invaluable opportunity to connect with peers in the industry. “Whether it has been personally, politically, or professionally, I have always found the opportunity to connect with my peers invaluable. Our WBFI membership allows us to learn and network with like-minded people. These WBFI-enabled relationships with others in our industry have proven both inspiring and indispensable.”
Looking ahead, Putz envisions a future where the decline in the wild bird population is reversed, emphasizing the correlation between bird health with human well-being. As for Chirp Nature Center, Putz is excited about the endless possibilities, expressing a commitment to innovation and finding new ways to engage with customers and supporters to foster a stronger connection between people and nature.