To mark Small Business Saturday this week, Patch is focusing on some of our areas small busineses.
The Bird Feeder has been open for 19 years in the same location – the Home Depot Shopping Center at Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue. Roger Ritter, who owns the store with his wife Gail, talked recently to Reston Patch about his business’ durability.
RP: Nineteen years in Reston – you’ve been a constant in a town of change. Is this the only place you and your wife have owned a business?
RR: No. We actually started in Leesburg. That was 21 years ago. We only have the store here now but we still live outside of Leesburg.
RP: It’s probably not a stretch to say you must both be bird lovers.
RR: We are. That’s why we are doing this. We wanted to start a business based on one of our interests. This is a very natural fit.
RP: There are several other businesses serving bird enthusiasts in Fairfax County. What has kept your customers returning to you for so long?
RR: We’re not a franchise. We’re independent and we work hard at serving and keeping our customers. They know several things about us – we only sell products we would use. We want to sell products we feel good about, and for us that means spending a lot of time seeking the top quality. Often these are handmade products. I have to look hard for them but I find them. We also strive to buy products that are made in the United States. It can be difficult! I know that a lot of our customers appreciate these things. They tell us so.
RP: What is your favorite bird?
RR: I’m partial to birds of prey. We often see Cooper’s Hawks where we live. I admire their strength and agility.
RP: Has anyone else been in this center for as long as you have?
RR: No. When we came here (we met the developer in Leesburg) we were the first tenant to sign on for what was then the Hechinger Shopping Center. At the time this was the busiest intersection in Reston. I’m not sure that’s the case now but it’s been a wonderful location for us.