Birding Retail Advice From The “Bird Man”

Gold Crest Distributing is a family-run business serving independent retailers, and President Mel Toellner (aka Bird Man Mel) is enthusiastic about his support of the birding category.

So enthusiastic, in fact, that his company originated the concept of marketing products by specific species, and even trademarked the words Specific Bird Selling in 2007.

He says in order to make the birding category a strong component of your retail business, you have to incorporate the following:

  • Handouts at the point of purchase with tips on how to attract that specific species. “These are valued by consumers and helpful to employees making recommendations,” he says.
  • Displays on wheels to constantly change the look of your birding department and always have the “timely bird or subject” in the highest traffic area. For example, hummingbirds begin to return to the U.S. when the weather warms up, so they should be front and center now in many places.
  • Mix gifts with “functional” birding items. “We’ve seen huge benefits from mixing in gift items with functional,” Toellner says. “We expected to sell additional gift items when doing this (i.e. a garden flag with Mad Bluebird on it along with a bluebird house). What we did not expect, which also happened, is we get a big increase in functional items when gifts are displayed nearby.”
  • Several appropriate books in the specific species displays.

For feeding tips from Toellner, visit, and to find out more about his company, visit


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