When Keith Brennan opened For the Birds in 2006, he started small. True to its name, the store offered bird seed, bird houses and bird feeders for wild birds. It didn't take long before a few more items started creeping into the inventory.
"My background is in education, so I started bringing in children's books and gifts: things that I thought would bring enjoyment to families and children," notes Brennan.
Today, the storefront on Broadway Avenue offers a little something for everyone. From animal lovers, to gardeners, to families, to those looking for the perfect gift, shoppers who need a unique item for their own homes or to give to others can find it here.
Brennan likes to source his inventory from local craftsmen and keeps the focus on American-made goods. He finds that this approach ensures that the items he offers are made with high quality ingredients and care.
His personal care section offers lotions and soaps, with an emphasis on all natural, no-chemical ingredients and companies that do not test on animals. Candles made in Iowa and Chicago support small business owners in the Midwest.
There are plenty of items for the kids. The store carries the popular Bears for Humanity line, a line of organic, fair trade stuffed animals that are made in the U.S. With each purchase of a Bears for Humanity toy, another is donated to a child in need. A wide range of children's book titles, puzzles, and infant items makes For the Birds a local stop for a special gift for the little ones in your life.
For adults, paper goods and greeting card lines are carefully chosen to be something different than what you can find at a big box store. Finely-crafted tiles from Motawi and Scott Weaver are one-of-a-kind gifts that celebrate the long-standing creative efforts of the region.
Animals are always near and dear to Brennan. The store stocks a wide variety of food, feeders and supplies for wild birds He also carries NutriSource dog and cat food, which is made in Minnesota and free from wheat, corn and soy. Brennan says that NutriSource exhibits the quality he aims to find in all of his inventory. "They have been in business over forty years and have never had a recall."
No matter the season, For the Birds offers something for the yard-proud. From bird baths to garden flags, there are plenty of items suitable for suburban yards and large gardens alike.
In this day of on-line shopping, For the Birds offers something that can't be found on the internet: a proprietor who is part of the community. From his choice of inventory to his strong ties to the near western suburbs, Brennan brings a big heart to his small town store. Interacting with his customers and offering something to please customers young and old is the key to his success.
He notes, "I believe in our products and choose items so that anyone can come in and find something to make them happy."
For the Birds is located at 9207 Broadway Avenue in Brookfield and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, stop by the store, call 708.485.5711 or visit www.shopforthebirds.com