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Onboarding Indiana Ch 3 – Work From Home Has New Meaning

Interesting to note is that when you run an Internet company, it will work from anywhere.


There are a host of reasons that we made this move aside from saving money on rent, utilities & taxes.


We are now poised to take on the World Wide Web in the pet bird supplies category from a historical landmark home built in 1928.


Ironically it suffered a fire about 12 years ago thus the entire interior was rebuilt with modern drywall, electrical and plumbing into a beautiful commercial space (zoned B2).


The upstairs has become our living space and as we expected not having to travel between home and a physical storefront instantly allowed us to be more proactive and productive.


Catherine and I now share 1400 ft.² of what was once an attic which is slowly becoming a remarkable place to inhabit.


Funny thing, although it’s only “upstairs” we both have this detachment when we’re on the ground level.


It’s two worlds, by design.


I may not come down for the day and she may not come up for a day and one of us may have made environmental modifications.

We moved sh*t, and always for the best. 


Note to self: “Put on pants before going down between 9 – 4


One small issue, living in a town with less than stellar water pressure is flushing toilets.


We have two bathrooms and each toilet uses a Flushmate 503 pressurized water tank which had been a challenge in the upstairs bathroom to dial in.


I finally gave up the repair as the cost of replacement parts was nearing the price of an entirely new unit (about $125 on Amazon)



I ordered a Model 3 to be delivered which ended the walk downstairs in the middle of the night (in a strange building) just to access a working toilet. 


Sheets Funeral home next door makes this house even more remarkable.


I now boast that we have three silver hearses in our garage and a basement (we share) filled with body bags on top of gurneys as well as a hefty inventory of coffins, cremation boxes, and coffin parts.


We are front and center on historic Lowell’s Main Street, (IN Rte 2) which is lined with antique and retail shops.


Avian Collectibles have been added to our retail bird supply offerings.


We now offer our customers free coffee, espresso, and toast.


Why toast?



We’re on the Keto diet and don’t eat bread.


During the move, Catherine recovered our five toasters stored in the garage.


Who wouldn’t want a toasted bagel with a schmear while shopping for their bird?


Speaking of shopping for parrot supplies I’d like to take a moment to further talk about Windy City Parrot V3.0.


There’s been a lot of upheaval in the pet industry recently.


We’ve noted the closure of Dr. Fosters and Smith who couldn’t survive on $300 million a year in sales.


Petland Discounts filed for Bankruptcy in NewYork state laying off more than 300 employees.


Chewy is about to file an IPO (Initial Public Offering on the stock exchange) because its owner PetSmart can’t afford to live on 8 billion dollars a year revenue in spite of paying cashiers $9.01 per hour.


So how do we survive in a land of retail giants?


Although any big box store sells supplies for pet birds, you’ll typically find about 500 square feet of retail space devoted to the avian niche (we’ve measured them all).


Our new space will be filled with 2000 square feet of everything for pet birds – 4 times more floor space than any Petsmart, Petco, Pet Supplies Plus or Petland store.


Many of these stores offer bulk bird food from dispensers.


We think bulk bird food is a terrible idea and explain why here.


Our selection of food and accessories for your pet bird is second to none.


We try to offer competitive pricing but sometimes the big box stores can make pricing very attractive.


They do this by “volume purchasing”.


Here’s the problem with that.


Every bag of bird food has a “best used by date” just like milk.


When a large corporation buys tens of thousands of pounds of bird food, who are watching for the “best used by date”?


The Amazon robots are not.


The product pickers at enormous distribution centers are not.


The reality is you don’t know the food that you are getting is going to be good for one month, six months or one year.


We hear complaints regularly about bird food purchases on eBay where the bird food is already out of date, the day it ships.


Windy City Parrot offers bird food that at the very least, has six months of shelflife.


Food that comes close to being out of date gets donated to rescues we work with.


You cannot call Amazon, Petco or PetSmart for advice.


Try walking into a big-box pet store and find somebody who can help you care or even knows what a noble macaw looks like.


Our move from Chicago (pop 3.6 million) to Lowell IN (pop 9700) will make us financially stronger and even more flexible strategically.


How do you know you’re in a small town?


When you go to your first meeting, in this case, the Lowell historical society to gain approval for signage on the historical building we’re now occupying and the chairman of this group starts the meeting by saying “let’s recite the pledge”.


There I stood hand on heart, with six other individuals facing an American flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance – for the first time I was at Soldier field for a bears game the year after they won the Superbowl.


Onboarding Indiana Ch 2 – The Devils In The Details

Onboarding Indiana, Ch 1 – Seeking Flex Space


100 Things I Won’t Miss About Chicago


  1. Alleys
  2. Bicycles
  3. Divvy stations
  4. “Gunshot or Fireworks?”
  5. State Income tax
  6. Chicago sales tax (10.25%)
  7. Cook county liquor tax
  8. Bottled water tax
  9. Plastic grocery bag tax (.07/ea)
  10. English as a 2nd language
  11. Traffic
  12. The Dan Ryan
  13. Litter
  14. Rats
  15. Neighbors
  16. Parking meters
  17. Looking for parking meters
  18. Parking
  19. The CTA
  20. Taxis
  21. Millennials
  22. Dogs with shoulder harnesses
  23. Red-light cameras
  24. Speed traps
  25. City stickers
  26. Zone parking passes
  27. Illinois Department of Revenue
  28. State of Illinois building
  29. Black gay female mayor with no experience about to run the 3rd largest city in the US
  30. Watching politicians going to prison
  31. The daily shooting of humans
  32. Potholes
  33. Western Ave
  34. Graffiti
  35. Stickers on everything
  36. Groups of millennials
  37. Chicago winters
  38. Currency exchanges
  39. Garbage and recycling trucks
  40. Panhandlers on every corner
  41. Rooftop parking over Mariano’s supermarkets
  42. Tiny gas stations
  43. The price of gas
  44. Tiny Menards
  45. Footsteps heard from neighbors on the second floor
  46. Shopping in the ghetto
  47. Chicago tree services
  48. Dog sh*t on sidewalks
  49. Speed bumps in alleys
  50. Speed bumps on streets
  51. Tiny Lowes
  52. No hardware stores
  53. Drive for 30 minutes to go 4 miles
  54. Looking out every window of the apartment only to see another apartment
  55. Feeling the need to lock car doors in certain areas of the city
  56. Safe passage zones
  57. Making friends with crossing guards
  58. Unintelligible rap music coming from teeth-rattling auto speakers
  59. Flags of foreign countries flying from car windows
  60. Flags of foreign countries flying from building windows
  61. Pigeons
  62. Joggers
  63. Downtown
  64. The miracle mile
  65. Skateboarders
  66. One way streets
  67. Traveling 6 blocks to actually move 2 blocks
  68. Motor scooters
  69. Towing companies
  70. 24-hour Subways
  71. The Bishop Ford
  72. The Jane Byrne interchange
  73. Tiny Walmarts 
  74. Grand Ave
  75. The closing of Meigs field
  76. Commercial neighbors
  77. Insurance rates
  78. Snow routes
  79. The auto impound 
  80. Window washers
  81. Abandoned bicycles
  82. Cash only restaurants
  83. Swedish Covenant hospital parking
  84. The left turn on Damen from Costco
  85. The new Elston Ave reroute
  86. Rainwater sewer backups
  87. Clyborn Ave
  88. Hearing sirens all the time
  89. Grammar school pickup time
  90. Restaurants with no parking lot
  91. Movie theaters with no marquis
  92. The newly remodeled Lincoln Park Target 
  93. The Kohl’s BestBuy parking lot
  94. North Ave and Halsted
  95. Channel 2,5,7 and 9 news teams
  96. Soldier Field
  97. Banks
  98. Guaranteed Rate Field
  99. No emission test stations
  100. Homey’s wearing pants around their ass


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Susan Suarez

    I enjoy the Birdie Brunch every Sunday and I learn everything I need to know (and more) about care for my cockatiels. Thanks for all you do! I buy all my bird treats from your website, even though I’m in California, because you have a good selection and I know you care. I try and support small business!

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