Kara Kennedy hopes to bring friends and neighbors closer with their counterparts in the animal kingdom in a retail store centered on sustainability, wildlife habitats, and education.
By Matt Skoufalos | May 4, 2023
As low-impact hobbies go, birding ranks fairly high on the list.
With a good pair of shoes, a field guide, and maybe some binoculars, you’re well on your way to appreciating the more than 400 species of birds that make their homes in the Delaware River watershed.
But if you want to roll out the red carpet in your own backyard for some fine, feathered friends, Collingswood resident Kara Kennedy has the materials to help.
Her brick-and-mortar retail shop, House Finch Suburban Nature Store, opens on Haddon Avenue next month.
It all started when Kennedy, a Texas native who grew up raising backyard hens, began experimenting with recipes for a suet-free feed mixture for the birds in her backyard.
The farther she went with it, the more Kennedy began to think about building her work into a business.
“I’m just somebody that loves the hobby,” she said. “I have a lot of knowledge. I want to see what it would be like to be a part of a community like Collingwood and be a part of a small business.”
Kennedy believes the concept is well-timed for a community of neighbors who have been reconnecting with the natural world more deeply since the onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“When you start paying attention to birds, you start paying attention to the trees they’re on, and the bugs they eat, and the water they’re drinking, and you start paying attention to the land and resources they’re cultivating,” she said.
“You realize there’s a whole ecosystem in your backyard.”
To that end, House Finch is intended for bird lovers and backyard habitat hobbyists who want to be better neighbors to their human and animal counterparts.
Kennedy hopes the selection of products it will offer can inspire people to form closer connections with the natural world around them.
For birding enthusiasts, the shop will retail feeders, baths, houses, and nesting materials; technology to help prevent birds from colliding into windows, and feed mixtures to keep away squirrels and rodents.
Specialty blends of birdseed, sourced directly from farmers, and developed for native birds in the Collingswood area, will be available for bulk purchase.
House Finch will also offer products to support pollinator gardens, bat and butterfly habitats, and nature-themed art and home décor. All packaging will be compostable, and customers are invited to bring their own reusable containers for bulk items.
Furthermore, the shop inventory will be offered at varying price points to facilitate nature enthusiasts of all kinds participating in the hobby.
“Access to nature is so important to everybody’s mental health and well-being,” Kennedy said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that anybody of any ability can interact with nature.”
House Finch Suburban Nature Store is located at 740 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood. The store is planning a June 2023 opening. For more information, visit housefinchnaturestore.com or call 856-202-7623.
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