Bird Shop Thinks Outside the Cage

When the economy started to affect the bottom line at Kookaburra Bird Shop, owner Michelle Beckley knew it was time to rethink her business plan.

Bird sales at the 30-year-old Carrollton store slowed, customers stopped buying toys, and her boarding business suffered because customers stopped traveling.

To stay afloat, she had to think outside the cage. Her mother started the bird shop in 1979, and Beckley wanted to keep it going.

"For me, it was trying to find another service that I could provide without spending a lot of money," Beckley said.

She converted an extra room into a "jungle room" for parties and used her pet cockatoo, Mel, and a macaw, Miranda, to entertain young guests. Mel plays basketball and roller skates; Miranda likes to pose for pictures.

The plan worked.

"It gets more people in here that may not have been in here before, and now Grandma might come by the party," Beckley said. "That's helped bring in new sales as well."

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