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Aug. 12, 2022

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Working in Clark County: Todd Kapral, Backyard Bird Shop owner

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
3 Photos
Todd Kapral owns Backyard Bird Shop in Vancouver.
Todd Kapral owns Backyard Bird Shop in Vancouver. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Todd Kapral has a lot going on at the Backyard Bird Shop. He’s filled the store with bird seed and colorful merchandise, for sure. But beyond that, he helps the folks who walk into the store to connect with nature. “We do both education and retail, along with classes and bird walks, helping people decipher what’s going on in their yards. There are a lot of little brown birds out there!” he says. “Seeing wildlife in your yard is something everyone can look forward to. We try to help them do that.”

Name: Todd Kapral

Residence neighborhood: Sunset Ridge in Washougal

Business name: Backyard Bird Shop, 8101 N.E. Parkway Drive, Vancouver, 360-253-5771, www.BackyardBirdShop.com

Age: 47

Educational/professional background: Fort Vancouver High School/Clark College. Retail store management/wholesale manufacturing.

How — and when — you got started in your business: I came to work for Backyard Bird Shop in 1995. I was approached by the owner and founder of our stores (there are four in Oregon and just the Vancouver store in Washington), who was and is a family friend. At the time, I was working for a large retailer in sales and I was looking to do more at my job. Shifting from a large retailer to a smaller, locally owned family business, I have been able to learn and participate in other business aspects like buying, merchandising, new store build-outs and, since July, being an owner and business partner. I also like working with my hands and this has allowed me to do that.

Personal/business philosophy: Take care of the people first and the business will follow. We have great staff and wonderful customers, and it is important that they feel recognized and appreciated. Having and maintaining a positive culture in the store is very important.

Most rewarding part of job: Talking with customers about the birds and wildlife in their yard. Seeing people get excited about “their birds” in their yard, and being a part of that personal connection stands out the most. I hear comments from customers all the time about what’s going on in their yards and what birds they have seen lately. I like problem-solving and being able to answer questions people have. I also like seeing the people I work with shine at their jobs.

WORKING IN CLARK COUNTY Working in Clark County, a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Lyndsey Hewitt: lyndsey.hewitt@columbian.com; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

Most challenging part of job: Juggling all the behind-the-scenes things that need to happen to make a business run while still allowing myself some down time. Keeping the store stocked, looking fresh and running smoothly takes constant effort and vigilance. It can be easy to let work follow you in some form or another wherever you go. I am fortunate to be surrounded by great people who help immensely.

One thing you’d like people to know about your work: Being mindful of our environment and natural areas is a big part of what we do. We support lots of talented local artisans and U.S. suppliers, many of whom use reclaimed or recycled materials to make a wide range of unique feeders, houses and nature-related gifts that our customers might not find at the big-box stores or online.

Best feature of my community: All the opportunities for outdoor recreation we have without having to travel very far. From city parks to tree-lined streets, to Ridgefield or Steigerwald national wildlife refuges, Vancouver Lake or the many nature trails throughout the county, it’s a great place to be outside.

What would make your community a better place: I would like to see more small businesses pop up and revitalization efforts continue while maintaining our natural areas.

Your favorite travel destination and type: My latest favorite place to go is Camp Sherman on the Metolius River in central Oregon.

Favorite restaurant/pub/coffee shop/store: Twilight Pizza and Beacock Music in Clark County and Rockler Woodworking in Beaverton, Ore.

Hobbies: Playing guitar and piano, birding, woodworking.

Most enjoyable book/play/movie/arts event in past 12 months: I really like the “Game of Thrones” series and the Recycled Arts Festival in Esther Short Park.

Something you’d like to do this year/within five years: This year, I would like to be more comfortable with my new work responsibilities, and in five years, be able to buy some property to eventually build a house and retire there.

One word to describe yourself: Persistent.

Person you’d most like to meet: James Taylor. I like playing his music on guitar and he seems like a down-to-earth kind of guy.

Columbian staff writer

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