Friends of Nature to expand Slinger store


March 27, 2015

John Czinner of Jackson takes inventory at the Friends of Nature store on Thursday morning in Slinger.  
John Ehlke/Daily News

You could say Doug Wilde is “bullish” on business in Slinger.

Wilde, along with his wife Lynda, own Friends of Nature, a full-line animal supply and bird feed store. The business has become so successful in its 10 years of operation in Dove Plaza it had to move to a larger location, and now will expand into an additional building.

Friends of Nature is in the Slinger Center at 433 E. Washington St., but will lease more space from Norb Weyer at 437 E. Washington St., directly behind the store.

“We’re just running out of space and we want to try a few new things,” Wilde said. “We’re going to be doing some things different from what people are used to seeing around here.”

In order for his plan to move forward, Wilde needed the Village Plan Commission to approve a conditional use permit for his new location. He got that permission earlier this month.

“He needed the CUP because he is going to be warehousing a large amount of product, such as animal feed and pet supplies,” Village Planner Marty Marchek said. “He’s had a successful business already in the village and he wants to do something even bigger and better. He’s a great guy to deal with.”

Wilde said he knows there are customers who want to be able to buy feed and other supplies in large volumes.

“We’re going to sell pallet-size orders of the products,” Wilde said. “People want to buy in bulk sizes and in turn save money for buying so much at one time. With the new space right behind our present store, we can walk right out the back door to get there.”

Marchek said Wilde also plans to add self-checkout lines in the space.

“If they end up getting away from the self-checkout and just use it as a warehouse, that’s why they needed the CUP,” Marchek said. “If the use was completely warehouse, then state fire and building codes would need to be addressed.”

Wilde said he hopes to have the business ready open within four to six weeks.

“I’m going on vacation for a while soon, but I hope we can open sometime between May 1-15,” Wilde said. “We don’t need to do very much work on the new building to have it fit our needs, so that will speed up our opening. It was the former location for an archery story and a child care center.”

Wilde also owns similar stores in Cedarburg and Menomonee Falls.