Anne Theiss and Sandy Blake announced last week that after more than two years on the Vashon business scene, Wings Birdseed Company would shutter its doors.
The shop owners, in an interview last week, said they were disappointed but trying to stay positive as they made plans to mark down items in the store and close it shortly before Christmas. They emphasized that they wanted to thank the customers who have supported the small shop since 2010.
“Our client base has been wonderful,” Theiss said. “The birding community is a wonderful community.”
It’s also a small community, the women noted, and the specialized shop — selling high-quality birdseed, tools for birding and nature-related art — has had trouble attracting enough customers to stay ahead.
“There just weren’t enough of them,” Blake said.
The shop also served espresso, hosted artists for Vashon’s monthly gallery cruise and supported the fourth-grade birding program. The women had hoped to stick it out longer, working to build on their small but loyal customer base, but when Blake recently announced she would move off the Island, Theiss knew she couldn’t go it alone.
Randy Smith of the Vashon-Maury Island Audubon Society said Vashon’s birding community would be sad to see the shop close. He’s even toyed with the idea of trying to help the shop stay open. On Saturday he put an email out to Audobon club members asking if anyone might consider working at the shop on a volunteer basis. On Monday he said he was still waiting to see if he got any responses.
“It’s the only nature store of its type,” he said. “We all have appreciated having Wings … and a number people I’ve talked to have said ‘Gee, it’s a shame Anne and Sandy have had to step aside.’”