Star City Six – Dave Titterington
Arnie’s Pet Food Store is a division of the award-winning Wild Bird Habitat Stores of Lincoln, founded in 1993. Dave Titterington is the owner of Wild Bird Habitat Stores and Arnie’s Pet Food Store.
Tell us a little about your business.
The Wild Bird Habitat Stores offer quality backyard bird feeding products along with providing five-star customer services. My wife Linda and I have dedicated our business to bird conservation, environmental education, and outdoor birding recreation. This is the same business plan we are using to build and brand Arnie’s Pet Food Store. We are committed to only offering top-rated U.S. sourced pet products, education about the products we offer, and a personal experience for our customers who shop with us.
How did you get started in the business?
In 1990, I spent a weekend camping out with my youngest daughter April and her Girl Scout Troop. We made bird feeders out of recycled pop bottles. Little did I know, this activity would lead me to opening a backyard bird feeding specialty business. In 2015, my other daughter Katie became the manager of the Wild Bird Habitat Stores. Her interest in the pet food industry led us to expand our south Lincoln location and open Arnie’s Pet Food Store.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
With no formal business training and very little capital, I relied solely on the idea that my enjoyment of feeding birds could fill a niche that I believed would benefit others. The pet food industry is a bit more challenging—competing against huge manufacturers with multimillion dollar advertising campaigns—but Arnie’s Pet Food Store is setting itself apart as a local and reliable source of quality and healthy pet products.
Tell us a little about your family.
I was a single parent raising three children when I started Wild Bird Habitat Stores, and now it’s a family-owned business that just celebrated 26 years. As I near retirement, my daughter Katie will carry the Wild Bird Habitat Stores and Arnie’s Pet Food Store forward for the next 25+ years.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Meeting Linda who shares the same passion for birds and pets as I do.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Watching or photographing birds, and taking our dog Ginger on walks.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I’m very proud of my father, a former railroad engineer. No one has ever run steam or diesel locomotives as “Wild Bill” Titterington has done.
Who inspires you?
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
After almost three decades of being a business owner, the words that ring true in my head are “Early to bed, early to rise; work hard, and advertise.”
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
A conservation biologist.
What local nonprofit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
The Pioneers Park Nature Center. I was on staff there for 12 years as a teacher/naturalist, educating and inspiring children and adults about nature.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, which reminded me of the way it was when I was a child growing up and the way things have become for children today.