Nature Niche, a nature gift and supply store based in Midland, MI, won Best New Birding Store at the Annual Wild Bird Expo on Wednesday, October 12th, 2022, in Mexico, MO. Hosted by family-owned Gold Crest Distributing, one of America’s largest backyard nature and décor suppliers, the 2022 Wild Bird Expo attracted buyers from over 300 retail locations from 34 states and Canada to browse booths and displays presented by nearly 100 different attending vendors and shop the Gold Crest Distributing warehouse. Retailers attended seminars, panel discussions, and sharing events, as well as the much-anticipated Top Retailer Awards, which celebrate retailers who are excelling in their particular niche.
Winners of this year’s awards included:
Thanks to the many talents of weekday store clerk, Jodi Alvord, Nature Niche’s shared Attracting Birds for Fall Display was also voted Best Display by their peers during the Expo’s Share Night and Top Retailer Awards Event. Not a bad showing for this fledgling business!
Founded by Martha Holzheuer in early 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Nature Niche initiated countrywide online sales in March and opened its retail storefront to the public in May under Michigan’s garden store exemption with a Trees for Bees, Birds, and Butterflies native plant sale event. What a time to start a business!
The 1000-square foot retail store is a unique, fun, and friendly place to shop. Featuring wild bird feeders, houses, and seed; pollinator and other wildlife habitats; environmental education materials; and nature-themed gifts and décor with an emphasis on regional makers, Nature Niche also retails their own original metal art designs. Each piece is proudly plasma-cut and powder coated in-house. To meet the critical need for native vegetation for small, residential-scale landscape projects, Nature Niche also procures Michigan and Great Lakes Region native genotype plants from Michigan's largest native plant nursery, Wildtype, and hosts three native plant sales per growing season.
Martha is pleased to leverage her 15 years of experience in environmental consulting, landscape architecture, and ecological restoration and the knowledge of her caring staff to help customers be better environmental stewards and connect with nature. Among other contributions to her community, Martha hosts in-store workshops, advertises locally, sponsors the wildlife viewing area at Chippewa Nature Center, and donates to local schools and other non-profit organizations. She also hosts “Mondays with Martha,” a weekly YouTube series dedicated to environmental education. Her store mission is to help customers “Know, Understand, and Steward” the environment we all share and enjoy their own backyard wildlife habitats.