“My name isn’t Jay. We don’t sell birds and we’re not in a barn,” said Eric Moore, joking about the reasons for the name change.
Moore owns The Lookout with his wife, Gay. He said the store has 11 workers, including his wife and himself. “We are family and knowledge-based, and emphasize customer service,” he said. His son, Jay, was working with the business when it opened 20 years ago, but is no longer involved.
“We get a ton of calls asking if we sell parrots,” Moore said. The Lookout does sell birdseed, birdhouses, bird books and bird baths, but not birds.
“Birdseed has been our bread and butter for 20 years,” Moore said about the store’s popularity. They have thousands of customers in their database, with many coming from all over the state.
Moore says the quality of their seed is what puts them on the map, as they make their own in Prescott through a partnership with Yavapai Exceptional Industries (YEI). It is habitat-specific, because one neighborhood in Prescott will attract different types of birds than another section of the city.
“We ask people where they live. The blends are the key to our success and the customers can see the difference,” he said.
The optics section is three times larger than the old store. The Lookout carries Vortex and Swarovski binoculars, spotting scopes and tripods. The Lookout is aptly named, as it has big windows with birdfeeders outside and a great view of Thumb Butte. Customers can try the binoculars and scopes out the window. “We have the nicest optics in Northern Arizona,” Moore said.
The Hallmark section has also been enlarged, offering cards and gifts for special occasions including anniversaries, weddings, newborns, new homes and retirement. The Lookout also has nature-based and faith-based gifts. “We are a one-stop destination for gifts,” he said.
Hallmark has a licensing agreement with Disney and Peanuts, so the Lookout also carries those gift items. The store also carries nature cards created by local artists. The book section covers a wide variety of topics, including hiking and geology. It also sells small, foldable Sibleys bird guidebooks that are easy to carry and list 73 backyard birds and 72 nature birds in the Prescott area.
After 20 years of renting, Moore said they decided to buy this new building. The new store is 7,300 square feet, compared to the old 3,000-square-foot store.
“We hire employees who know the subject matter,” he said. “We have thousands of dedicated customers because they know about our specialized knowledge. I also know all the customers by name because they’re also our friends.”
Moore’s interest in birds began when he was 5 years old. He earned a business degree and worked in the grocery business for 20 years before opening his family business. “It was our own invention and creation,” he said. “We didn’t buy a franchise. We built it from the ground up.” QCBN
By Stan Bindell, QCBN
The Lookout is on 1230 Willow Creek Road but cannot be accessed from Willow Creek Road. Customers must turn onto Black Drive to get to the driveway.
Photo by Stan Bindell: Owner Eric Moore says The Lookout’s is known for its knowledge about birds and careful blend of bird seed for specific locations.