by David King
Feathered Follies™ has moved to 1460 Washington Blvd. off Clayton Rd. They are a small business Concord lost to the restrictive county Health orders. Revived, it is back on life support thanks to the community and a brave employee/new owner, Mercedes Kemp.
Feathered Follies is the foremost authority on exotic birds in the East Bay. It is devoted to the well-being of captive birds through nutrition and environment and offers limited services and supplies such as, toys, care instruction, special orders, and grooming.
Boarding (babysitting birds when people go on vacation) was nearly 50% of its income which disappeared overnight as COVID-19 caused all plans to be cancelled when the world shut down.
A Go-fund-me account was able to mitigate that initial blow for a couple of months, thanks to the community. However, former owner, Lisa Myers could not continue to pay the two years remaining on her lease at her Arnold Industrial location. The landlord offered no grace period and terminated the lease.
Myers was defeated and Feathered Follies closed. She tried to sell the business giving any interested party two weeks to reach out and make a deal. No one came forward. Realizing that the only hub of aviculture in the area was closing, customers literally cried, people panicked, staff was frightened about losing their jobs.
“It was terrible to watch, and I knew I had the ability to put the fear to an end,” Mercedes said. “I knew the ins and outs of the business, and that Feathered Follies was important enough to survive so long as someone was willing to put in the work.”
Mercedes stepped up. “I have student debt and no savings, so everything that has happened has been on sheer faith in the mission. I have no room for failure, and neither does the cause.”
The Go-fund-me account is still active to help with the transition. “Honestly, I would not have been able to get this far without it.”
After months of being completely closed, Mercedes was able to find a temporary location where they can groom and provide help and products again. The new location is far too small (350 sq. ft) to do all their business.
“I have a place lined up, on Pacheco Blvd outside of downtown Martinez (~3,000 sq ft) which has been completely renovated,” she says. They are now waiting on the permits from Contra Costa County. “When that happens, I will be able to reopen a lovely facility that will usher in a new phase of Feathered Follies. We will have a new foundation in science that none of the past owners have had. We will help not only our local bird-lovers, but aviculturists around the world.
If you like to help with Feathered Follies’ survival, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-feathered-follies. We wish them success.