Jim Carpenter was raised in southern Indiana. During his childhood he discovered his fondness for the natural world, especially while visiting his grandparents’ home in the country, where his grandmother introduced him to hummingbirds, shrikes, mockingbirds and other interesting birds and wild things.
After earning a B.A. in Biology from Indiana University (1975) and an M.A. in Horticulture/Plant Physiology from Purdue University (1979), Jim managed two Indianapolis-area garden centers and a produce stand, which was where he first learned the basics of the retail trade.
In 1981, Jim opened a 700 square foot retail shop on the north side of Indianapolis and named it Wild Birds Unlimited. This unique shop, one of the few open in North America at the time, specialized in all of the supplies that help people attract and enjoy birds in their backyard.
Today, Jim is president of the Wild Birds Unlimited franchise of more than 300 stores in the United States and Canada. He has served on or is currently a member of the boards of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Indiana Nature Conservancy.
Jim lives in Indiana with his wife Nancy.