Family Honors Memory Of Well-Loved Cretes With New Backyard Birdseed Business

By Kate Quesada

Most Florida wildlife lovers know that feeding birds in your backyard is not as easy as just buying a feeder and some seed. That’s where long-time Valrico resident and owner of Backyard Birdseed, Brian Bisesto can help.

Bisesto, who previously owned a construction company, started the business last year when the community lost Rich and Tanya Crete, owners of the popular Rich’s Backyard Birds, in a car accident.

“After years of being a customer of Rich’s and sharing birding stories, he and his wife were in a horrible car accident and are no longer with us,” said Bisesto. “The local birding community was devastated to say the least. We lost a huge part of our community and two of the nicest people you could ever meet.” When Crete’s sister closed the doors to Rich’s Backyard Birds, Bisesto approached her with an idea.

“I went to her to get her blessing to sell seed door to door in our local area,” said Bisesto. “She gave me her overwhelming approval, so that evening my wife and I ordered 1,200 pounds of seed and started Backyard Birdseed, LLC. After many deliveries, everyone asked when we were going to open the store. One thing led to another and I sold my construction company and leased the same location Rich had. The local birding community has been great and nothing but supportive.”

Bisesto, who runs the store with help from his wife Heather, a first grade teacher, is a sixth generation Floridian who grew up across the street from the new Wal-Mart store in Valrico. “When I was five years old, Mr. Willy used to cut my hair two doors down from our shop’s current location,” he added.

The store stocks bird and wildlife related items from books and garden decor to quality feeders for every back yard, in addition to many varieties of bird seed. Current deals include a special where if you buy 10 bags of seed you get the eleventh free and if you buy a feeder, you get two pounds of seed to get you started. “I think what brought me to owning the store is Rich’s smile,” said Bisesto. “As a business owner myself, when I asked Rich how business was, all he could do was smile ear to ear. That sight never left my mind and when the accident happened, I knew it was my job to keep the feeders full and begin smiling like Rich.”

Backyard Birdseed is located at 3642 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. and is open Monday-Friday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. For information, call 816-BIRD or visit www.backyardbirdseed.com.