After 17 years at the Puyallup Farmer’s Market, Jack Eide has spread love far and wide with his creations. Jack’s birdhouses are built strong with cedar and adorned with birch wood, rocks, glass, gems, tiles and many other dazzling materials. Whether placed in the branches of an ancient cedar or on the porch, Jack’s Unique Birdhouses are the perfect home for any feathered friend.
Starting in about 1997, the Puyallup man began making birdhouses. The initial design was a simple, undecorated house. Jack explains “I made one for a friend, all cedar, and after a year the squirrels chewed the hole out! He joked: ‘You should make those birdhouses out of stone!’ That was the start of what I do now by decorating the birdhouses with river rock and antique mosaics, among other things.”
The materials are collected by Jack and his girlfriend Penny from their backyard and all over Washington State. The unique materials and artistic designs provide the perfect hideaway for birds of all kinds.
The aspect of the business that is closest to Jack’s heart is the connection he has formed with his son, Connor. “The coolest part of my whole business was sharing the experience with my son,” he says. “When Connor was young, starting at about three or four, when we set up our booth he always had a section that he called ‘Connor’s Corner’ where he displayed his own birdhouses that he decorated. He did very well, everyone wanted birdhouses from him.”
Over the many years since then, the birdhouses have been something Jack and his son have bonded over and grown with as father and son. Jack’s birdhouse business wouldn’t be complete without the help of his girlfriend, Penny. Jack says, “I love everything to do with my business, from beachcombing for stones to finding cool items to decorate with. My girlfriend Penny does the hardest part, though. She does all the scheduling and application process for all the shows that we do.” In all, it’s a family business.
Jack has always put his all into his work, shown with his dedication of 40 years at Safeway. When he was 15 years old, his father gave him the okay to start working. In those years at Safeway, Jack continued his birdhouse business and even found opportunities to incorporate it into ways to give back to the community. For example, Jack put on many raffles at the store to raise money for causes like breast cancer awareness, using his birdhouses as the raffle prize.
“From the beginning we’ve always donated to different charities, or just because we felt it was the right thing to do,” he explains. A fine example of Jack and his son’s caring contributions to the community is when the family of an army soldier came by their stand at the Puyallup Farmer’s Market. Jack tells a story of how “the mom was emotional as she talked about him. Connor overheard the conversation and came over a gave her one of our birdhouses that had a ‘support our troops’ logo on it. There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere and the next summer her son, the soldier, showed up at the market in full uniform to say thank you. He explained to Connor how thankful he was for such a cool gesture and he said he thought no one cared. We have many stories like this, and it’s the best part of what we do.”
In addition to the Puyallup Farmer’s Market, Jack’s birdhouses can be found at Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Sequim Lavender Festival, Tacoma Dome Holiday Food and Gift Festival and many more events across Washington State year round. Jack is always open to creating custom orders and even has birdhouse decorating parties for birthdays, retirement homes and classrooms. You can also decorate your own birdhouse at Jack’s stand at the Puyallup Farmer’s Market Mother’s Day weekend throughout the end of the market season.
Jack has won many awards for his craftsmanship, including “Best in Show” at the Edmonds Art Festival, “Best in Show” for garden art at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and “Most Avant-Garde” at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
No matter where in Washington Jack puts up his stand, he is met with a familiar happiness. “I like doing shows where people have never seen my product before, love the look when they see the birdhouses for the first time,” says Jack. “I take a lot of pride in what I do and every time I sell a birdhouse or feeder to someone it’s like a pat on the back and that never gets old.”
If you’re in the Puyallup area on a Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., make sure to stop by Jack Eide’s booth at the farmer’s market to check out his truly unique birdhouses.