In a neighborhood with as much history as Toluca Lake, it’s easy for Kim Everett, owner of The Perfect Parrot, to forget how big a milestone being in business for nearly 15 years is.
“It really doesn’t feel like we’ve been in business that long because this is such a crazily historic neighborhood,” she says. “Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and so many others have lived here, so it really puts into perspective how historic Toluca Lake is. The first thing I do when I have out-of-town guests is drive them by Bob Hope’s house.”
While The Perfect Parrot may still be in its infancy compared to some of the local relics that have stood the test of time, the birds-only store has become the community’s go-to place for parrots, cages, toys, grooming and boarding since opening its doors on Riverside Drive in January 2008.
“Not only do I love helping people find a bird companion, I especially love helping people take better care of the companions they already have,” Everett says. “Boarding is a big part of our business, and we also offer free grooming. It’s particularly gratifying when people come back and tell me how we’ve improved their birds’ lives.”
An animal lover all her life, Everett pursued her passion in 2003 when she left her career in the film casting industry during a long hiatus between jobs to work at a bird store in Hollywood.
“After a couple years, I realized that as much as I loved what I was doing with the birds, I could do it much differently and much better on my own,” she says. “When I was looking for a place to open my store, I knew I wanted to be in this area. I was so lucky to find it because there’s easy freeway access and a lot of parking.”
While Everett loves helping customers find the right parrot to take home, she says the store is less about selling birds and more about educating people about how to take care of their pets.
“I’ll see people feeding their parrots incorrectly, or I’ll have to explain to them that keeping their parrot in an old birdcage they found in their grandparent’s garage isn’t a good idea,” Everett says. “There are also not really any standard pet stores that people can go to for questions, so we tend to be the ones people come to if they find an injured squirrel or have an animal-related inquiry.”
Everett also works hard to educate those who may be misinformed about the birds in her store.
“These animals weren’t caught, captured or drugged, and they’re not living an awful life here,” she explains. “People may read something on the internet and think that all birds should fly around and be free. But what they don’t know is that these beautiful, colorful birds are easy prey for almost everything. It’s our job to take care of these creatures and find the right home for them.”
As someone who has weathered every storm that has come her way, including navigating her business through the COVID-19 pandemic, Everett credits her staff and loyal customers for being with her every step of the way.
“I have a fantastic staff, headed by our manager Diana Restrepo, who’s been with me for 12 years now,” she says. “We have a big customer base that stretches 50 miles in any direction, and the people in this area have been so wonderful. I’m also proud to be a female business owner in such a progressive community.”