I am looking at a property tomorrow that has a building that was previously a tack shop. It got the wheels in my head spinning about possibly re-opening it. The area the property is in is Foxhunting country and the store previously sold custom western saddles so since this particular area only has a few shops, I am just wondering if it would be a big hassle opening an English based tack shop.
I think the area needs it and since we would also be living on the property, a lot of things could be written off as tax expenses. My thoughts about it being at home is that if it doesn't work, it wouldn't be as big of a loss as it would be if it failed at another location.
So I was hoping that someone on COTH would let me ask a bizillion questions about owning a tack shop. I have a lot and would like some first hand real experience. I've managed and operated lots of businesses so it's not like I don't know what I'd be getting into.
I don't own a tack shop but since you mention you'll be living there:
Might want to think about setting up pretty clear boundaries about business hours.
There's a guy who owns a tack shop near me and also he and his wife live on the property and he's told me point blank that I can come by any time as long as I call them first and ensure someone's there. Which I did think was really great of them.
They've also got one of those sensors at the top of their driveway that let them know when people are driving in.
There is a small tack shop nearby that is on the farm owners property. They are open 10-6 except Sun-Mon. If you call them outside of hours- they will meet you in shop if they are home. It's really great bc if you find your horse cut himself when you get home from work- you can run over and get supplies (if you're not stocked up).
I'd look into what tack shops are nearby (within an hour), what they sell, who their market is- and try to diversify or offer daily things that people will "swing in" for. Dover is 45m from me and I go to the local tack shop for most everything. But if I'm buying in bulk, blankets, or speciality stuff- I make the trek to Dover.
I'm a manager- owners live in FL, and shop is here in OH. Not many tack shops in the area that carry variety. I am trying to build my English tack right now, as the owners had built this shop on their knowlege of western riding and trails. It's hard to build up a new section, and wish you luck with building a whole new shop! I'm having fun, but the biggest struggle is getting our name out there. (Been open for almost 6 years, but growing!) We've had people say they never realized we were here, and live in very local towns and even just down the street. Granted, we aren't allowed to do any permanant signage due to how the building is placed near the road and consequently power lines. I'm working on that, but have laws to deal with...
Suggest that you look into carrying both styles and capture a bigger market to start bringing in any dollars. Also, carry a little of both ends of the spectrum- and we only carry consignmet saddles (with a $50 flat when sold fee) so that we don't have to invest that much yet. Added benefit to that is that you get a variety of styles, sizes, etc, and a constant turnover of the above. Also, if there is a problem with a saddle, don't accept it to consign. You make $50 w/o having to invest it and still have it available at your store.
Just some thoughts!
Standardbred Lover- owner of Studs Hooligan, aka Strider, ex- pacer, retrained for eventing and endurance Strider-OTSTB-, Gus-OTTB-, and Rio-rescued QH!
Founder of the High Maintenance Horses Clique
A friend started a tack shop as a franchise to a big catalog tack company, but it is their name on the store.
The big company did the marketing research for her, told her what to carry, stocked her up and she took off running.
She has a large, well stocked store now and it is a thriving business in the six years they have been open.