Boosting Local Business

January 22, 2018
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Horse owners are spoilt for choice in East Anglia, with the rural counties of our region producing a bounty of high quality products for us to enjoy. In addition, the plentiful tack shops offer knowledge and assistance in getting exactly the right item for you or your horse. 

The equestrian market is unique in many aspects, and despite the growing use of technology making most other markets move to online shopping, saddleries and tack shops still get most of their trade from face to face customer service. Where many local shops and services have felt the pressure from national brands and online sales, the equestrian market still thrives in the local community, and customers and business alike depend on good relations with local people, where there is still a strong need for individual customer service.

Searching for tack

Tack can be expensive, so it is wise comparing quality before purchase

A local tack shop is the horse riders treasure cove of delights, filled with a vast array of products where the bank balance can take a beating. But more importantly, tack shops are a place where people can find exactly the right product for them. Unlike grocery or clothes shopping, items bought in a tack shop often come with advice, guidelines or fittings as compulsory, something that can’t be done at a click of a button. Horses come in all shapes and sizes, choosing a bridle, bit or saddle would be a hopeless task over the Internet, needing the human eye to do a correct fitting, or judge whether an item is suitable.

What’s local to me?

This list is far from extensive, but will give you a starting point to knowing what is available in your local area.

Norfolk

– Sandons Saddlery, Foulsham

– Nags Essentials, Kings Lynn

– North Walsham Saddlery, Marsham

– Crossways, Ellingham, Bungay

Suffolk

Hats should always be tried on and fitted correctly, rather than bought online

– Dawn’s Tack Box, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds

– Kings of Suffolk, Woodbridge

– Mill Saddlery and Riding wear, Stowupland

Essex

– Ingatestone Saddlery Centre, Ingatestone

– Codham Park Equestrian, Braintree

– Battlesbridge Mills Horse and Country Shop, Battlesbridge

Cambridgeshire

– Somersby House Tack Shop, Huntingdon

– Equicentric LTD, Ely

– Highgate Country Store, Willingham

– Heather Lewin, leather work, near Huntington

Staying warm and keeping fed

While tack shops have all the accessories and equipment you will ever need for you and your horse, your local feed merchant is going to keep your horse fed come rain and shine, and in many circumstances can offer important advice on what to feed your horse. You also need to keep your horse warm and dry in the coming winter months, so finding a local bedding supplier can relieve the stress when the weather turns nasty and you need to bring your horses in.

You can get helpful advice or compare feed ingredients easily in a shop

Getting good quality hay, haylage and bedding is just one of many luxuries of living in a rural region. Horse owners can be spoilt for choice when deciding which supplier to go for, so having good relations with your customer base is a sure way to get them coming back year after year.

What’s local to me?

Again, this list barely scrapes the surface of the vast amount of feed and bedding merchants in the region. If you’re looking for a reputable hay or haylage supplier, the best way to find them is through word of mouth, ask around and see who other horse owners buy from in your area.

Norfolk

– GJL Animal Feeds, Fakenham

– Allen & Page LTD. Thetford

– Hall Farm Forage, Happisburgh

– Bed-Down, Harleston

– Norfolk Straw, Dereham

Suffolk

– Gladwells & Sons LTD, Ipswich

– Charnwood Milling Co LTD, Framlingham

– A & D Fayers, Lavenham

– Simple Systems, Bury St Edmunds

– NP Nunn, Newmarket

With plenty of variety in-store, you can take time finding the right product

Essex

– Baileys Horse Feeds, Braintree

– Wilkys, Dog, Cat, Horse and Pet Supplies, Saffron Walden

– Equine Supplies Essex, Colchester

– Dengi, Maldon

Cambridgeshire

– The Ark, Fulbourn

– Rollins Farm Supplies, Huntingdon

– Fen Farm Supplies, Ely

Even More Reasons

As if you need any more encouragement, here are our top ten reasons to shop in your area.

1. Spending money in local independent shops will help boost the local economy.

Shops often run seasonal offers that beat online prices

2. You might see one-off products that are made locally and not available online.

3. There are often special offers on certain products, beating online prices.

4. Some shops may even match online prices.

5. You are helping build a community – many tack and feed shops sponsor local events, meaning your custom is going directly back into the equestrian community.

6. Getting individual advice is invaluable – you may find the perfect product you’d never considered.

7. You will be able to try on clothing, and if something doesn’t fit your horse, it is far easier to return or switch.

8. You can also compare products across a range of brands, such as ingredients in feeds and formulas in supplements.

9. You can physically compare the quality of the product, especially important with tack and leather products.

10. Some shops offer a loyalty card, which can give you great benefits.

Despite the world becoming more and more computerised, there are some things which are still best bought from your local shop or merchant. The equestrian market thrives from local business, so making the most from your local shop’s knowledge and experience can go a long way to helping you get the product you need as well as helping the local economy.