“Well,” I said to my husband, “it’s getting too late to Internet order anything else, so if we need something, we need to hit the stores.” That’ll mean crowds, of course, but it will also mean big sales, coupons and promotions. Except, this time, the gift I forgot is for a horse person, so I’ll be at the local tack store. Shopping there will be fun, because they’ll have lots of cool impulse items around. But I won’t see any great deals, compared to the promotions from the big catalog/Internet suppliers, and it’s not the local tack store’s fault.
During college, I worked part-time at a department store in the towels/drapery department (yes, I got in a lot of study time!). I saw store invoices for the merchandise, of course, and remember vividly that the markup was always at least 200%. That meant, when that store offered you 50% off, they were still doubling their money.
Not so for tack stores. For many, 50% off means they’re losing money, so it’s usually only on a close-out. That’s because horse-supply wholesale-price lists are often as high as the item sells for at a major supplier. Big retailers can negotiate a deal with the manufacturer to get a cheaper individual price by buying huge volume, but your local tack store.
The reason I’m telling you this is that I make it a point to spend at least some of my horse budget at the local stores. If I don’t, eventually, they’ll go out of business, forcing me to pay overnight shipping for the gift I forgot to buy for my horse buddy. I’ll have fun, too, seeing and touching that glistening tack, perusing the magazine rack and drooling over the pricey fancy breeches. Maybe I’ll just buy that gift for my friend, a box of treats for my mare and that little stuffed horse ornament that plays “Jingle Bells” when you squeeze it, but every little bit helps keep those local shops alive.