***WARNING***Very looong story ahead in relation somewhat to the OP's point! My position is stated in the final paragraph...if you just want the point, skip ahead! If you want to read a (to me) semi-interesting story, please read on!
Well, all of you folk (who dislike tack store shopping, and going from store to store and prefer online, yet have to settle for tack stores from time to time?) make me SOOO envious!
I live in a city in Az with a population of nearly 2,000,000 per last year's census, and that does NOT include undocumented aliens (I live about 70 miles north of the Mexico border)...We are a VERY "horsey" community.
Despite this, going back to my first memories as a child, we only EVER had ONE tack store in town...It was called "The Saddle Shop", and it mainly catered to English disciplines (and of course this was well before the internet), however, they were sort of a "staple" in our city. Everyone
who was "horsey" got their stuff there. In that pic of me in my HF Album, in a childhood schooling show, perhaps @ 9 years old, I'm wearing these little rust colored jods, along with my white polo, and I don't think you can see it, but my father bought me this little gold horse-head stock pin with a diamond eye, and it's pinned onto my collar...anyway, ALL of those items were purchased, as WELL as my little brown leather paddock boots, at "The Saddle Shop". I can REMEMBER being fitted for these tiny little riding clothes for lessons and shows and what not, and feeling SOOO important, and loving the leather smell eminating from the saddles and bridles.
I'd look at all the tack and clothing, feed suppliments, everything,
and feel so enamored with the fact that "everything here is used to work with HORSES!", (despite the fact that my little brainless butt hadn't a clue yet what most of it was used for)
Anyway...about five to seven years or so back, despite the fact that, as stated, the city I live in has a horse owning to non-horse owning population ratio of about 1:5 (being conservative), The Saddle Shop CLOSED it's DOORS! I was totally devastated, even though at that point I was totally immersed in work and marriage, etc...and wasn't riding at all...this was a place where I could drive a few miles away from my home, walk in, and breath in those delightful leather and "TACK" smells, which one certainly can NOT experience online...if I just wanted a few hours of reminiscence about my youth/horses/whatever...just some basic "mental comfort food", if you get my drift.
Anyhow, VERY interestingly, right about the time last year when I made the decision that if I was ever going to get "Back2horseback"
, I'd better do it now
or "forever hold my peace";
another tack store opened! This one was called "Cross Country Tack" and they were a family of horse owners who had been living in this area, raising their family for about 20 years, and finally decided to take their company from the cyber-world into the "tangible" world.
The mother (owner) and her two daughters mainly ran the business, and it was located literally within close walking distance from my house, in a strip-mall sort of a place! It seemed like kismet! I needed some riding clothes for my first lesson, and was able to walk through the door, try on a few things, and walk out with my new paddock boots, 1/2 chaps, breeches and various other items. I could not have been HAPPIER! I started frequenting them weekly, and got used to seeing a line of people streaming through the large store. I was in heaven!
Then, in a most utterly bizarre and odd twist of reality
....I had been in on a Friday (probably just at the 2 1/2 month mark since they had opened)and was wanting to put some things on consignment for my friend. I had spoken to the owner and found out the price she could get for the things, and had picked them up from my friend that weekend. The following MONDAY, (not 72 hours LATER), I drive up to the store as I had to transport a number of items which I intended to have CCT sell on consignment for my girlfriend. I began to get out of the car and low and behold...the store which has all glass windows spanning about 1/3 of the strip mall shows a completely, utterly EMPTY interior. NOT ONE SINGLE SHELF, register stand, NOTHING! WHAT in the heck HAPPENED??
So in closing, I, along with every one of the nearly 300,000+ horse people in my city, MUST ORDER ANYTHING WE PURCHASE ONLINE. That is OUR ONLY OPTION and I despise it
....where I love to buy things online
, the horse item buying experience is for me, very "sensory", and is totally part of the fun. Yet, until someone is brave *or stupid, depending on how you look at it*...enough to reopen a tack shop here, we are confined to the internet and shipping costs, and not trying anything first and all of that forever...
So please enjoy tack shopping live, y'all that have the chance, at least a little bit, in my honor?