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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Haven't been on here on a while, but long story short, we're opening a family owned feed store. We will mainly be selling feed, forage, and supplements, with some fly spray brands, poultice, and linimint.

Anyways, I am using the forum as a tool to give us an idea of what to sell. Some FAQs:
~We have an area known for horse racing (Quarter Horses), barrel racing, team roping, and trail rides.
~we are located in front of a well known rodeo arena
~I have talked to many trainers in our area, but due to Covid-19, I haven't talked to as much as I wanted

Like I said above, this is just to see what many favorites are. We don't want to be wasting space and money on something that people are not going to buy and just walk by. Just write your favorite product(s) and I'll tell you if you we are able to deal it or not.

Thank you in advance!! If you have any questions related to the topic, please feel free to ask!! 馃檪 馃檪
 

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Triple Crown and Buckeye products. Best on the market, imo. Sentinel products are also good.

I would not waste your time with Purina/Safe Choice/"big-box" brands. Not worth it, and if they are available at a Tractor Supply/Family Farm and Home/etc, people will buy them there as they will be cheaper.

Supplements could be good, but it's hard to beat prices online with Smartpak.

I could see a hoof supplement, a gut health supplement, a mane/tail supplement, and a calming(magnesium) supplement being on shelves.

Selling loose salt instead of salt blocks and educating the public about salt intake with horses could be good as well.
 
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From the standpoint of a consumer...
You asked about products to consider carrying...
I would suggest drive through areas with in 30 mile radius of the store location...see what kinds of animals people have besides horses.
Do not limit yourself to only horse feed but expand to cow, sheep, goat, chicken/duck, alpaca, rabbits and guinea pigs possibly deer. Don't forget dog & cat of all ages.

A special place for the needs of those racing horses as what is used to keep those animals going and sound can be far different that what the average Sally or Joe use for their recreational horses.
Add in some specialty foods for high-performance dogs, leashes & collars, beds, toys & treats...some basic pharmaceuticals.
For the horses, a range of tack needs, headstalls, small bit collection, halters & shanks, saddle pads, blanket/sheet, fly mask, of course fly spray and medical care items along with worming medications.
A few different clippers, horse boots...incidentals that catch the eye.
If you have really young competitors in your area some do-dads that are blingy they seem to love to put on their animals.
Feed stores are more than just feed stores by me but the place you can pick up for all the farm animals under one roof.
Some magazines would not hurt either along with a bulletin board for for sale, next upcoming show, horsey yard sale...the more diverse at least cost you can offer the better the draw of people to come threw the door.
Offering several brands of feed from the large companies and if you don't stock the entire line, let it known you can and will order in special for customers.
Offering feed from the smaller co-op mills that may have hours that make it difficult for some to get to them...

The secret I think is offer diversity and have on-hand a bit of the most popular till a pattern shows of what sells often and what sits...old food is not good to sit and sell occasionally cause that is money tied up in stock you will not have to afford for a long time.
Add to that several kinds of hay in quantity and the ability to deliver it local for a small fee, larger quantities and regular customers is no charge also brings in customers.
You need to offer what other places don't or at better prices.
Not far from me is a store who stocks and sells supplements of all kinds for horses. Things horse owners have to order he has on the shelf. They sell and this store is always got someone inside purchasing something..the need is met that other places lack and that keeps this guys doors open as does his knowledge of what he carries and his suggestions.
He specializes in what other places don't carry so meets a niche.

Not sure where you are but by me, Tractor Supply and Rural King has the prices to beat on many products...I would research and compare what they offer to what you are thinking about...some differences are great but those huge corporate stores sell what sells fast and easily...
Not exactly what you were looking for in answer but important things to consider and plan for.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Keep your prices in line with what other feed supply places have. Keep feeds that are wanted by costumers well stocked.

Been out of alfalfa cubes now 3 weeks. I took my business elsewhere and got my 2 month supply of cubes

Here a local feed store new last year is struggling to keep feed stocked. Has to have a 5 pallet order for delivery . Carries nutrena feeds.

A few lines of different fly sprays. Saddle cleaning products also saddle oil.

Has fencing supplies hot wire connectors. Also has bagged bedding he's a bit higher per bag then in town farm supply store. Honestly I buy bedding and whatever else, I need for horses where I get a better price.

I'm all for giving local businesses my business. But won't pay 3 to 4 dollars more for same products I can get cheaper at l&m fleet or online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Triple Crown and Buckeye products. Best on the market, imo. Sentinel products are also good.
We will be dealing Triple Crown products!!! We are currently working out with Buckeye products...
I would not waste your time with Purina/Safe Choice/"big-box" brands. Not worth it, and if they are available at a Tractor Supply/Family Farm and Home/etc, people will buy them there as they will be cheaper.
We will be dealing Purina products, but we are mainly interested in their supplements and Ultium line (which no one sells). On the other hand, many local buisness beat out TSC when it comes to prices. 馃槢
I could see a hoof supplement, a gut health supplement, a mane/tail supplement, and a calming(magnesium) supplement being on shelves.
We are planning on dealing mainly Animed and Farnam, don't want you to study or anything, do you have a favorite when it comes to mane/tail and gut supplements??
Selling loose salt instead of salt blocks and educating the public about salt intake with horses could be good as well.
Thanks for the info!! Our tack/feed stores aren't known for having knowledgeable horse people, so we are making sure that who ever is hired has experience with horses and at least one of the stated disciplines 馃檪 (other disciplines are also fine ofc)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
From the standpoint of a consumer...
You asked about products to consider carrying...
I would suggest drive through areas with in 30 mile radius of the store location...see what kinds of animals people have besides horses.
Do not limit yourself to only horse feed but expand to cow, sheep, goat, chicken/duck, alpaca, rabbits and guinea pigs possibly deer. Don't forget dog & cat of all ages.

A special place for the needs of those racing horses as what is used to keep those animals going and sound can be far different that what the average Sally or Joe use for their recreational horses.
Add in some specialty foods for high-performance dogs, leashes & collars, beds, toys & treats...some basic pharmaceuticals.
For the horses, a range of tack needs, headstalls, small bit collection, halters & shanks, saddle pads, blanket/sheet, fly mask, of course fly spray and medical care items along with worming medications.
A few different clippers, horse boots...incidentals that catch the eye.
If you have really young competitors in your area some do-dads that are blingy they seem to love to put on their animals.
Feed stores are more than just feed stores by me but the place you can pick up for all the farm animals under one roof.
Some magazines would not hurt either along with a bulletin board for for sale, next upcoming show, horsey yard sale...the more diverse at least cost you can offer the better the draw of people to come threw the door.
Offering several brands of feed from the large companies and if you don't stock the entire line, let it known you can and will order in special for customers.
Offering feed from the smaller co-op mills that may have hours that make it difficult for some to get to them...

The secret I think is offer diversity and have on-hand a bit of the most popular till a pattern shows of what sells often and what sits...old food is not good to sit and sell occasionally cause that is money tied up in stock you will not have to afford for a long time.
Add to that several kinds of hay in quantity and the ability to deliver it local for a small fee, larger quantities and regular customers is no charge also brings in customers.
You need to offer what other places don't or at better prices.
Not far from me is a store who stocks and sells supplements of all kinds for horses. Things horse owners have to order he has on the shelf. They sell and this store is always got someone inside purchasing something..the need is met that other places lack and that keeps this guys doors open as does his knowledge of what he carries and his suggestions.
He specializes in what other places don't carry so meets a niche.

Not sure where you are but by me, Tractor Supply and Rural King has the prices to beat on many products...I would research and compare what they offer to what you are thinking about...some differences are great but those huge corporate stores sell what sells fast and easily...
Not exactly what you were looking for in answer but important things to consider and plan for.
<img style="max-width:100%;" src="http://www.horseforum.com/images/smilies/runninghorse2.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Runninghorse2" class="inlineimg" />...
Definitely put that into consideration!! Thanks for the info!! It seems like dogs, cats, chickens, and goats are very popular in our area. Cattle? Not so much. We are definitely selling products of such. We are also planning on dealing many types (and brands) to the roping folk. Like I said above, TSC doesn't beat out prices...
 

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Thanks for the info!! Our tack/feed stores aren't known for having knowledgeable horse people, so we are making sure that who ever is hired has experience with horses and at least one of the stated disciplines 馃檪 (other disciplines are also fine ofc)
To me as a potential customer, this is one reason why I would come to a small local store and possibly pay more -- because I hope to find someone on staff who has some experience and product knowledge they can share with me. If I come in because my horse has, say, thrush, I don't want to be waved to the hoof care aisle; I want someone who can help me figure out what to buy, and explain how to use it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Keep your prices in line with what other feed supply places have. Keep feeds that are wanted by costumers well stocked.

Been out of alfalfa cubes now 3 weeks. I took my business elsewhere and got my 2 month supply of cubes

Here a local feed store new last year is struggling to keep feed stocked. Has to have a 5 pallet order for delivery . Carries nutrena feeds.

A few lines of different fly sprays. Saddle cleaning products also saddle oil.

Has fencing supplies hot wire connectors. Also has bagged bedding he's a bit higher per bag then in town farm supply store. Honestly I buy bedding and whatever else, I need for horses where I get a better price.

I'm all for giving local businesses my business. But won't pay 3 to 4 dollars more for same products I can get cheaper at l&m fleet or online.
Thanks for the info! Believe it or not, Nutrena horse feeds are not popular in my area compared toTriple Crown and Purina
 

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I鈥檓 going to paste the websites of two local feed stores here where I live. We are lucky we have locally-owned alternatives with very horsey people so we don鈥檛 have to go to big box places like Tractor Supply.

First one would be considered more of a feed/tack shop, but even if you took the tack out of the shop it would be a great selection of horse feeds, medical and nutritional supplies, and all the essentials for the other common hobby farm animals here (chickens and goats mostly). You go here if you feed Cavalor, which is great for the kind of performance horses you鈥檙e serving.

https://www.cheshirehorse.com

This one has a good selection of feeds and stable supplies but really no tack. They have a huge garden center/nursery and do a lot of their business there. You go here if you want Poulin feeds, which is a popular regional brand. They also have the Semican Timothy alfalfa cubes I like and the organic locally milled layer pellets I feed my hens.
https://achilleagway.com/

I think the benefit of a place like what you鈥檙e describing is that it鈥檚 an option for people who want to stay away from big box stores and buy from a local family. It鈥檚 nice to walk into either of the places I listed above and have them know my name and know about my animals. It鈥檚 easy to do special orders, they have great loyalty programs, and they have a really large selection of regionally made products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I鈥檓 going to paste the websites of two local feed stores here where I live. We are lucky we have locally-owned alternatives with very horsey people so we don鈥檛 have to go to big box places like Tractor Supply.

First one would be considered more of a feed/tack shop, but even if you took the tack out of the shop it would be a great selection of horse feeds, medical and nutritional supplies, and all the essentials for the other common hobby farm animals here (chickens and goats mostly). You go here if you feed Cavalor, which is great for the kind of performance horses you鈥檙e serving.

https://www.cheshirehorse.com

This one has a good selection of feeds and stable supplies but really no tack. They have a huge garden center/nursery and do a lot of their business there. You go here if you want Poulin feeds, which is a popular regional brand. They also have the Semican Timothy alfalfa cubes I like and the organic locally milled layer pellets I feed my hens.
https://achilleagway.com/

I think the benefit of a place like what you鈥檙e describing is that it鈥檚 an option for people who want to stay away from big box stores and buy from a local family. It鈥檚 nice to walk into either of the places I listed above and have them know my name and know about my animals. It鈥檚 easy to do special orders, they have great loyalty programs, and they have a really large selection of regionally made products.
Thank you so much!! I took a look into the 2 websites and found them very useful. We just found out about Cavalor, and after some research, it seemed more popular for English riders (which are a extremely rare sight here). Racing folk here are extremely picky aswell, they only feed either Race 13, Purina Race Ready, or Purina Omolene 200, along with triple cleaned oats, red cell, Su-per sound, Thia-cal, and crushed salt. xD xD
 

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We will be dealing Triple Crown products!!! We are currently working out with Buckeye products...

We will be dealing Purina products, but we are mainly interested in their supplements and Ultium line (which no one sells). On the other hand, many local buisness beat out TSC when it comes to prices. 馃槢

We are planning on dealing mainly Animed and Farnam, don't want you to study or anything, do you have a favorite when it comes to mane/tail and gut supplements??

Thanks for the info!! Our tack/feed stores aren't known for having knowledgeable horse people, so we are making sure that who ever is hired has experience with horses and at least one of the stated disciplines 馃檪 (other disciplines are also fine ofc)

I totally forgot that Ultium was a Purina product - I believe that is the only Purina feed I have fed by choice, not force due to lack of choice...

I'm not sure how becoming a Horsetech dealer works, but I would 100% look into selling their products. Best on the market, and I know a few people here speak highly of them. They have a gut supplement, and I would be very surprised if they didn't also have a mane/tail supplement.
 

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1. Ditto @ClearDonkey on the possibility of becoming a HorseTech dealer. They have the best product(s) on the market when it comes to metabolic horses.

Their products are expensive up front, so people shy away BUT in the long term they end up being cheaper than the stuff sold in stores.

I have not fed anything but HorseTech vit/min supplements since 2014. I mix in a cup of Timothy pellets (Standlee brand most of the time).

2. Fly spray - I don鈥檛 use much because of how my barn is set up, plus my horses are on big acreage so some (SOME) flies are not an issue. I refuse to pay the obnoxious amounts of money for these 鈥渒iller鈥 fly sprays when good ole 鈥淶onk It! works just as well, smells ten times better, and doesn鈥檛 burn the horses.

I can鈥檛 buy Zonk It! In stores anymore so I have to pay shipping and order it on-line.

I only use it on their belly lines legs and tails. For as cheap as it is, It does a great job keeping the midge flies off their stomachs and spraying legs/tail bottoms seems to help,with ticks as well.

3. Hay - Hay is a sticky wicket. Many of us still want small squares as opposed to round bales.

Buy hay that is NOT full of moisture upon arrival. If it鈥檚 been sprayed with a drying agent, many horses won鈥檛 eat it and buyers will only get sucked into that once before they look elsewhere. My horses won鈥檛 touch hay with a drying agent on it.

Hay cut early in the morning has the best chance of having low NSC & WSC for Metabolic horses. I get my hay tested by Equi-Analytical. It always tests in the 8% range. Anything over 10% is a disaster for horses with insulin issues. I also pay top shelf price for that hay - which is 99.9% weed free BTW. $8.99/50# bale top shelf鈥斺-

I could find hay for $4/bale but it鈥檚 full of weeds so what鈥檚 the point.

Try your darndest to buy hay that is fluffier than it is stemmy. Stemmy hay equals more waste, especially for senior horses with poor or very few teeth.

4. Alfalfa- I don鈥檛 feed it. All I know about alfalfa is that second cut is generally when blister beetles hatch and can pollute alfalfa. They can kill a horse if injested, even after they are dead.

5. Shavings - I won鈥檛 buy cheap on that either. My horses got sick on TSC shavings, coincidentally, after Hurricane Katrina cleanup started. I was finding Pieces of old painted wood, computer paper pieces, and other garbage in the those smelly shavings. I think DH hit the nail on the head when he concluded those shavings were remnants of piled up wood from Katrina.

I鈥檓 one of the ones who will spend the money to buy top shelf shavings - my horses are healthy, no hock sores and good shavings last longer. I buy by the pallet (40 - 10 cuFt bags) and the feed store gives me a 25cent/bag discount.

6. Keep some stall deodorizer on hand. Being old school, I am a hydrated lime person. It鈥檚 cheap and keeps the odor down. I鈥檝e used hydrated lime (garden lime) in stalls my entire life and never burned a horse.

It鈥檚 also great for the garden and even greater if a pet has to be buried, to layer heavily on top of the ground to keep animals from scenting what鈥檚 buried.

******

It鈥檚 a fine line to walk, trying to carry what people want. You will probably see early on, what your biggest sellers are and I鈥檒l bet they will be the cheap stuff because most people want that glaring shine on a horse without doing anything to get it.

If there is one thing you should not cow down on, it鈥檚 the quality of hay, alfalfa, trefoil, etc. you bring in. I will walk in a skinny minute from a store with crappy hay - a few feed stores in a couple of counties have already seen me do that.

anything else I can order on line, if the top shelf hay isn鈥檛 available:)

If it matters regarding experience & opinion 鈥 I am 73, raised on a dairy farm, been on a horse since I was two, and paying for my own, non stop, since I was 12. I鈥檓 down to my last two, one of whom is in insulin resistance remission and has Cushings. His diet is well calculated and everything I feed is carefully examined.

I don鈥檛 pretend to have all the answers, but I hope my opinions help some:):)

Best wishes and the very best of luck & success:):)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
1. Ditto @ClearDonkey on the possibility of becoming a HorseTech dealer. They have the best product(s) on the market when it comes to metabolic horses.

Their products are expensive up front, so people shy away BUT in the long term they end up being cheaper than the stuff sold in stores.

I have not fed anything but HorseTech vit/min supplements since 2014. I mix in a cup of Timothy pellets (Standlee brand most of the time).

2. Fly spray - I don鈥檛 use much because of how my barn is set up, plus my horses are on big acreage so some (SOME) flies are not an issue. I refuse to pay the obnoxious amounts of money for these 鈥渒iller鈥 fly sprays when good ole 鈥淶onk It! works just as well, smells ten times better, and doesn鈥檛 burn the horses.

I can鈥檛 buy Zonk It! In stores anymore so I have to pay shipping and order it on-line.

I only use it on their belly lines legs and tails. For as cheap as it is, It does a great job keeping the midge flies off their stomachs and spraying legs/tail bottoms seems to help,with ticks as well.

3. Hay - Hay is a sticky wicket. Many of us still want small squares as opposed to round bales.

Buy hay that is NOT full of moisture upon arrival. If it鈥檚 been sprayed with a drying agent, many horses won鈥檛 eat it and buyers will only get sucked into that once before they look elsewhere. My horses won鈥檛 touch hay with a drying agent on it.

Hay cut early in the morning has the best chance of having low NSC & WSC for Metabolic horses. I get my hay tested by Equi-Analytical. It always tests in the 8% range. Anything over 10% is a disaster for horses with insulin issues. I also pay top shelf price for that hay - which is 99.9% weed free BTW. $8.99/50# bale top shelf鈥斺-

I could find hay for $4/bale but it鈥檚 full of weeds so what鈥檚 the point.

Try your darndest to buy hay that is fluffier than it is stemmy. Stemmy hay equals more waste, especially for senior horses with poor or very few teeth.

4. Alfalfa- I don鈥檛 feed it. All I know about alfalfa is that second cut is generally when blister beetles hatch and can pollute alfalfa. They can kill a horse if injested, even after they are dead.

5. Shavings - I won鈥檛 buy cheap on that either. My horses got sick on TSC shavings, coincidentally, after Hurricane Katrina cleanup started. I was finding Pieces of old painted wood, computer paper pieces, and other garbage in the those smelly shavings. I think DH hit the nail on the head when he concluded those shavings were remnants of piled up wood from Katrina.

I鈥檓 one of the ones who will spend the money to buy top shelf shavings - my horses are healthy, no hock sores and good shavings last longer. I buy by the pallet (40 - 10 cuFt bags) and the feed store gives me a 25cent/bag discount.

6. Keep some stall deodorizer on hand. Being old school, I am a hydrated lime person. It鈥檚 cheap and keeps the odor down. I鈥檝e used hydrated lime (garden lime) in stalls my entire life and never burned a horse.

It鈥檚 also great for the garden and even greater if a pet has to be buried, to layer heavily on top of the ground to keep animals from scenting what鈥檚 buried.

******

It鈥檚 a fine line to walk, trying to carry what people want. You will probably see early on, what your biggest sellers are and I鈥檒l bet they will be the cheap stuff because most people want that glaring shine on a horse without doing anything to get it.

If there is one thing you should not cow down on, it鈥檚 the quality of hay, alfalfa, trefoil, etc. you bring in. I will walk in a skinny minute from a store with crappy hay - a few feed stores in a couple of counties have already seen me do that.

anything else I can order on line, if the top shelf hay isn鈥檛 available:)

If it matters regarding experience & opinion 鈥 I am 73, raised on a dairy farm, been on a horse since I was two, and paying for my own, non stop, since I was 12. I鈥檓 down to my last two, one of whom is in insulin resistance remission and has Cushings. His diet is well calculated and everything I feed is carefully examined.

I don鈥檛 pretend to have all the answers, but I hope my opinions help some:):)

Best wishes and the very best of luck & success:):)
Thank you so much for the info @walkinthewalk!!! We are currently looking into Horsetech products, but we are not sure how people are going to react to their prices. I do want to try them out though....

As for shavings, we are still in the search for quality shavings. There are many people who prefer thing shavings while many others prefer thick shavings. Ofc, there are many, many horses that are out on pasture 24/7. We are also looking into pellets (bedding). We are looking into selling many types of brand and types of bedding/shavings.

We just got our forage situation figured out yesterday, aswell as our oat situation. The thing we struggled on was getting quality forage for ALL types of horses. You see, racing folk here prefer their alfalfa at a later cut with more stems and very minimal leaves. Bermuda is highly requested by racing folk aswell. Alfalfa at with more leaves and coastal hay is preferred by performance folk. Etc.

******

On the other hand, how do you guys feel about BOT (Back on Track) products and Silver Lining Herbs?? There seems to be many mixed opinions on them. There is only one dealer in our area, which is still a long way out (45 minutes).
 

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Yep on Horse Tech products expensive but high quality supplements. I get my supplement for my horses from horse tech.

I love, love ,love Horse Tech excellent service and extremely knowledgeable people there. Won't buy supplements from anywhere else.

Only thing I buy from feed store is alfalfa cubes and bedding. Everything else I order online.

Local horse people here are after the cheap feeds,or don't feed any thing at all. So wouldn't buy anything from Horse Tech to expensive for there cheap budget.

Think new feed store is struggling not enough feed being sold. So can't do a 5 pallet order. Summer time so most horses are on pasture , not be fed hard feed.

Sadly I don't think he's going to make it. Just not the demand up here for a small local feed store. Only bagged feed I might, buy is triple crown senior or triple crown 30 percent.

Honestly my horses look so much, healthier on the horse tech supplement and cubes. I'll never go back to commercial feeds
 

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My favorite feed store here sells a variety of feed for cows, horses, chickens and even wild bird food. In the spring they have chicks and guinea keets. The owner has branched out recently and started selling panels, water troughs, and buckets. They stock probiotics, sand clear, a small assortment of supplements and loose mineral salt (this is huge for me). There's fly spray, fly masks, and a small assortment of first aid supplies which included some great antibiotics although I am not sure if the law has changed on that recently or not.



One of my favorite things is that they are not afraid to order something in for a customer. To me, that is invaluable and they will always have my business because of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'd like to start off by saying Thank You to all of the responses and great information!! I have 1 1/2-2 weeks to gather more info and responses. I would also like to state that we are NOT able to deal Horsetech products!!
 

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On the other hand, how do you guys feel about BOT (Back on Track) products and Silver Lining Herbs?? There seems to be many mixed opinions on them. There is only one dealer in our area, which is still a long way out (45 minutes).

BOT products, yes, I've heard great things. Depends on whether or not they would sell in your area...

I looked briefly as Silver Lining Herbs, and I am going to say don't bother. I have known people that use herbal wormers and they work, but if you are in a boarding situation, 99% of the time you will be required to use traditional wormers. Beyond the herbal wormers, I don't think I know anyone that would buy herbal based supplements over traditional supplements that are backed up by research and studies to say that they work. They might work great, but I am in the group of people where if there isn't irrefutable proof, I won't spend my money on an herbal alternative over a traditional supplement.

It's a shame you can't deal HorseTech products...I don't know any other companies that I would want to deal supplements from other than HorseTech. :(
 

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Haven't been on here on a while, but long story short, we're opening a family owned feed store. We will mainly be selling feed, forage, and supplements, with some fly spray brands, poultice, and linimint.

Anyways, I am using the forum as a tool to give us an idea of what to sell. Some FAQs:
~We have an area known for horse racing (Quarter Horses), barrel racing, team roping, and trail rides.
~we are located in front of a well known rodeo arena
~I have talked to many trainers in our area, but due to Covid-19, I haven't talked to as much as I wanted

Like I said above, this is just to see what many favorites are. We don't want to be wasting space and money on something that people are not going to buy and just walk by. Just write your favorite product(s) and I'll tell you if you we are able to deal it or not.

Thank you in advance!! If you have any questions related to the topic, please feel free to ask!! 馃檪 馃檪
Well, IF you have a large number people who are well educated on equine digestion and nutritional needs (and I mean educated....not "we've always fed this" or "this is traditional feed" or "this feed is recommended by (insert who or whatever here)", etc....). People who understand the reality of how natured designed the equine digestive system to work, what is best suited to provide what the horse needs, and what feeds meet those needs "without" also damaging (e.g. humans need fat for our brains...bacon does provide fat....but a pound of bacon daily is not good for humans....or humans need B12 and the best B12 source that is readily absorbed in the human body is from meat protein (which includes eggs)...but a pound of steak 3 times a day is not the healthiest way of meeting our B12 needs). All that being said, if you were doing business around here I'd recommend carrying:

copra (coolstance is my personal choice...and my only option LOL) and
beet pulp with no sweeteners of any type added (which pretty easy to find anyway)

(both are excellent for equines without any self contained down side). My source for copra doesn't even run a feed store, but buys it by the pallet load as if he was running a feed store since he's the only source within 100 miles and I'm not sure there's more than 3 or 4 sources in the state so they do a good business LOL. But the majority of people don't know enough about equine digestion and nutrition (from a factual health perspective) to matter which probably accounts for why most horses don't see 30 years and most of those who do are long retired and not still working (which they could be if they'd been maintained properly). Not much different than humans in that respect really. I know a couple in their 80's still planting their veggies every year, built a green house, do their own yard work (cutting trees, etc...) at an age when most of us are dead, in a assisted living, or resigned to not doing anything strenuous LOL.

I won't recommend trying to educate most of the people in your area though. I've found that most people tend to "know everything" already (even if it's erroneous....they already know it LOL). So you're probably better off selling the processed feed mixes that that industry passes off as healthy feed for horses. It's what everyone expects and convinced is best for feeding their horse (after all...this companies who just want our money would tell us if their feed wasn't the best for our horse...so all those companies, in competition with each other...are each selling the best feed for our horses...and they have a variety to choice from depending on what they think our specific horse needs...without having ever examined our horse LOL)

Outside of the feed fiasco :). Since most of the equine activities today seem to have a more significant female presence (unlike 35+ years ago) it might be smart to carry some decorative (even matching colorful) tach and accessories. I see the women using very dressed up, even color coordinated gear (pink trim on a saddle and bridle with a matching blanket, etc....) and I've found that women can easily spend more money on gear for the horses that catches their eye than they often spend on themselves (thank God my daughter and granddaughters just use my gear LOL).

Often it's the trinkets and accessories that carry the largest profit margin.
 

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In my area, senior feeds and ration balancers of various brands tend to sell very well. Triple Crown is emerging as a popular brand as more people become educated in nutrition and vets recommend their line. I am in the pacific NW, so LMF feeds and Haystacks are a couple regional brands that do very well here. I've heard that Haystack Special Blend is one of the local feed store's best sellers. In addition, there are a couple vitamin/mineral lines that are sold significantly cheaper IN the feed store than online (Horse Guard and Equerrys), and so they are hot sellers.

I buy my dog food from a little boutique-like store here in town. Even though their prices are a little higher than what you could find on Chewy, they know their customers by first name and treat them like family. They are also very knowledgeable about their products and pet nutrition in general. As a result, they have a large and loyal customer base. Customer service is quickly becoming a lost art these days. I think a little of it goes a long way. Best of luck on your new feed store :).
 
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