Everyone knows Black Friday to be a weekend of shopping until you drop. Well, at least that used to be what it was known for. People still go shopping, but brick and mortar retail has dropped and Internet sales are up. For many equestrian retailers, this shift has left them reeling. What once used to be the weekend that gave them the buffer to get through the slow post-holiday months is now just another weekend. Sometimes it’s even worse than a regular weekend, because you might staff anticipating to be busy, only to be disappointed when sales are average, if not below.

After a particularly disappointing Black Friday weekend in 2013, Brenda was left wondering how she would keep her tack shop Tack Warehouse going during their slow season. Unfortunately, she was not the only retailer that had suffered, as three others she knew had suffered a similar problem. For Brenda, there was a shocking realization after 28 years of success, her business might be undone by the Internet. Like any driven business owner, Brenda knew that something had to be done. With this motivation to make a change and to help brick and mortar retailers, Brenda Stack started Support Independent Tack Stores (SITS) and created National Indie Tack Store Day.

National Indie Tack Store Day started with a logo. From there, it spread. Consumers started coming into Tack Warehouse after seeing the logo on social media. Other retailers started contacting SITS and Brenda with the hopes of joining the group and participating in the movement. To this day, all graphics for SITS and National Indie Tack Store Day are made in-house, many still by Brenda. To be a member of SITS, retailers must have a brick and mortar store. The group came together with the common goal of helping repair the brick and mortar retail industry. This meant working to drive consumers into the stores, help manufacturers provide fair retail prices that would allow brick and mortar stores to compete with Internet retailers, and brainstorm ways to create an improved sense of loyalty and community among the equestrian retail industry.

While Brenda was creating SITS, June Evers, creator of Horse Hollow Press, was creating Equine Retailers Roundtable, with the similar intentions. Together, they teamed up to brainstorm ways to unite manufacturers, retailers, and to help bring in consumers. June was a valuable member to the process, as she represented the manufacturing side of things. As a manufacturer herself and a member of the American Equestrian Trade Association, June was well connected in the equestrian industry and understood the problems from all sides. Together, they were able to unite retailers throughout the United States and help SITS and National Indie Tack Store Day hit its stride.

It took a few years, but with the help of now 80 retailers and a number of manufacturers, National Indie Tack Store Day has started to take off. Over the last three years, numerous manufacturers and retailers have jumped on board in support of brick and mortar tack shops. This year, National Indie Tack Store Day boasts over $10,000 worth of prizes to consumers who chose to shop at their local participating tack store.

This year, National Indie Tack Store Day is on Saturday, December 17th. If your local tack shop is participating, you could be entered to win one of the many prizes available. If your tack shop isn’t participating, go shopping, say hello, and tell them about it so they can participate next year. While the Internet and online shopping is a wonderful thing, we need our brick and mortar tack shops!

To learn more about Support Independent Tack Stores and National Indie Tack Store Day, visit https://www.facebook.com/tackstores/.

To learn more about Brenda Stack and Tack Warehouse, visit http://www.tackwarehouse.com.

To learn more about June Evers and Horse Hollow Press, visit http://horsehollowpress.com.

The American Equestrian Trade Association’s mission is to unite and advance the community of equine trade businesses by delivering education, trade shows and services designed to sustain, support and grow a strong equestrian industry marketplace. Find out more at www.aeta.us.