When Carol Tetreault opened Adirondack Tack about 17 years ago, she had one goal in mind: to improve the lives of horses in whatever way she could.
“Our original slogan back in 2000, when we opened, was ‘Serving equines and their partners,’” Carol recalled. “I wanted to emphasize that I was serving horses first and by doing that, I was simultaneously helping our community of riders.”
After a lifetime of riding horses, Carol had moved to Plattsburgh, New York, and the only tack shop that served the community had closed after a few short years in business. Carol saw the opportunity to do what she had always, in the back of her mind, hoped she would have the chance to do.
“I had very little retail experience,” she laughed. “I had a previous weekend retail job quite a while ago and I had no accounting experience — I have a degree in animal science! I had ridden since I was 9 or 10 and was very passionate about the horse and the equipment, and then I saw that there was a void to be filled in the community.”
Carol’s passion and initiative are some of the pillars of her success, since she wears all of the hats involved in running the business, with help of just one part time employee. Not only is she the business owner, manager, customer service representative, accountant and more, but she also is an educator and invaluable resource in the rural horse community of Plattsburgh.
“We’re here to support you and support this community,” she said. “I’m here to answer your questions. I probably know your horse, your trainer, I know the barn you’re at, I’m at the shows you’re going to.”
Adirondack Tack offers important educational opportunities in a community that isn’t packed full of shows and clinics and trainers.
“I try to sponsor at least one to two clinics a year. I love Dale Myler [of Myler Bits]. He’s very knowledgeable and not a pushy salesperson at all. When he comes and does his seminar, for instance, it’s about how the bit works in the horse’s mouth and how the mouth is shaped and what bits work with what shapes of mouths.
“I want people to come and learn as much good information as possible,” she said. “If they come and figure out that what they’re doing isn’t working and we can talk it through and figure it out, then great! I’ve helped make a horse happy. I’d like to make more horses happier – it’s what I love to do.”
With a mixed community of English and Western riders that complete mostly locally or at 4-H shows, Adirondack Tack caters specifically to the needs of the area, and Carol constantly follows ever-changing trends and product developments to provide exactly what her customers ask for.
“It definitely takes some work to follow the trends!” she said. “In English, you can never go wrong with tan pants, a white shirt, and a navy coat. It’ll never go out of style. But in the Western world, everyone wants a different outfit every year. It’s like a prom dress – you can’t wear the same one twice!”
Carol travels to horse shows and works with brand representatives to stay abreast of these trends and changes, which is just part of the legwork involved in managing a small business that is committed to serving its local riders. And in the age of online shopping, staying afloat as a small independent business is more of a challenge than ever.
“I think people should shop small and local for as much as they can,” said Carol. “When you do, you’re supporting your friends, your community, the tax dollars stay here and get used for community, and the pay stays here with local people. When people are shopping online, they might save $2 on that products but that money is going to a large corporation in a different state.”
Learn more about Adirondack Tack at their Facebook page.
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.