Monday, April 06, 2009

Tack shop owner shares love of riding

Oregon Mail Tribune
photo: Candace Kahn is the owner of Action Rider Tack an internet and soon to be retail site for equestrian supplies. Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune photoBob Pennell
By Greg Stiles
Mail Tribune

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it? I sell tack for the endurance and trail rider. I have been doing that since 2004.

[Action Rider Tack
Owner: Candy Kahn
Web site:]

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I've been here for nine years. We moved here from San Diego. I'm originally from Long Island, N.Y.

What inspired you to go into this line of work? Back in 2003, I took my horses barefoot and thought that was best for them. At the time there was no one in the valley doing a barefoot trim. So I had to learn to trim myself. I took classes and became a certified barefoot trimmer. In 2004, EasyCare came out with the Boa Horse Boots and this enabled me to better compete in endurance riding. I convinced them to let me sell their boots. My interest is in selling products that enhance the horse's comfort and performance.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? I would probably have moved into Medford earlier. I started at my ranch in Jacksonville. People didn't find me, and it makes it easier for deliveries, shipments — because we ship worldwide — and employees. It's more accessible now and people come and take a look.

What's the toughest business decision you've made? When I had to lay someone off because of the economic downturn. That was very difficult. Horse people usually spend money on their horses but they do cut back on spending, and we have seen that.

Who are your competitors? My competitors are actually not in this area. They're other businesses that sell endurance and trail tack, and that's mostly on the Internet. I don't compete with Big R, Horse Blanket, Western or Gid-De-Up Barkins Boutique in Phoenix. They're more English, hunter jumper and dressage. Our products are more unique to endurance and trail riders. We specialize in treeless saddles.

What are your goals? I want to continue to be a healthy company so we can continue to help horses and riders find a better partnership. I go to nine to 11 trade shows every year in Ohio, California, Massachusetts and Arizona. I go to Spoga Horse, an international trade fair for equestrian sports show, in Cologne, Germany. It's the largest trade show in Europe. I go there to see if there are more products to bring into the U.S. Right now, I import treeless saddles from Italy and Germany. The treeless and boot industry has grown and there are other distributors in foreign countries. There's enough business in the U.S., but if I can help someone in foreign country, I'm there.

What training or education did you need? I'm a horse-massage therapist, a certified barefoot trimmer and I've been riding since the 1970s. I've competed in endurance and trail riding since the 1970s. I've learned from clinicians and read and researched.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? Know what direction you want to go in. What's really important is to have a plan and stick to that plan. It's so easy to get wrapped up and take on more than you can handle. I was really careful when I started; the core of my business started out with the boots. I built it slowly over the past five years.


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