By Jackie McFarland
Mary’s Tack & Feed – A True Establishment
Established on the corner of Via de Valle and El Camino Real, Mary’s Tack & Feed is literally a cornerstone of equestrian history. At 12,000 square feet, this tack superstore in Del Mar is their largest but not their only location. For the Orange County set there’s a satellite store in San Juan Capistrano at the Rancho Vista Equestrian Center. Those that are technically inclined can find the store online at MarysTack.com and get updates on Facebook.
“We are constantly updating the web site, but the store has 40,000 items in inventory, so if you can’t find it online come on in!” commented Mary’s Tack & Feed General Manager Dale Blasius.
Serving a wide variety of equestrian interests, Mary’s not only has a large inventory but is also very involved in the equestrian community including offering free seminars from bits to saddle fitting and more. Coming to Mary’s this Saturday, May 15th, is animal intuitive and artist Debra Saum. She is offering two free informative talks at 11am and 2pm on ‘Horse as Teacher’.
Throughout San Diego County and into Orange County, Mary’s reaches out to the equestrian community via sponsorships and donations as often as they can. Dale explained, “We like that groups feel comfortable contacting us. Occasionally a non-horse group has a need we can fill; recently we helped Make-A-Wish Foundation completely outfit a rider. We try to say yes to any legitimate group with a horse affiliation that approaches us.”
Price and Product
Mary’s carries top of the line products not necessarily at top prices. If a customer brings in a catalog with a product priced lower, Mary’s will do their best to match it.
Knowing that more and more people are online researching products, Mary’s continuously updates their online offerings. With a large email list and Facebook following, Mary’s keeps its loyal customers informed about specials, new products and upcoming seminars. The next phase of the MarysTack.com website will have educational ‘how-to’ video clips, including how to take care of your leather tack, differences between bits and other subjects that their customers have asked for. Dale notes that in general a customer knows more about products due to the wealth of information available on the Internet. He offers a word of caution about buying online: No matter how good the price is, you want to make sure it’s supported by good customer service. In business since 1963, Mary’s is there to back up purchases made through their web site and their store.
Since customer service is key at Mary’s, the staff is constantly kept up to date via ‘lunch and learn’ seminars given by vendors. Mary’s also does ‘product showdowns’ with their own staff competing about product knowledge. They individually study a product and present what they’ve learned to the staff on Saturday morning before the store opens.
In a world where jobs are hard to come by, Mary’s recently hired two cashiers and a full-time sales person. They list new job openings on the web, but also welcome job seekers to fill out applications in the store. Those applications are kept on file for 90 days and referred to when a job opens up. Each job offers a career path; current buyers and sales managers started off as cashiers. Mary’s is also proud of their alumni who have moved into other positions in the horse industry after working in the store.
So look for a Mary’s representative coming down the barn aisle with cookies and coupons this week at the Showpark Ranch & Coast Tournament. Visit their booth at the show or for the big shopping spree take a short walk from the showgrounds to their superstore. Too busy? You can always visit MarysTack.com.