“Best of Blenheim – A Closer Looke” with Mary’s Tack & Feed
Throughout the 2022 Blenheim EquiSports show season, alongside photographer Amy McCool, we’ll be taking “a closer looke” at many of the best of Blenheim, from riders and trainers to the individuals and companies that are integral to the shows’ success – and perhaps even to a few horses!
This week, we took a closer looke at one of our incredible vendor sponsors, Mary’s Tack & Feed!
This year, Mary’s Tack & Feed is sponsoring Blenheim’s 1.20m Open Jumper Classics and the Young Hunter Classics, as well as providing additional first-place prizes, so we caught up with General Manager Juls Lorenz to learn more about Mary’s and the company’s involvement at Blenheim.
How long have you worked for Mary’s Tack & Feed?
Juls: I pretty much grew up here. I’ve worked here for 25 years.
I know there aren’t a lot of people that work that long anywhere anymore. We actually have a lot of old timers at Mary’s. I started here 25 years ago in sales and cashiering and worked up through management, middle management, and our general manager retired two and a half years ago. That’s when I stepped into the role of general manager, but it takes a village. We have a really strong team of people who have been here for many years. You’d be surprised. We have a team of buyers who have been here anywhere from seven to 17 years.
What do you think it is about Mary’s that makes everyone want to remain a part of it for so long?
Juls: Gosh, it’s not a short answer. There are so many things I love about Mary’s. I think everyone who works here is grateful to work with a group of people who all share the same passion. That’s the most obvious thing.
Whether it’s Western, English, or just having a horse to care for, we definitely all love horses, and they’ve had some profound impact on our life. Everybody here, horses are a critical aspect of their life in some way, and it’s nice to work with people who all share that understanding.
I believe too – especially having worked here for so long and knowing our customers that come from every element of horse world, whether it’s very top-notch, professional, grand prix-level show jumpers to grand prix-level dressage to backyard moms just trying to give their kids something great in their childhood – horse people are hard workers. They’re dedicated people, and they can roll with the punches.
Why does Mary’s choose to be a vendor at Blenheim EquiSports?
Juls: It gives us an opportunity to get in the element with our customer, really be there onsite in their element. We have a lot of customers that are repeat regular customers that we know from the store, so it’s really exciting to be onsite and have them ride by on their horse.
Just being in the element with the customer is great. It’s also really rewarding for staff. It’s a big boost to be here helping customers, and then get to go and be in the middle of why we’re doing all this in the first place.
What can shoppers find at the Mary’s Tack & Feed vendor booth here at Blenheim EquiSports?
Juls: We have such a wide diversity of brands. We have a team of four buyers, and we try really hard to carry what people are looking for – what’s trending, what’s popular, what’s new, and what’s on the rise. We just try to keep the best quality stuff that we can. We have all the boutique brands, all the Italian brands that are hot right now, Cavalleria Toscana; we have Struck as a new brand that we just started carrying. We have Animo, Kingsland, and we also carry a lot of really good, entry-level price points. We always try to carry the best quality that we can of any price point. We now have Parlanti, which was something that a lot of people had been asking for. We do now carry their boots, as well as DeNiro.
Every time we’re at the booth that person working the booth is at the store in the morning and usually is going to the store after the booth, so we can always bring up other things. So if somebody’s like, ‘Oh man, I saw that you have KASK, but you didn’t have my size!’ If we have it at the store, we’ll bring it up.
What’s something people might not know about Mary’s Tack & Feed?
Juls: There is something that I think is kind of a best-kept secret, but we’re not trying to make it a secret! We have a bit demo program. We have an unprecedented inventory of bits, as far as selection and brands and styles. As long as it’s a metal bit – not rubber or plastic or leather sponge – we let anyone test it out. They can pay $10 and ride it for a whole week. It’s so hard to know until you’ve had a couple rides to see how your horse is responding. So, we have a bit demo program which has become wildly popular for our online customers.
Another little tidbit that a lot of people don’t know, because it is pretty new is that Mary’s is an ESOP, an employee stock ownership program. So when you work here, there’s a vesting schedule, and if you’re here long enough, that’s a retirement benefit. It’s money put away. You are a part owner basically of shares of the company, and when you leave vested that money is yours.
Juls: Just that we plan to stay involved with the equestrian community, the competitive community, and we want to do whatever we can to provide quality. We just want to keep doing what we’re doing and do it the best we can!
Be sure to stop by Mary’s Tack & Feed onsite here at Blenheim EquiSports throughout the season, or make a visit to their store, located less than an hour away in Del Mar!