Linda and Frank Chick have weathered the changing business climate over the past 30 years to create what is now a successful tack and equipment store for horses. Chicks Discount Saddlery has been a staple for horse owners and riders in the State of Delaware since 1975, but the real story of success is not only their current prosperity but the way Frank and Linda have adapted to the various changes in business through four different decades.
The foundation of Chick’s was set in the early 1970’s by Frank Chick as he began to sell saddles and tack from the back of his pickup truck to horse enthusiasts from Maine to Florida. In 1980, Chick’s opened its current location in Harrington, Delaware, across from the Delaware State Fairgrounds, and began to focus their efforts on local businesses and individuals as well as their faithful buyers across the eastern seaboard .
“At this point we started to see more and more people buying from us for horse riding and not just for the purpose of harness racing,” commented Linda Chick. “Now we cover every disciplines of riding.”
From the simple beginnings of selling horse equipment from the back of a truck, Frank and Linda moved to the utilization of mailed catalogue and 800 numbers to expand their client base in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The decision to make that move created so much demand that Chick’s began to manufacture their own horse halters, leads, padding and blankets.
It was the change of the 1990’s and 2000’s business model, however, that created the most progressive change as companies began to advertise and sell their products through a new invention called the internet. Now considered a “click and mortar” business, having a store located on real property and online, Chick’s adapted with the next big change.
“It was really an exciting time,” commented Linda. “We decided to develop an online store when the internet was still pretty young and now our online store accounts for 73 percent of our business.”
As the next decade begins, Chick’s is once again adapting its services to their clients by joining the new age of social media where customers can easily interact with the business and each other from their own home. One thing that has not changed over the past three decades has been their dedication to creating and maintaining personal relationships with their customers.
“We have made some significant changes but it has always been important for us to keep a personal relationship with our customers,” commented Linda. “We have a really good group of people that know the product and ride horses so they are really able to help people.”
As the decades have passed, Frank and Linda have been able to grow despite difficult economic climates and the evolution of several changes in the tradition business model. Looking forward, Linda and Frank consider themselves lucky that their children are very involved in the business and anxious to take over. To sustain their success Chick’s will undoubtable face more challenges as the foundation of modern business continues to change.