Summit Feed owners buy Sportack
March 15, 2006
Sportack only opened in February, but already they’ve received a photo attached to an e-mail from a customer in Minnesota smiling next to her horse, showing off her deep brown coat dressed in her bright new teal BioThane Tack.
Dennis and Liisa Eikenberry, owners of Summit Feed and Pet Supply in Park City and Hi Valley Feed in Coalville, have acquired Sportack, a store that sells everything but food. At their new business, they sell bridles and breastcollars, padded long-distance stirrups and stowaway saddle packs for long trips nearly everything a long distance or trail rider might need for an extended trip on horseback.
The two bought the business from a friend last year. Approximately 95 percent of Sportack business is mail-order, with some orders sent all the way to India, Australia and South Africa. Local customers, however, can purchase items or custom order items at the business’ new headquarters at Silver Creek, and for the next few months will receive a 10 percent discount.
The Eikenberrys have worked in the horse industry and have been involved in long-distance riding since the late ’70s and early ’80s, managing Arabian horse farms, in Kentucky and Arizona. A decade ago, they decided to work for themselves and moved to Summit County to begin their own animal nutrition business.
"We are endurance riders and also we’ve just always loved this business," Liisa Eikenberry explained. "We wanted to stay in the horse business share our knowledge, and still work for ourselves the best of both worlds."
Dennis Eikenberry has crewed on four Pan-America Championship teams and last fall, he and his wife hosted a long distance competition in Flagstaff, Ariz. Distance rides can be 50 to 100-plus miles long, Eikenberry explains.
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Sportack sells riding helmets and gloves and merino sheepskin saddle covers, and stirrups with extra foam padding for comfort during competition rides. The Eikenberrys also offer Easyboots, an essential item for long-distance competitors, since horses will often lose a shoe in competition, according to Dennis Eikenberry.
One of the most popular Sportack products is the BioThane Tack, a polyurethane-coated polyester webbed product that can imitate leather, but can be cleaned by a hose or in the dishwasher. Colors range from red to silver and dayglow orange or dayglow pink, when ordered in translucent form. BioThane equipment is handmade and can include more than one color.
But the Eikenberrys point out that trail riding accounts for 80 percent of what horses do outside competitions, and emphasize their equipment is equally suitable for recreational riders.
"It’s important to everyday trail riders to have good, durable gear, not just for competitive riders," Dennis Eikenberry says, noting saddle bags can be used for packing a lunch for a day trip.
"If you live in Kentucky you know how big the horse industry is," notes Dennis Eikenberry, adding that more and more people are beginning to get into riding as a recreational activity in Summit County, with two additional trails added just last year.
When the Eikenberrys set out to work for themselves, they thought that perhaps they would have more free time. They soon found out that owners take their business to heart, Liisa Eikenberry says, and often work more hours.
"It’s just that we love horses," she says.
Sportack is located off S.R. 40’s Exit 2 at 6420 Business Loop Rd., Unit D. For more information, log onto http://www.Sportackk.com or call 800-248-8225. The company can also be contacted through e-mail at email@example.com.
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