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Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014

Not just horsing around: Couple turns interest into new business

Sunday, August 28, 2005

(Photo)
Stan Harris and Pam Maddox-Harris stand inside their business Halfcrack Tack.
SIKESTON - It is a small business, with a small sign at the front gate leading customers to a small building behind the house. But owners Stan Harris and Pam Maddox-Harris have big dreams for their new venture, Halfcrack Tack.

The couple opened the business as a way to offer new and used gear for those interested in horses. Currently the shop is filled with saddles, bridles and lead ropes hanging from the wall and blankets stacked along the tables. The shelves are laden with medicine and bandages used to take care of horses and gift items and T-shirts to please riders of all ages.

"You can find practically anything you need to ride horses," observed Harris about their business.

"And we try to get items inexpensive enough so we can pass the lower prices on," added Maddox-Harris.

To do this, the couple go to dealer auctions where they can find a large selection and a range of prices. Harris explained they try to maintain their inventory to meet the wide range of interest by Southeast Missourians in horses. Currently the store offers saddles for ponies, roping, barrel racing, trail riding and even for miniature ponies.

And while they have sought to keep prices low, the selection includes many name brands. Maddox-Harris points out names like Billy Cook, Hereford, Big Horn and Bonnie Allen along with fancy silver work typical of a Mexican saddle.

"The last 10 years, the horse population seems to have increased throughout the area, why you even are seeing houses around the area with corrals in the back yards. We try to have a selection of new and used gear that people will need," he said.

Many of the saddles are on stands, enabling a customer to climb into the saddle to test it out. "We want the buyer to sit in the saddle to see if it feels comfortable or not. If you are sitting a couple of hours in a saddle, you best make sure it is comfortable," said Harris.

Also they will offer advice about fit, pointing out not only must a saddle fit the rider, but also the horse. "We want the customer to be happy," said Maddox-Harris. "We will work with them to find out what will work best."

As part of meeting customer needs, on Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Halfcrack Tack will host a swap meet. They are inviting area residents to bring horses (which must have a negative Coggins paper to be allowed on the property) or trailers to their business. Already Harris said about five others have expressed interest in taking part.

"That way the buyers can meet the sellers and learn a little more about the animals," he explained.

Store hours at Halfcrack Tack are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment. While only open on weekends, the Harrises agreed business has been good since starting up April 2.

Sometimes it is word from a satisfied customer which has brought another customer to their store and occasionally even the sign has drawn visitors off the Interstate.

"We had a woman and her daughter from Georgia who saw the sign and bought a saddle," noted Harris. "Another guy who was at the rodeo stopped in and we talked and talked. That's one of the things I like about this business, you can talk to someone and make a friend."

Halfcrack Tack is located at 3126 N. H Outer Road Rear (or as the Harrises like to point out just north of the Sikeston Dragstrip.) The telephone number is 471-2881.