MEET YOUR MERCHANT: ‘Unprofessional’ and proud
On the wall of what used to be storage shed hangs a rainbow of horse bridles. In the back room of the former shed, saddles are piled on top of saddles and in turn piled on top of all manner of homemade and cobbled-together saddle stands.
“We’ve got antique saddles, nice saddles, junky saddles, expensive saddles,” said Erin Stalnaker, co-owner of the Thrifty Equine, showcasing the entire gamut.
She runs the consignment-and-secondhand store for “horse people” with Lorie Wojtowicz, where they buy, sell and broker deals on equestrian equipment, from reins to 4-H show clothes. Wojtowicz said they started the store on a lark not quite three months ago.
“Erin and I were sitting on my patio and said we should open up a used-tack store, and it was a joke at first,” Wojtowicz said.
Three weeks later, on Aug. 1, they opened the Thrifty Equine, at 1501 Fairview Drive No. 16 in Carson City. They have no employees and no overhead, aside from rent, Wojtowicz said.
“There’s so many people getting rid of their horses, getting rid of their stuff, and there’s plenty of people getting into it, so it works,” Stalnaker said.
They joke that “we’re totally unprofessional,” and glad for it. They keep a coffee pot warmed for visitors and customers, who in turn need to navigate Wojtowicz’s three dogs and Stalnaker’s daughter.
“We’re here to get horse people to come in, come visit, have coffee and hang out,” Wojtowicz said.
Stalnaker said that having such a laid-back approach has helped her store become a hub for the equine community, with a tack board for things that people are seeking and the shopkeepers directing riders to hay sellers and horse trainers.
They’ve helped out customers by giving them books on riding or discounts on gear that’s better suited to the riding they want to do.
They even tell a story of paying $150 for a saddle they knew was worthless because an elderly woman came in trying to come up with cash to buy her granddaughter glasses.
“The truth is we do go the extra mile because we care about people,” Stalnaker said. “We care about the industry, and it’s fallen on its keister.”