Red Barn Feed and Saddlery: Small Business has Big Advantage
From the Daily News.
Red Barn Feed and Saddlery, originally known as Reseda Feed, began serving the equestrian community in the San Fernando Valley in the 1950’s. In 1985 the current owners bought the business and with the Valley rapidly becoming more residential and less rural they decided to expand it to include a complete line of dog and cat food and supplies.
Today, Red Barn has three locations and is one of the lowest priced, most complete animal and pet care retail stores in the state. With a comprehensive inventory and services, the business attracts movie studios and animal specialists who depend on Red Barn to help care for dogs, cats, horses, elephants, monkeys, giraffes, camels, and any other animal in the entertainment menagerie.
Red Barn thrives as a family run operation with a staff that is passionate and highly knowledgeable on animal care. Large on-site barns provide the opportunity to buy quantities that enable Red Barn to offer a variety of products and prices lower than at big-box discount pet stores for dog, cat, and bird care staples. As a small business; decisions on products can be made instantaneously, without having to work through a corporate hierarchy.
Red Barn can run at a low margin, with low overhead, and make recommendations to customers not on behalf of the store or the products we’re selling, but on behalf of the customers’ pets. All of this has resulted in loyal customers, many who have been shopping at the home store on Oxnard for more than 25 years.
Another key to Red Barn’s success is the dedication of the more than two dozen employees who work at the main store and three satellite stores. Red Barn Feed Too in West Hills opened in 2004; Red Barn Also, in Granada Hills opened in 2008 and Red Barn Express opened in North Hollywood in 2010.
“Some of the employees have been here for the entire 25 years I’ve owned the store,” the owner said. “Everyone who works here has a deep affection and concern for animals. It’s not so much a job as it is a way of life.”
Red Barn doesn’t sell live animals, with one exception. The owners have a special affection for chickens, having raised them in their youth and selling eggs during the lean times of World War II. Therefore, live baby chicks are always for sale at the Tarzana store. There is also a special “brokering” area for chickens, pigeons, ducks, and geese dropped off by customers who can no longer keep them and the Red Barn staff works diligently to find them new homes.