The Tack Box, Inc. is now celebrating 70 years of service to the equestrian community.
From humble Middleburg beginnings The Tack Box has grown to be a significant equestrian resource, providing racing bridles, saddles, sale halters, stable equipment and more for horse enthusiasts and professionals not only here, but in DC, Maryland, New York, and beyond.
The Tack Box, Inc. was established in 1947, by horse transport owner Mr. John B “Chub” Lee. Chub grew up in the area and regularly rode his pony to school. Later in life, as his mother was a successful show hunter and racehorse trainer, he realized there was a need to provide quality tack and leather products for local thoroughbred breeding and racing farm owners.
Chub built his business around two important values: client satisfaction and the ability to deliver a broad range of quality leather goods at a reasonable price.
With just one Chevrolet panel truck at the start, Chub traveled as far as Charlottesville and Charlestown, West Virginia to reach his customers and deliver goods. Gradually, through dedication and honest efforts, the Tack Box gained a positive reputation throughout the region.
As seasonal racing clients moved with the circuit to Kentucky and Saratoga, their requests to The Tack Box did not diminish.
As the business grew, so did the type of customers the new business served. Fox hunters show hunters, and jumpers, professionals, and amateurs alike, looked to the Tack Box for equipment and supplies.
After three years of transecting the State with his “mobile” service, Chub hired Saddler, Bill Ballard, from Stombocks in Washington DC and established The Tack Box’s first brick-and-mortar physical location. A garage-sized space on Liberty Street in Middleburg was shared with the Wilson Horse Transport office. In those days Middleburg Saddlery (located on Madison St) was the only other option in town, and that store focused on clothing and apparel.
As theTack Box clientele grew, so did the inventory and so did the reach. By the early 70s, Chub had the opportunity to buy Middleburg Saddlery, making The Tack Box a full-fledged apparel, leather goods, repair and tack store.
By the mid-1970’s, saddler Bill was looking to retire therefore an apprentice would be needed. Chub found just the right candidate doing leatherwork in Fairmont WV and got him to join The Tack Box. Chuck Pinnell spent his time apprenticing under Bill Ballard until he purchased the repair division of The Tack Box to start his own business, Journeymen Saddlers. Chuck proved to be a valuable addition to the Middleburg equestrian retail community. This unique relationship between Journeymen and The Tack Box continued to strengthen throughout the years, as The Tack Box provided customers to Journeymen’s repair and leather design services.
In 1985, the Tack Box moved to its current location on 7 West Federal St., in Middleburg. (Where it is today.) With the market changing and a new type of customers coming in, Chub realized it was time to transition the reins of the company over to his daughter Berk Lee.
Berk grew up on her family’s farm in the Plains Virginia and was an avid equestrian. She regularly hunted with Orange County, showed hunters and jumpers and has worked in various aspects of The Tack Box business since 1978. Today, Berk is an integral part of the day-to-day operations. Her knowledge and experience provide a unique aspect for all clients. From saddle fits and boot measurements to horse management and health, Berk’s perspective comes from firsthand experience. Today, if Berk is not at The Tack Box, your best bet is to find her on the back of a horse or riding her motorcycle.
The longevity of The Tack Box is built around incorporating best practices and client-oriented services to deliver quality products at a competitive price. Those values remain the cornerstone of the company, management, and staff today. Over the years, the product portfolio may have expanded, but the commitment has held strong.
Under Berk’s leadership, the company continues to evolve. Stepdaughter, Laura Furr has been involved for the better part of 15 years now and has come to know that horse and rider safety, barn management and new technological innovation are a focus. The company continues to leverage vendor expertise with new equipment to provide a portfolio of top-quality products to keep riders and horses safe, competitive, more effective and happier. Each day, every product is selected with the customer in mind. Every Tack Box employee represents the horse community at large.
Over the past few years, The Tack Box has expanded their online footprint. The active online webstore provides customers with a 24/7 connection. The Tack Box team also is educated and well versed in a wide range of disciplines. Each visit to the store provides resources in the areas of saddle fit, rider boot measurements, attire, and horse-blanketing, and more. These services help to ensure convenient shopping & maximize client satisfaction. Also, the store now provides a full-service shop with other integral services (i.e. blanket cleaning, clipper blade sharpening & repairs, custom boot fittings, horse vacuum repairs, saddle fittings, custom stall fittings & horse clothing).
The Tack Box’s primary goal has been to deliver a one-stop shop for equestrians. With 70 years under its girth, it has achieved the result. And although the panel truck is long gone, we’re still willing to deliver to the locals.
Exceptional value, extraordinary service, it is The Tack Box difference! Middleburg may always be the home of the Tack Box, but the community it serves goes well beyond the location.
From a Corporate Social Responsibility standpoint, The Tack Box has always supported local school events, horse shows, and therapeutic riding programs. Organizations such as the Middleburg Humane Foundation continue to be a passion for Berk and the store employees. Following Hurricane Katrina, Berk and husband Jim joined MHF in Mississippi and then New Orleans to provide medicine, supplies and feed and more to the rgios. The MHF team was there for several days each trip helping with the rescue effort and brought back many dogs, cats and a hamster looking for new homes. In fact, the Tack Box’s unofficial mascot, Mike the cat, was rescued from Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Fun, entertaining and a celebrity, he has a large Facebook following!
With a deep commitment to the community, The Tack Box will always be horsemen serving horsemen…wishing everyone, the Community, and all our horses a safe, healthy ride!