A history by Janie Amdal
Why would we call ourselves the “Home of Comfy Fit Harness”?
Early in the spring of 1992 I began looking for manufacturer’s of products for miniature horses. After several months of searching I realized virtually nothing was available at all – I could find fewer than 5 manufacturer’s made products for what we now call VSEs.
Hopeful, I sent a letter to a small Amish shop who advertised miniature horse halters. I received a 2 page hand written note including the details and price list for the halters which they would provide for me. I was to contact them by calling the neighbor across the street who carried my messages to the “shop”. We agreed to work together to sell miniature horse “stuff,” and so began the www.chimacumtack.com website. We sold mini tack, and very quickly afterward Draft tack; There was no draft tack to be had on line then either.
That once-tiny Amish shop became Countryside Manufacturing as we continued to work together. We grew together and committed to one another to keep going. I promised never to just close Chimacum Tack. I was, and remain, committed to keeping Countryside going as long as I can. Since our first personal meeting in 1998 our families have become friends who feel more like family. We visit them and they visit us – how fortunate we all are.
What was one 10 x 20 ft wooden building that housed the workshop, supplies and retail store, now uses every inch of the same building, plus two 40 x 70 ft two story buildings which are connected via a 30 x 70 ft single story building. As I write this, another addition is coming to Countryside as they struggle to make room for the synthetic work collars which they developed and are now selling everywhere.
1992 is also the year we began working together to make a well-proportioned miniature horse buggy harness. I found customers to fit, try on, try out, critique harness, Countryside was willing to make what we wanted and so we began making harness. One of several people who helped develop Chimacum Mini Harness is Al Bulgawicz in Texas, who wanted a miniature horse Hungarian style pair harness – he helped us refine and develop mini harness for years. From single to pair to 4 up to Chimacum Sport to Comfy fit.
We had originally begun making leather harness but as the bioplastic industry came into its own we went from making only bridles from beta to tentatively trying it out for harnesses. That was about 1994 or 1995. We make biothane and betathane harnesses for equines from mini to draft sizes. For pleasure, work, parade, sport and show. We ship betathane harness around the world. Betathane harness dominates our business. I became exclusively a harness shop 10 years ago and about 5 years ago Countryside stopped making any leather harness and devote their resources and energy to just bioplastic harness in every style and size.
Where does Comfy Fit Harness fit in?
Dave McWethy started working with Countryside the same year (1992) I did, developing his design for Camptown harness, working with Countryside, just as I did. In the late 1990’s CDEs were beginning to take off, and I saw the need for a mini sport style harness. Dave and I talked together about how to accomplish what was needed. He and I were happy to work together and agreed that I’d do mini, pony and draft sport harness, while Dave continued to do Camptown just for horse sizes. The Chimacum Sport harness evolved for about 4 years. At that point Dave decided to sell Camptown Harness and move to Port Townsend, WA – 9 miles from Chimacum Tack in Chimacum, Washington. He arrived just months before we sold Chimacum Tack the shop and our home. Life has it’s quirks!
Once the new owner of Camptown decided to change harness makers in the early 2000’s, we (Countryside and Chimacum Tack) made a series of changes and upgrades to what was known as the Chimacum Sport Harness and Comfy Fit Harness was born. The rest is history, as they say.
Why would you want to buy Comfy Fit Harness – or any other harness from Chimacum Tack?
The most important thing about buying a harness is getting the right harness for your needs. The second most important thing is getting harness that fits and will last.
If you buy harness from Chimacum Tack it is guaranteed to fit and be the right harness for your needs. PERIOD. Some of our harness made and sold in 1993 and 1994 is still in use and holding up nicely. More of it may be out there, but I personally know of several that are earning their keep to this day.
We are proud to have a 25 year history of providing excellent customer service. We earned that reputation one customer at a time by taking time to be sure we knew what each customer wanted and/or needed.
If you buy harness from Chimacum Tack – even if you order it “off the shelf” on line I won’t ship harness to you until I am sure that what you ordered is what you actually want and will fit your animal. That is true for every harness we sell from a mini traditional betathane single pleasure harness to an 8 up of parade draft harness.
Once your harness arrives I expect every customer to let me know if there are any concerns or fit issues so that I can take care of them immediately. If you need help fitting I’ll walk you thru that process via e-mail, text, phone and pictures. If you received your harness and it somehow disappoints you I’ll walk you thru resolving that problem. We are a small, family owned business and we sell individually made harness with a long history of excellence and quality.
If you feel the harness will not provide what you need, I’ll take it back. I’ll walk you thru problem solving first but if we are not able provide what you want/need I’ll take it back.
If you are a new or not so experienced driver and have questions for which you can’t find answers I’ll help you personally and connect you with an “expert” who can help with your problem is you don’t have a driving network of your own.
If you find you need a replacement part after a period of time because of something that is not our issue (the mouse at my lines! The dog chewed the lining my mini’s saddle) I’ll be sure you get it quickly, the right size. If something fails on our harness and is a problem of the harness I’ll replace it.
My reputation as a business owner is worth more to me than the price of your harness. I treat each customer as I would prefer to be treated myself. Sometimes that is easy sometimes not quite so easy. That is, however, the rule I live by. And when I make mistakes customers generally treat me kindly as well.
Do you need another reason to buy harness from Chimacum Tack?
Once you order harness from Chimacum Tack your payment options include check, credit card, pay pal and payment plans which allow you to spread the cost of your purchase over 3 or 4 months if you prefer.
If you need to find a harness and don’t know what to ask, where to look or how to tell if you have found a bargain in a harness and wonder if you should buy it, I’ll help you figure it out. I didn’t expect to fill this role when I began 25 years ago knowing nothing about harness and not much about tack, but I’ve helped a lot of people sort out the whole complicated business of harness buying and I’m not tired of it yet!