After nearly 30 years, Janie Amdal is passing along the proverbial reins to the next drivers of Chimacum Tack!
After transferring ownership of the business in 2016 to her daughter, Maren Amdal, Janie has continued to support long-time friends and tack customers around the world. And this year, she is finally retiring! With the incredible help and support of Mindy, Kirsty, Amie, Dave and the rest of the Chimacum Tack Team, Maren has all the pieces in place to keep this family business rolling for many years to come.
Janie recalls about her journey with our business:
Chimacum Tack has been much more than a Tack Shop for me, it’s been a lifestyle.
My husband David had an Antique Store forever, and when we moved to Chimacum, WA it moved with us. In 1992, I was teaching school fulltime, David had his antique shop on our property in Chimacum but needed to do less physical furniture restoration work. There were 2 tack shops in our area: one was 55 miles away in Port Angeles, WA and the other was 40 miles the other way in Poulsbo, WA.
The shop in PA was a western shop and wanted nothing to do with a little round schoolteacher in a jumper. The shop in Poulsbo was an English shop and couldn’t be bothered with me either. After the shop keeper in Poulsbo turned her back on me and ignored me until I left one afternoon, I thought to myself, “I already have a store and a storekeeper, right behind the barn,” and I went home and told David we were opening a tack shop.
We didn’t know much, but we knew how to be polite and we knew only to sell quality products, and American-made goods as much as possible. David built a 12’x16′ extension onto the antique shop building, and that became Chimacum Tack Shack. One wall, 8’x12′ and two saddle racks. By the time we sold the business and our home in 2006, Chimacum Tack occupied all but 10 feet of our 60 x 120 ft. shop building and we were out of space.
David ran the shop, and spoiled the customers with coffee, cookies, and crazy stories. He also drove school bus for Chimacum Schools and drove an ambulance as a volunteer for the Chimacum Fire Department. I did the ordering, advertising, bookkeeping, planning and website orders. I also taught school full time and spent 10 years on the local Chimacum School board while teaching in Poulsbo, WA. Our first shop catalogs were made and mailed from home, with Maren helping me to print and staple them at the dining table, printing mailing labels and sticking stamps with girl scout friends!
Patric, our son, built the first website as a college project, I think in 1993. When I asked him what we would put on it he said, “What about that Mini stuff you sell?” So that’s what we did. We sold mini “stuff” and then soon after, we added draft “stuff” because almost no one sold either of those things online (or anywhere else) in 1993. Within a week of the site being active I had callers asking for draft stuff… It made sense to them that if we could find mini, we could find draft, too! There was only one other site that had mini tack at that point and draft tack was almost impossible to find. The woman who started draft tack website began as my customer and we figured out together what we should each sell to complement each other’s shops.
I had found our harness maker by way of an online ad in a vendor magazine, saying he made mini halters. He agreed to make mini halters for me, and told me that if I could get measurements for him to make patterns, he thought he could make mini harness as well. That was 29 years ago!
Maren built the next several websites and managed to help when we needed, even as her own career developed. She now owns Chimacum Tack as part of our promise to the harness shop to keep it going into the future.
David and I stuck to our plan and to sell high-quality American-made tack, with very few exceptions. We are lucky to have worked with just one harness maker who has been “family” now for many years. His business has grown with ours, and our promise to him has been to continue as long as he continues. Our vendors are few, the best Harness shop, Collar Shop, Blacksmith Shop and Bit maker we can find, and we have worked with all of them for many years.
My only personal e-mail until a week ago has been firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing it was strangely final for me.
We’ve had more than 30,000 customers over the years, and all the online customers dealt directly with me until 2018. I’ve spent thousands of hours, had phone conversations with all sorts of customers and potential customers, in-person visits from people all over the country (and world!) who came to “visit Chimacum Tack”. Chimacum Tack’s internet business was truly just me for more than 20 years. I’ve made lifetime friends with people we met at horse shows across the country hauling tack.
I officially retired as a reading specialist in June, 2002. Chimacum Tack simply filled in the space, becoming my second career. Twenty years later, at age 74, I’m ready to retire from Chimacum Tack.
What will I do? That’s a question I’ve thought about for years. I am ready to have more time to do as I please.
I intended to learn to play the dulcimer when I turned 55. It’s certainly time to do that.
I’ve been picking away at family genealogy research for about 20 years and want to do much more of that. Several women in my family have written stories about their lives, and I have a long list of stories to write. I’ve been fascinated with history all my life and part of my interest in genealogy is to learn more about the history of our family, what they did, where they lived, how life was like for them.
I’m working on a cookbook family history with stories about the recipes and family activities.
I want to travel more than I’ve been able to in the past several years. I love to read, and walk with my dog.
I am also part of an intergenerational household and consequently involved with raising a 10-year-old grandson. My day-to-day activities are focused around the needs of our household. I need to be physically active so that I can try to live to be as old as my favorite Auntie who died at 101.
I’ve loved having Chimacum Tack and our many, many HorseDrivers in my life. I’ve learned so much from so many people and had the opportunity to get to know people with varied backgrounds and interests from several counties. Chimacum Tack opened doors for me to become involved with remarkable craftsmen who have become part of our extended family. It opened doors for me to meet fascinating people around the world, some of whom have become dear friends. It has also provided purpose and required focus on the things which are important.
So, I’m officially retired – but I’ll never really leave Chimacum Tack.