Saturday, April 16th, was the grand opening of Florida Rodeo Inc; a local animal supply and western store at which you can grab anything from your basic or complex rodeo needs, to equine supplements, feed, accessories or a little something for the tiny cowboy or cowgirl in your life.
There was a bounce-house, corn-hole tournament, prize give-aways, along with other local vendors, companies and figures packing out the store & its parking lot for a day filled with fun, laughter & support for a fantastic local business.
I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the owners Tammi Pettis for a few minutes before the official start time of the grand opening and discovered an even greater respect and admiration for her than I already currently had. Tammi is an acquaintance, whom I have watched at many local barrels and seen footage of her running at pro-rodeo and bigger shows. She is an incredible woman who the light of the Lord lovingly shines through her and her family. She does everything with passion and love for God and I don’t think she ever meets a stranger.
Here was our interview:
International Cowgirl: What ignited the spark to start a new business venture and/or make significant changes to your existing business?
Florida Rodeo: I owned Florida Rodeo with my original partner Stephanie Snyder. It was just a website. We did web shipping and sell items at the local barrel races. Then in 2013, I got with my current partner, Janet, and her and I were just talking one day and we were like, wouldn’t it be cool to have a store? We knew it cost a lot of money to open a store so we came together as partners, scheduled a flight to Denver, went to the show, spent thousands and thousands of dollars, bought inventory, came back, found a location over in Edgewater and opened the store. It stayed there until December of 2015, then we relocated to Lake Helen and it’s been GREAT since we moved here! But the whole reason for the store was Janet’s daughter Sarah, started barrel races, I barrel race on pro level and we were going to these local western stores and you couldn’t find a shirt that tucked in, or boots that WE liked unless we drove all the way to the other side of Orlando or down South somewhere because it was catering more to the bar scene and the biker scene…because that’s what sells. So we decided that we are going to cater to barrel racers and rodeo. Our clothes are a little higher priced but they are what WE [as barrel racers] wear; so you can always find a shirt that tucks in, yet you can be cute and stylish, and there is always square-toed boots! We cater to cowgirls!
IC: What motivates you?
FR: Just the love of the sport. We love rodeo and we love working with people. I am also a realtor, wait tables at night, train horses…we are always busy but really just the love of the sport and to be able to have a place for people to come and buy nice stuff for their horses and we have stuff for all budgets from beginner to $500 sets of tack.
IC: How do you generate new ideas?
FR: A lot of input from outsiders, we know a lot of people who say “Oh, I’d love to see this in your store”…Janet is VERY creative and she hand-makes a lot of stuff; jewelry and stuff like that but for the most part we got out to shows and we see stuff. I was at Sabra’s Turkey Run back in November and one of the vendors who was there had great tack. Trailer Trash, he was called. I went right up to him and asked “do you do dealerships?” and hence we why we now have Trailer Trash Tack in our store. You know, we see nice stuff and if people like it, you wanna sell it for .
(IC Side note: the Trailer Trash tack that was in the store is INCREDIBLE! see below)
IC: How do you build a successful customer base?
FR: Customer service….yup….customer service. 100%.
IC: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
FR: Carolyn Hope…she’s not with us anymore. She really got my drive for barrel racing and for rodeo, that is all accredited to her. I could have cared less about a rodeo, and Carolyn said, no, you need to try this and she was right and I was good at it and it was all because of her.
IC: What is your favourite aspect of being a business owner?
FR: Just being able to help people find things and make things accessible for people and just interacting with people in general. It feels good to make people happy.
IC: What do you attribute most to your success?
FR: My mother! To this store???? My mother…she is here running the store Monday to Saturday 10am to 7pm. She really keeps it going. It is a family ordeal for sure. My husband and son support me 100% also. Janet supports it 100% – we all come together and we make it happen.
IC: What are your hobbies and what do you do in your non-work time?
FR: We go pretty hard but I love horses, I love to rodeo, I also love to spend time with my family. Me and the boys (husband Rick and son Wyatt), we will go four-wheeling…anything to spend time with my boys. That is my biggest thing.
So if you are in need of some functional and super cute rodeo clothing, Florida Rodeo is your place to go. They also have everything you need for your horse from tack and accessories, to supplements and feed. As a horse owner herself, of many horses, she knows that those four-legged babies come first in our lives and we love to spoil them!
Check them out on Facebook Florida Rodeo Inc – Facebook or on stop by and check them out. They are located at 360 S Lakeview Dr, Suite 1, Lake Helen, FL, 32744. Also, if you are at one of the local barrel shows in or around the area, they can bring your items out to you if you give them enough heads-up of course.