Donna Prendergast grew up in New Jersey with parents who wouldn’t let her take riding lessons. Once she was old enough to make money from babysitting, she started paying for her own lessons. Now a resident of Marvin, NC for almost 33 years, Prendergast has a farm with her own horses, a “draft” cross (that isn’t actually a draft per the genetic testing Prendergast had done), an OTTB (off the track thoroughbred), and a pony (who is rotten!). Prendergast herself has ridden both English and Western over the years but now mostly trail rides.
She started the Waxhaw Tack Exchange with a partner in 1995 on Main Street in Downtown Waxhaw. Originally conceived of as a true exchange with consignment only items, the store eventually had to start carrying new items to keep up with demand. While still located in Waxhaw, the store is now wholly owned by Prendergast and is located around the corner from Main on South Church Street in an historic barn. Prendergast worked to build all the shelving and displays in the new location since it was just a shell when they moved in. Now around 80% of her business is new sales although a portion of the third floor is still reserved for consignment items.
The Waxhaw Tack Exchange stocks everything horse related. Saddles, bridles, helmets, boots, brushes, supplements, fly control, riding clothes, and the list goes on. They also have a wide array of non-riding fashion accessories including purses, home goods, fashion boots and clothes, and baby items. Walking into the store gives you the sense of being an explorer since Prendergast has used the space so well. Every wall is covered and every nook is utilized.
The Waxhaw Tack Exchange also has a list of all the local schooling stable’s supply lists. Each barn has their own requirements or recommendations for what the students can wear to ride and show in. Prendergast tries to make it as easy as possible to make sure that the parents and students get exactly what they need. She also has different sales throughout the year. Some are Facebook flash sales that are only advertised on the Waxhaw Tack Exchange Facebook page. Some are a beloved tradition including the Pajama Sale that happens the weekend before Thanksgiving.
During this sale, the store offers 40% off one item (some exclusions apply) to the customers who show up dressed in their PJs for the first hour and each additional hour offers a slightly smaller discount. The line for this sale stretches from the back door to the street and even wraps around the store some years. Prendergast and her associates have to count and limit the number of people they let in at a time.
Consignments are accepted by appointment only and Prendergast only takes items that are contemporary, usable, and in good shape.
She does not accept used helmets or other safety equipment for consignment. Consignment items are kept on the third floor for up to a year and a sliding scale is used to determine the percentages that the store and consignor keeps. At the end of the year, they will contact consignors for large ticket items and any items that are left are donated to local charities. Prendergast and the Waxhaw Tack Exchange support many local horse programs including Mighty Riders and Rideability.
Waxhaw Tack Exchange – 103 S. Church St., Waxhaw, NC 28173. 704-843-0474. Waxhawtackexchange.com