BIBLE HILL – Katie MacDonald-Farris says her store has been thrown into turmoil in the wake of the news that Truro Raceway will close this Sunday.
She opened Greenhawk Harness and Equestrian Supplies, just behind the raceway in Bible Hill, in 2009.
“Standard breed is a huge part of our business,” she said. “I don’t have an exact per cent of what it is, but it’s a huge per cent and this has caused some nervousness in the store.”
MacDonald-Farris originally opened a Greenhawk franchise in Halifax nine years ago in Sackville and she said it was a natural move for her to expand to Truro.
“Everybody kept saying you need a store in Truro, you need a store in Truro,” she said.
“It made sense because it meant we would have 300 horses right in our backyard.”
In the store, business was busy although the mood was somber the day after the announcement.
“It’s upsetting, really upsetting,” said Carolyn Scully, saleswoman at the store.
“It’s disappointing for the customers. I know a lot of people who work at the track and it’s all they’ve ever done. They’re shocked and they don’t know what they’re going to do. It’s such little notice, that’s the thing.”
Katie Hamilton, who also works at the shop, agrees.
“It’s all we can think about here. When our standard breed customers come in we just ask, ‘how are you doing?’” she said.
“This morning we’ve had customers coming in asking if we’d heard anything. The horse community here is really tight.”
Tom MacLean, manager of Clarence Farm Services Ltd. in Truro, said his company, until now, sold about 150 tonnes of feed to horses at the raceway every year.
“We’ve sent a delivery truck every Friday for the past 15 or 20 years,” he said.
MacLean added the feed he sells to them doesn’t make up a huge portion of the business he does, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t feeling the loss of the raceway at the store.
“We’ll survive, but we’ll miss it,” he said “I can tell you, I’ve been in a bit of a funk today.”
Although he’s disappointed about the news, he still sees a ray of hope for the raceway and said he has seen that same hope in customers at his store.
“We had a family come in just this morning who race,” he said.
“The wife was almost in tears over (it) and the husband was like, ‘it’s gonna stay open, we’ll figure something out.’ So that’s 180 degrees of difference in attitude in a single family.”
Over at McNutt Trailer Sales, owner Wallace McNutt was more interested in the survival of Truro Raceway than he was of his business.
“I think the track is still viable,” he said. “But they have to start from scratch with new management who’s interested in it.”
McNutt said he’s offered help to the exhibition committee but they never return his phone calls.
“I’ve offered to sponsor races. Never got a call back. Everything I’ve ever offered they say, ‘no, you can’t do that.’ I tell you what - if I came here with that attitude I wouldn’t sell a single thing.”
As for his business, McNutt figures the closure of the raceway won’t impact it much.
“If anything it might help business if people have to transport their horses out of town,” he said.