Smart Pak sold

Advertising and Marketing?
Advertising and Marketing?

I’m not sure how i feel about this one. When the email showed up in my inbox I was kind of at a loss. I love Smart Pak and i’ve been vocal about that. I don’t want them to change. That doesn’t mean i don’t want them to grow but i really don’t want them to change. They are a very customer service oriented business, their customer service in the horse world is head and shoulders above most if not all. Their products are solid and i am a fan. I also enjoyed the fact that they were a small company, if you can call 350 employees small. I felt like they were all invested in their customers. With this acquisition by Henry Schein Animal Health i’m afraid that a lot of that will change. Oh not right away but when something like this happens its either to plunder or profit and both options means some changes to the end user are on the horizon for Smart Pak.

This deal is a big one im guessing though no finiachials have been disclosed but you know it is because there are three partys involved… Enter private equity. In this case its Oak Hill Capital Partners and you can bet they expect major return. Will that mean lay offs of personal to adjust balance sheets? Will it mean cuting corners on products to buff up the bottom line? or maybe all that amazing free shippig to barn buddies will slowly fade away. Who knows but you know it will mean change and usually when a deal is this big (i dont know why its not getting more press in the horsey world) The change is usually not very good. I will try not to be a naysayer and give it a wait and see attitude but mark my words… the times they are a changing for Smart Pak

7 thoughts on “Smart Pak sold

  • I apparently cannot read or don’t pay enough attention and assumed that SmartPak acquired another company. Bummer. I really hope that the company doesn’t change too much :/

  • Hi there!

    My name is Donnie Steele and I’m a SmartPaker and have proudly been so for the past seven years. I’m also fortunate enough to lead our Marketing team and work with so many amazing SmartPakers each and every day.

    Having read your thoughtful post and been warmed by your encouragement not to change what makes us great. While I can see where the concern about the acquisition might come from, I’m here to proudly proclaim there is nothing to worry about. The reason we were so excited to partner with Henry Schein Animal Health is that they place an equally high value on providing epic customer service. They like SmartPak for being SmartPak and want to see us continue to grow by providing as much value as possible to our riders.

    That means we’re keeping each and every one of our Customer Care representatives, as well as the rest of the SmartPak team! It also means there will be no changes to our free shipping programs (that includes Barn Saver!), free returns, 100% Happiness Guarantee, ColiCare or our Guaranteed to Work program. Thinking about it… it actually requires more time to list every thing that WON’T change compared to what will, which is to say we’re going to stay the same great company.

    Thinking about the private equity concern, I totally understand the perception there, but would like to note that we’ve almost always had private equity involved – and we’re so much better for it. We think we’ve found a partner in Oak Hill Capital Partners that will provide the same amazing support we have thoroughly enjoyed from North Bridge Growth Equity over the past seven years. As an example of the pro-consumer mindset, North Bridge was in ardent support of our rider-focused policies like free shipping, free returns and the SmartSupplement “Guaranteed to Work” program – all programs that are diametrically opposed to the concept of penny pinching. Much like North Bridge, Oak Hill has a great reputation for supporting companies with those same types of decisions, ensuring growth is built by making your company invaluable to your customers.

    We live for healthy horses and happy riders and we are very excited to have found a home that will allow us to continue that mission for a long time. Hopefully my note helps to ease some of the concerns and know we’re always listening and want to hear about what we’re doing well as well as what we could be doing better.

    Thank you so much for all of your support!


    p.s. To Mrs. Williams, we will in fact be changing the number of Supplement & Horse Care Guides we write every year – we’re going to produce more! 😉

    • myexracer

      Thanks for your comment Donnie and for addressing my blog post of concerns over the change of ownership at Smartpak. I appreciate you taking the time.

      • I didn’t even think “acquisition” when I got the email. My biz brain didn’t even go there! I thought “merger”, which in my limited experience means more culling of the crap and the best of both worlds (ideally, at least, and generally with a bunch of growing pains).

        Pretty freaking nifty that they commented!

  • I actually used to work there (and specifically for Donnie who posted above, which brought a smile to my face). I felt the same way you do, but there are some very great people that I worked with who are still there and extremely capable of continuing to do great things with the company.

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