Local businessman Jack Van Dell is hoping to bridge the gap between equestrians in the community and the businesses that serve them. In August, Van Dell, owner of Van Dell Jewelers in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach, founded the Wellington Equestrian Business Group to cater to businesses and customers related to or involved in the equestrian industry.
With years of experience in the western communities and the equestrian world, Van Dell understands the needs and wants of the area. For years, he has witnessed a need for cohesiveness in the equestrian community, and the Wellington Equestrian Business Group is his solution to this problem. For Van Dell, there has been nothing like it in the community before.
“It’s something that has been needed in this community for a very long time,” he said. “Nothing really addresses the needs of people doing business with all the equestrians.”
The equestrian market is a particular one, according to Van Dell. “It’s very deep, very wealthy and filled with very nice people, and no one is catering to them,” he said. “They make up half of my customers, and I’m sure during the season they make up half the customers of all the restaurants and every other business around here.”
Business members of the Wellington Equestrian Business Group receive a decal, which is placed on their storefront window. The decal lets customers know that the business accepts the Preferred Equestrian Courtesy Card. With this free card, available at any one of the merchant locations or through the group’s web site, customers are able to receive specials and promotions. “We’re going to put these cards in the hands of all the owners, riders, groomers, trainers and anybody who is or has an interest in the equestrian industry,” Van Dell said.
All they have to do is look for the businesses that are members and present the cards when they are shopping. “Anybody could get a card, even non-equestrian-related clients without any horses but who want to support the equestrian industry,” Van Dell said.
Merchants that are part of the group will have their own promotions and specials. “The perks will vary depending on what is indicative of that business,” Van Dell said.
Cardholders are able to view a list of participating businesses on the merchant directory, posted on the Wellington Equestrian Business Group’s web site, www.wellingtonequestrianbusiness.com. “On there, customers are able to view who the businesses are, where they are located and what promotions they offer,” Van Dell said.
The group’s web site also offers a list of equestrian and polo events scheduled in the community.
Wellington Equestrian Business Group’s purpose is to constantly enhance the services available to its merchants, Van Dell said. Starting in November, the group will offer monthly business meetings that will assist merchants in catering more to equestrians.
“I’m going to be inviting a different person every month who deals with equestrians, such as marketing people, Olympic riders, owners of big barns and trainers to make the merchants familiar with equestrian issues,” he said.
The Wellington Equestrian Business Group will also host events that attract equestrians or people who are interested in horses. One upcoming project will consist of an art gallery filled with 5,000 square feet of equestrian art.
To become a member, business owners will have to pay $200 per year, but as a promotion for new members, the first 100 merchants receive 50 percent off the membership fee. “So all they have to pay is $100 for the first year to become a member, which is really good,” Van Dell said.
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Above: Wellington Equestrian Business Group founder Jack Van Dell.