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The annual November issue of American Farriers Journal has been an important resource for the industry. Through the directory, farriers can access critical information on supplies and services within their practices. But this issue has long had a focus on delivering advice to help farriers improve their businesses.
While planning the business-focused content of this issue, my curiosity compelled me to look at the November issue 25 years ago. Paging through this issue several things struck me. I quickly recognized how many companies — some with great ideas, others with short-lived gimmicks — are now defunct. Their memories live on in dusty boxes hidden in supply shop storage or in their advertising in old issues of AFJ.
Once moving beyond the funeral for long-gone products, I turned my attention to the business advice in those pages.
An article by Editor Frank Lessiter featured personal research by the late Red Renchin. The Hall of Famer looked at his business records from 1970, about 25 years prior to this issue, to find his Wisconsin-based practice’s average rates. His average price for trims was $5, four shoes reset was $13 and four new shoes was $18.
Renchin’s prices jumped considerably by 1994 — well beyond cost of living increases and inflation. Twenty-five years later, his business had become focused on working with sport horses and clients who had high expectations for a skilled farrier to keep their horses in the show ring. Also, his investments into a…