Equestrian Blog

News and thoughts from around the equestrian community

Robinsons in South Africa

Earlier this month my wife  and I had the opportunity to visit South Africa for the very first time. It was more than just a vacation or find change of scenery.  It was to experience standing on top of Table Mountain, driving along the famous Garden Route to Port Elizabeth and spend four days being wowed by the sights in Blyde River Canyon.  But perhaps driving for a few hundred miles around Kruger National Park was surely the highlight of our trip. I could go on about the holiday and even bore you with dozens of unbelievable pictures, but to get back to business.  I felt the desire to share an ‘equestrian experience' with you.  For fifteen years we have been promising to visit our friends Roy and Darryl Gershow from Johannesburg, well we eventually did. I first met these great South African brothers when they agreed to become members of our international group of equestrian retailers.  The world Equestrian Alliance was formed in 1989 and now comprises of companies from Sweden, Germany, Canada, Australia and South Africa and of course ourselves who represent The UK and Ireland.  This small group of family owned and run businesses have retained a very close bond for all of those years and regularly exchange views and ideas about products and brands.  We meet quite regularly and make commercial trips to Asia and the Far East. We had a tremendous welcome in Jo’Burg (as it is affectionately known down there) and our visit to ‘The Western Shoppe’ was nothing short of spectacular. The Gershow's  created their first store here many years ago and now have other branches in Durban and Cape Town. They also operate a small wholesale business and recently introduce an on-line mail order business.  It was a pleasure to reacquaint ourselves and spend a little more time with Jane who keeps a very close eye on the other stores whilst getting involved in quite a lot of the product selection and buying. We also met Angelique the retail store supervisor who runs a very motivated and knowledgeable customer service team.  It was a great two day break from our hectic holiday schedule and fantastic to feel like I was back at home in the middle of a mechanising discussion whilst comparing notes on different brands of customer service demands.  It struck me that Tack shops are the same the world over but this one has that little bit of something which would  create  envy not just  with South Africa retailers but with many in the UK also. The Western Shoppe is something special and has a phenomenal reputation for saddles and saddle fitting.  It has the aura of a business which represents quality, and the appearance of an equestrian emporium which is steeped in tradition.   Roy and Darryl are very proud of this business and so they should be, just as I am proud that Robinson are associated with them.


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