Irene, have you spoken directly with Randy regarding shipping charges to TSC in NH? The reason I ask is because my extensive experience with store managers at several TSC is that they don't know what they are talking about. TSC, IMO, has a real problem with supply chain , ordering, and communication. In other words, I wouldn't believe what they are telling you , and it's not because they are deliberately lying, but because their entire communication structure between stores and warehouses is really poor.
Again, without talking to Randy to confirm, so I'm not certain, but I can't imagine Anderson feeds can ship west of the Mississippi at no charge. His distribution of Stabul 1 is into the TSC system, he does not have a distribution system himself. As I mentioned in an earlier post on this subject, shipping costs are major drivers of costs on feed, along with distributors. A great example is the first time I used soy hull pellets for a carrier. I asked my local feed store if they could order in a bag. They had to do some sleuthing , but finally found that they could order them through Sysco. So when I got the bag, it was $17. Curious to know where it was from, the tag on the bag said Republic Mills in Okalona, Ohio. That mill is located about 90 miles from me. They have a website and sell retail out the mill itself. Price to buy soy hull pellets directly from them , with me driving the three hour round trip? $7 a bag. The charges between the mill and my feed store are shipping costs, distributor costs and mark up at the feed store. Everyone along the way has to make something akin to a profit.
I met Randy at the Ohio horse Expo a couple of years ago , as he was manning his Stabul 1 booth with samples, flyers, etc. They are a small family run operation whose business primarily is formulating and selling feeds to zoos. I asked him then the same questions you are asking about marketing, etc. and he said that as a small business, he is doing the best he can to market and works through social media and word of mouth to get demand for his product. I personally think the Chewy system was a great score for him, as people can buy through them, but yes you are going to pay all the distribution and profit charges along the way.
Don't forget that feed expires. Chewy may be sitting on a quantity of Stabul and needs to move it. It's another reason that feed stores, including TSC do not want to order quantities of feed ( which brings the price down, but also is at risk of not selling out and having to be thrown away) . Selling it at cost or at a loss is sometimes better than chucking it in the trash but they can't repeatedly do that.
I subscribed to Hearty Pet for Cavalor FiberForce, for five bags a month. That's my break even point on gasoline to go three hours away and pick it up at the closest feed store. This month, they sent me one bag, and their website says they are sold out. I called them and they ended up drop shipping four bags directly from Cavalor's mill in GA and it arrived yesterday. In a giant FedEx semi truck that had to park out on the road. When I took my pick up out to back up to him and get my feed, the driver shook his head and said, this wasn't too cost effective. I told him that I wasn't paying for it, Hearty Pet was but I agreed, the costs had to be crazy. He had one other little box in the trailer. My husband and I estimated that Hearty Pet probably spent $100 to $200 having 160 lbs of feed shipped in two days to me. I really appreciate them doing that, but that is why no feed seller can ship a few bags here and there and why Randy said shipping directly to you was prohibitive.
IMO, hay and carrier/feed, supplements are the most critical thing to buy in addition to pergolide/meds for our PPID/IR horses and I will cut back on other things to afford getting them those items that are most appropriate. I wish it wasn't that way, and I wish that feed costs were not what they are. Beet pulp used to be $6 a bag, now it's $14+. Never would I have imagined quality equine feed would cost $20-30 a bag, but it does. Hay cubes used to be $7-8 , now they are in the $20s. It is what it is....
Dawn Wagstaff and Tipperary
Saline, MI 2003