Tapp’s Feed merges with Louisville company

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Shelby store to experience few changes, officials say

By Lisa King

For more than 40 years Tapp’s Feed has met the needs of animal owners with its operation on Kentucky Street in Shelbyville. From custom feed for thoroughbreds to dog chow and chicken scratch, the business has thrived.


And now they’re growing well beyond those small Shelbyville walls.

Announced Feb. 10, Tapp’s Feed will merge with Louisville’s Producer Feeds, forming the Excel Equine brand.

Kent Thompson, co-owner of Tapp’s Feed, said the merger won’t mean many changes for customers, except in a positive way.

“It’s a win-win for everybody, because the size we will become will allow us some ingredient purchasing strength that we didn’t have before,” he said. “So we can be more competitive in our purchasing of ingredients and more competitive in any sort of delivery distribution. It’s a good thing for the customers because we’ll be able to deliver to a far wider area than we currently do, and keep the price down. More than likely it will be less than what it is today, just because we’re able to bring more efficiency and cost savings to the group.”

Along with expanding the brand, the merger with Producer Feeds will help bring a more technical aspect to the business, where Tapp’s has focused on customer service, feed quality and equine nutrition

The feed manufactured by the new Excel Equine brand will not be made at the Shelbyville facility, but instead in Louisville, Thompson said.

“We’ll still stay open as a retail store [in Shelbyville], we just won’t be manufacturing here,” he said. “But we will still be carrying the same lines of feeds that we have before with the exception of the Tapp’s Feed bags,” he said. “They will go away, to be replaced by the Excel Equine bags. It will be the same product; it will just be under the name Excel Equine. Everything we manufacture will say that.”


Why merge?

Thompson said when he was approached Producer Feeds, which is owned by David Williams, he was intrigued by the proposal.

They actually approached us,” he said. “It’s a really good thing for both companies because they had a facility in Louisville that was really being under-used, and we were maxing out our facility here and were needing another place where we could manufacture to keep up with our needs.”

Changes in the horse industry, including declining numbers spurred Williams to make the call to Thompson.

“The equine market has become very competitive as horse numbers have dropped and the industry has consolidated,” Williams said. “It makes great sense to bring these two companies together and increase the efficiencies of production through the consolidation.”

Thompson said the merger would enable Tapp’s Feed to increase its productivity, which is typically between 60 and 100 tons of feed shipped out per week, and greatly expand its distribution range.

“It means that Excel Equine will be available everywhere east of the Mississippi,” he said. “We are currently in from six to eight surrounding states all the way to New Orleans to Florida and Virginia and Maryland, so we will be expanding our distribution as we move forward.”

As CEO of the combined company, Thompson will relocate to the Louisville facility, but he will still co-own Tapp’s with Larry Hughes. Scott Summitt, the longtime manager of Tapp’s Feed, will continue to manage the Shelbyville facility.


Changes locally

“The people involved will still be here, the same guys will be managing the store; Scott has been here for seven years,” Thompson said. We have a lot of customers who are loyal to Tapp’s Feed, and we are just trying to help them understand that we’re not going away. It’s the same people and the same product, just a different bag.”

Thompson and Hughes have owned Tapp’s Feed for 10 years, buying it from the original owner George Tapp, who started the business 30 years prior to that.

He said that although the name of the store won’t be changed immediately, that move is probably in the future.

“There’s not been anybody associated with the Tapp name here for about 10 years, so I think that ultimately, there will be a name change,” he said. “The name Tapp’s Feed has served its purpose, but it’s now time to look to the future.”