Founded in 1964, Hallway Feeds is a leader in the domestic and international equine feed market. Based in the epicenter of American horse racing culture in Lexington, Kentucky, Hallway Feeds has carved out a niche in the upper end of market.
“We deal with the highest level of race trainers and horses,” says Lee Hall, vice president of Hallway Feeds. “We fed 11 of the last 17 Kentucky Derby winners, including [Triple Crown winner] American Pharoah.”
Hallway Feeds is the only family-owned and -operated manufacturer in the U.S. exclusively committed to the equine market. While the company exports 20 percent of its bagged product to the international market, a majority of Hallway Feeds’ business comes from stud farms located in Fayette County, Kentucky, and surrounding counties. The remaining share of Hallways Feeds’ products is sold to customers in a dozen thoroughbred racing hotspots across the country, including California and upstate New York.
“We’re feeding mares, foals and developing young horses that will be raised and sold,” says Hall. “It’s so neat to feed athletes and be able to watch racing events knowing you’ve fed 25 to 30 percent of the field.” In addition to American Pharoah — the first horse in 37 years to win the coveted Triple Crown — Hallway Feeds has supplied feed to other top thoroughbreds, including California Chrome, Barbaro and War Emblem.
Hallway Feeds did not start out specializing in equine feed. In the beginning the company was focused on livestock and commodities, but Hallway Feeds slowly moved into the equine feed market over the last 20 years, leveraging its unique geographical location to market its brand of performance feed to top horse trainers around the world. Today, 95 percent of Hallway’s business is in the equine feed market.
“Being from Lexington, you have automatic credibility — it’s arguably the Thoroughbred capital of the world and it’s a heck of a springboard to launch the rest of your business from and it’s allowed us to enjoy the growth and success we’ve had,” says Hall.
A new and growing sector of Hallway Feeds’ business in the last five years has been the sport horse market, developing custom feeds for endurance riders, show jumpers, eventers and polo horses. The company has also made major inroads as an international distributor, shipping to over a dozen countries and licensing its feeds to manufacturing partners in the U.K., South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand and India. “The fact that we’re in Lexington has given us a base of business that allows us to venture into other ways we can market ourselves,” Hall says.
Farm to feed
Hallway Feeds began with Lee’s father, Robert Hall Jr., an experienced agriculturist who plied his trade on cattle farms throughout Kentucky and New York as an Army veterinary food inspector before buying a local feed mill in 1964.
Bob focused on livestock until the mid ‘80s, when the move to the new mill coincided with the relationship with Kentucky Equine Research and a new focus on equine feeds.
In 1986, Hallway Feeds moved into a new, 35,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Lexington currently producing 40,000 tons of packaged feed per year. The feed mill has undergone several renovations throughout the years, including a recent upgrade two years in the making.
The new facility is now more automated than ever and the entire feed mill operation can be run by a staff of just six employees. “They run the entire manufacturing process; we’re very technically advanced in terms of the ways in which products are manufactured,” says Hall.
Hallway Feeds produces equine feed in four distinct categories: racing products like Race 13; sport horse feeds such as Fibrenergy and Protenza; stud and nursery brands such as Edge 14, Staminoats and Kentucky Mare Cubes and supplements, including Hoofstim, Stamm 30 and Hydraboost for horses that require a customized dietary plan. Hallway Feeds continues to experiment with new feed mixes to ensure it remains an industry leader. “We’re always fine-tuning things,” adds Hall.
Hand to hoof
While Hallway Feeds is a leader in the industry, the company strives to provide the same customer service experience one would find at a much smaller operation. “One of our mantras is ‘we’re family-owned, handshake-operated.’ We have the mentality of treating everyone as an important customer and being readily accessible; there aren’t layers of management customers have to go through to talk to someone,” says Hall.
This dedication to customer service gives Hallway Feeds a leg up over some of the bigger names in the equine feed industry. “Many of our larger competitors who have a larger footprint and make different types of feed to cater to different animal classifications simply cannot offer that type of one-on-one customer service that has become a hallmark of our business,” says Hall.
Thanks to the decision 20 years ago to specialize in equine feed, Hallway Feeds is not subject to the same industry fluctuations that can wreak havoc on feed mills serving the commodity and livestock feed markets. “We’re not manufacturing feed for a food animal, we’re manufacturing feed for a sport,” says Hall.
“We’re excited about the future because there is a lot of stability in the Thoroughbred industry right now and a lot of interest because of American Pharoah.”
Manageable growth, innovations and improvements to both manufacturing and packaging processes are all part of the game plan for the near future at Hallway. “We have a pretty robust three- to five-year plan in front of us,” Hall says.
With a niche in the equine performance feed market, a growing worldwide footprint and strong family leadership, Hallway Feeds will strive to serve the Thoroughbred, sport, stud and nursery sectors of the equine feed market from the “Thoroughbred Capital of the World” in Lexington, Kentucky.