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Crowley's to remain open, downsizes operations

Date: 2/1/2013

By Carley Dangona

AGAWAM — In an effort to downsize, Crowley's Sales Barn & Stables, 32 Shoemaker Lane, is selling portions of its property, but the business will remain open on a more than eight-acre parcel on the back section of the land.

"We're relocating, restructuring and revamping," Alice Crowley, co-owner and wife of Dennis Crowley, said. "Our home-base is in New England."

Horse auctions will no longer be offered, but Crowley's will still offer private horse sales and trail rides among other services such as riding lessons and cow events.

She continued, "I made him [Dennis] downsize. We need more of a balance." She said the scaled back operation would create a "manageable passion."

Crowley clarified that the transaction with Don Cameron is dependent upon Cameron's acquisition of the permits and funds for the creation of The Plex, an indoor/outdoor sports complex.

"He's speculating," she said, adding that no money has changed hands at this time.

Crowley explained that the private sales of horses would be by appointment only and offered seven days a week. The ranch will continue to offer a variety of horses for sale. Trail rides will be limited to small groups of six to create a personal experience for customers.

The ranch has been a full-time business for the Crowley family for three generations — Dennis, 74, has run the enterprise for more than five decades.

Crowley acknowledged that the entire process has been stressful for her husband, whom she described as a man defined by the horse. "He is renowned as a consummate horseman. He's ridden and done everything with horses. Crowley's is the biggest horse trader in the Northeast."

Crowley explained that she and Dennis are currently selling horses in Sarasota, Fla. at their ranch, where they live from October to March. "We have customers in the yard every day."

She added that Mayor Richard Cohen has been helpful and accommodating with the transition of the business.

"The mayor is very supportive of our new project and of the ability for Dennis to retire comfortably [in the future]. He's not just about progress, he's about human beings," she said.

Crowley thanked the more than 10,000 auction customers for their business and loyalty.

"We're still here," Crowley noted. "We're not vanishing or retiring."

For more information about Crowley's, visit