My name is Gina. My husband Paul and I are the owners and proprietors of White Cloud Alpaca Farm. Our farm is located about one hour NW of Grand Rapids.
We are a smaller hands on farm, with an average of 10 to 20 Alpacas depending on births and sales each year.
We already had some land in Newaygo County. We absolutely love the area and weekend getaways just didn't seem long enough. Our place is located just a few miles away from the Muskegon River and Hardy Pond. It may take 10 minutes to get to a grocery store but it only take's us 2 minutes to get to our playground on the water!
Paul & I both being self employed, he doing building and remodeling and I as a Massage t
Therapist thought, well we are to young to retire but not to old to restart our businesses in a different area. While stewing over the pro's & con's of moving to the Country we discovered ALPACAS!!! The first time I saw something on the Animal Planet about them I knew that some day I would have Alpacas. Did I mention that I am a huge animal lover. Well about 9 months later, after a lot of research and Alpaca Farm visits,(good thing Paul is such a good sport) we plunged into the wonderful world of Alpacas. That was the summer of 2002. We boarded our original purchase of 3 Alpacas. A maiden female, and a pregnant girl with her male cria at side, for the first year.
What to expect when coming to our farm:
Well expect to be greeted by our two overly friendly Newfoundland dogs! We also have a few barn cats and chickens running around. They keep the Alpacas amused. Of course you will see some awesome Alpacas and one friendly Llama that loves to give kisses. Our farm is not a perfectly manicured white picket fence kind of farm but we do take pride in all we have accomplished since moving from the suburbs of Detroit in 2003 to live the country life and be among these magical animals.
Paul & I do all maintenance from bean scooping to spring shearing and everything in between our selves. It gives us pleasure to be among the Alpacas. Yes even bean scooping can be enjoyable when you stop to watch the Alpacas and especially the Cria's (baby Alpacas) at play, and the beans are great for the garden! We built the barn and set up the pastures and fencing our self, well with a little help from some great friends & family. We went to several Alpaca farms to check out their setup's and what they liked and didn't like about the way things were set up before planning our own. We are really happy that we did because we received a lot of really good advise and are now quite happy with our layout. We are looking forward to putting a second barn in in the near future.
We are of course always breeding up to get the best fiber quality & conformation possible. We do not base our breeding decisions on All Peruvian, All Accoyo or all anything. We base them on the best genetics, fiber quality and conformation whether the ancestry is from Bolivia, Chili or Peru.
If you are looking to purchase Alpacas: We have gained a lot of knowledge about farming and Alpacas over the past 7 years and we enjoy sharing that knowledge with those that come visit the farm. If you come looking to purchase Alpacas we will give you all the advise we can offer and make sure you are happy with any purchase you should make. If we do not have the genetics you are looking for we will help advise you on reputable farms that may have more of a selection. Since we go to many farms throughout MI. shearing, we get our hands on a lot of fantastic Alpacas. Before we sell an Alpaca we make sure it is halter, lead trained and used to having hands on them for nail trimming and other herd health practices. We use Marty McGee methods in training our Alpacas.
If you are making your first Alpaca purchase we will teach you herd health practices and give you plenty of after sales help as well as before sales advise.
The Fiber and our future with "The Alpaca Corner" store
One question people asked from the beginning. What do you do with the fiber? The first few years we took our Alpaca fiber and paid a local spinner to make it into yarn. We then became members of the American Alpaca Coop. As members we commit to giving them a portion of the fiber and then purchase clothing for resale. Next we started sending some of our fiber to a MI mill to be made into yarn & roving. I took spinning lessons and started spinning some of my own fiber. A room in our home was turned into a Alpaca store and during our Open House we took the store outdoors.
By 2010 we were selling a lot of our Alpaca products. Especially the famous Extreme Alpaca Socks that we have shipped all across the country! Even Floridians get cold feed some some winter days.
November 2010 I decided that with all the traffic coming by for Christmas presents, we had to do something. I rented a small area from my friend Donna in her Antique store. This Old House Antiques & Resale in downtown Newaygo, does not seem like the ideal place to have a Alpaca Store but I needed to do something.
The Alpaca Corner was created! Why the name? Because I started with a corner of a room. Within a few months I realized that I needed more room. The Alpaca Corner now has a room of it's own. I am purchasing Alpaca clothing for resale from a few places and have recently started to purchase hand made yarns, and clothing from MI fiber artists.