By Megan Alley
Those looking to procure a last minute Christmas gift might consider stopping in to The Alpaca Shop, located on the grounds of the New Richmond Alpaca Farm.
To boot, owners and husband and wife, Greg and Lori Wahl recently relocated and revamped the store to a newly built structure that replaces a 200-year old red barn that was damaged by a tornado that hit the area last spring.
“We had no idea we had storm damage; we came down one morning and opened the doors of the barn and you could see the whole hillside in the back,” recounted Greg Wahl. “It blew out the whole back side of the barn.”
Greg Wahl, whose family has owned the 175-year-old farm for generations, brought in numerous contractors to survey the scene, with hopes that someone could repair the damage; alas, “nobody would touch it.”
“Our only option at that point was to push it over,” Greg Wahl said. “It took 13 seconds for it to go down.”
While some might have been deterred by the situation, Greg Wahl, who rehabs houses, was compelled to rebuild.
He worked on the project himself, using wood, metal and beams from the old barn.
“It took us three weeks to sort through all the lumber,” Greg Wahl said.
He also built the new structure on the old, stone foundation.
Greg Wahl expounded on what motivated him to move forward with the project.
“Just the family history, and wanting to continue in those lines. That was a big part of wanting to use the old materials; it’s kind of like, they talk to you,” he said. “Just the memories and the history, and wanting to maintain that.”
The previous store was located in a 400-square foot structure adjacent the family’s two-car garage. Now, it’s moved to the new 1,200 square foot structure.
The store’s back wall is made from the old barn’s metal roof, all the shelving is made from the floor joists, and the cash wrap counter is made from the red siding.
The store also has an added kitchen for processing, washing and dying Alpaca fleece.
The couple hosted the store’s grand opening over the Halloween weekend. They carry a variety of merchandise, including teddy bears and other stuffed animals, socks, scarves, sweaters, kids items, yarns and rovings, all made from the fleece of the Alpacas on the farm.
The store also carries handmade products from other crafters.
“Traffic is good,” Greg Wahl said.
New customer Tom Mallory, who lives in the village of Indian Hill, said, “The store is beautiful. I saw the stone foundation coming in.”
He added, “The products in the store are amazing, and the quality is extraordinary.”
The Alpaca Shop is located at 1240 Bethel New Richmond Road. The store is open on weekends through Christmas from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.nralpacafarm.com.