Alpacas of the Heartland hosts events throughout the year for families to interact with and buy goods made from alpacas. However, one decision could change the way this business operates.
Owner of Alpacas of the Heartland, Sheri Jacoby says she was shocked to hear that there was an issue with her boutique she runs out of her home, and now it could possibly get shut down, leaving her wondering where to go from here.
For Jacoby, raising and selling alpacas is part of her everyday life. "The reason you raise alpacas is for their fiber,” she said. But in 2013, she had another business idea in mind, selling hand-made goods from alpacas. Thursday night Jacoby went before the Washington County Planning Commission to get an extension for her conditional use permit. At that meeting, she learned commissioners were going to recommend to the board of supervisors to close her boutique above her garage because it does not meet ADA requirements, meaning it is not handicap accessible.
Jacoby says shutting down the boutique puts the fate of her alpacas up in the air. “I raise them for their fiber, so that's really why you raise them so if you can't promote their products, and it's best to promote them when you have people visit, then I'm not sure what the point is to raise the alpacas,” she said.
Jacoby believes social media is the reason why this recommendation came up. “The internet and social media presence has grown, my followers have posted their fun when they come out here,” she said. Jacoby says while the boutique isn't her main source of income, the visits generate a large portion of it. And losing it will affect her ability to care for her alpacas in the future. “Will we be able to keep taking care of them if we don't do visits, yes, will I need to cut back some, probably,” said Jacoby.
The Washington County Board of Supervisors will ultimately decide if she can sell out of her house in the coming weeks. Jacoby says she doesn't see a way to make her current boutique meet ADA requirements, and out of her house, is the only place she can run it.