New owners will take over the Red Fox Cottage this week and fill it with products made from alpaca fibers.
Jeff and Laurie Methvin, owners of Prairie Oak Alpaca Farm north of Peabody, will open Prairie Oak Alpaca Gift Shop on Black Friday.
Methvin said it gives him and his wife something to do with the products made from their alpaca herd.
They had sold their alpaca products at arts and craft shows and thought the former Red Fox Cottage was the perfect place and location to set up a shop.
“We really have no expectations,” Methvin said. “We saw the building was for sale and thought, ‘It’s a cute building,’ and would be a cute little place for us. We’ll just kind of open and see what happens.”
The shop will be open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will also be open during Christmas Celebration in Marion from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
“If someone needs a gift when we’re not open, they can call us anytime and we will open the store so they can get what they need,” Methvin said.
The Methvin’s shear their 24 alpacas once a year, in May.
“They get pretty fluffy come May,” he said. “They love this cold weather we’re having because for once they’re not hot. After they’re shaved they look pretty skinny, like a deer.”
The majority of the store’s products are made from the fibers they get after shearing. Items for sale include sweaters, scarves, hats, rugs, purses, and yarn. They will also have natural items and a line of candles for sale.
The couple does not make the items they sell.
“We would never have the time or the skills,” Methvin said.
Instead, they shear their animals and send the fibers to factories that turn it into products to sell.
“We also buy fiber, and send fiber off to be made into yarn and dyed,” he said.
Methvin said they just sent a sizable amount of leftover fiber to a fiber mill in Phillipsburg for processing.
White alpaca fiber is the only fiber that can be dyed any color, Methvin said, because a chemical found in most other fibers is absent in alpaca.
Methvin and his wife are Marion County natives. They have been raising alpacas for 13 years.
“We bought a run in Florida and started studying about the animals and decided to get some,” Methvin said.
They are members of the Kansas Alpaca Association and say the animals are perfect for people who want animals but don’t have a lot of room.
“They’re nice animals to raise,” he said.
The Methvins also breed and raise alpacas and sell a few.