Local alpaca business offering deals for Valentine’s Day

DOWAGIAC — With the most romantic day of the year only a few weeks away, one of the community’s most unique businesses has some gifts in stock that will make people fall in love at first touch.

Dowagiac’s Alpacas of Chambana is currently offering some “sweet” deals for Valentine’s Day shoppers inside its booth at Hidden Treasures Antiques & More, 57470 M-51 S., Dowagiac. The owners are selling all red, pink and white items at 20 percent off, giving customers the perfect chance to see if the socks, hats and other apparel made from the soft, hypoallergenic fleece are the perfect fit for significant other — or themselves.

“If someone is looking for a novel Valentine’s gift, alpaca products can fit the bill,” said Ruth Szakaly, owner of Alpacas of Chambana.

The business offers a variety of clothing and accessories, all made from the fleece of the South American camelid.

The store’s biggest selling items are its dress and athletic socks, which come in a variety of different colors. This time of year, the shop’s selection of winter apparel, including hats, ski bands, gloves and scarves, are big hits as well.

Ruth and her husband Chris have raised alpacas at their farm on Peavine Street for the past several years. The two are currently raising 12 animals, a relative of camels and llamas, on their property, with another one on the way, Ruth said.  The couple has recently sent in 50 pounds of fleece they shorn from their livestock for processing, which will be used to create other alpaca-derived garments.

Although they have operated a boutique on their farm for the last several years, the owners are not always able to have consistent hours due to taking their animals to shows throughout the country.

Around five months ago, they decided to open a booth at Hidden Treasures, a small shopping mall located outside the city, in order to give their shop more consistent hours. Located on M-51, Hidden Treasures has given the business increased exposure, as well.

With demand for tours of their farm low due to the winter, the couple said they are currently only operating their shop at the Dowagiac antique mall.

“We will eventually have both places in operation, but with the weather being as it is, it’s nice to just be here right now,” Ruth said.

The Alpacas of Chambana booth at Hidden Treasures is open throughout the latter’s hours, which are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit alpacasofchambana.com.

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