Friday, November 23, 2012
Hardy alpaca farm featured on website
Two lake area residents have been honored by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck for their entrepreneurial efforts. Robbin Martinelli and Jay Pratley, owners of Smith Mountain Lake Farm Alpacas in Hardy, said their business, USAlpaca Company, is one of 50 small businesses on The Marketplace by TheBlaze's website.
The couple submitted their application in March to be featured on The Marketplace. After interviews and testing of their products, Martinelli and Pratley received notification in August that USAlpaca Company would be featured on the website.
"It's been an amazing process," said Pratley. "They really did their homework on our products and our business model."
Martinelli and Pratley have been raising alpacas for 10 years. USAlpaca Company's newest line, Pachmana Pillows, is a reference to the South American origins of the alpaca species. The Inca mother goddess Pachamama, "gave the alpaca to the Inca that the animal will sustain their life," said Martinelli.
Alpaca fibers are naturally mite proof and fire resistant; Pachmana is a healthful alternative to pillows which use chemicals as a fire retardant, Martinelli said.
A South Carolina factory manufactures the Pachmana line. The first pillows were available for purchase in May. A 100-percent cotton casing is filled with alpaca fibers from Smith Mountain Lake Farm Alpacas as well as from contracted alpaca farms in the United States.
Pachmana Pillows are available in several sizes: standard for $169, queen for $179, and king for $199, as well as in neck, nursing and travel-size pillows. USAlpaca Company also offers blankets, hats, socks and teddy bears on The Marketplace website.
The company provides a rejuvenation ticket to purchasers of a Pachmana Pillow to have the casing replaced and the fill re-adjusted for $25 plus shipping.
"There's no one doing what we're doing basically in the world," said Pratley. "Little old Hardy, Virginia, may be on the map."