The downturned economy means everyone is tightening their belts these days and Paca Pride is no exception. It takes a lot to launch a small business in the world and turn it into something successful. For many, that business could simply mean taking advantage of the internet for all their sales and thus the overhead is quite a bit lower with no store front, office space, or real estate to worry about. For us, however, we started with 17 acres of land that was logged in 1998 by the previous owners wanting to get some timber monies, had 10 years of nature reclaiming it and covering the logging debris, and left us starting with stump piles to burn. That’s right, no power, no well, no house, no pastures with fencing, no pastoral scene to share with the public.
Our story started in 2005 when we bought this parcel to make manifest the change we’d like to see in the world. Witnessing America at a crossroads, we saw that the only way to survive in corporate America was to incorporate. Putting our heads together, we wrote a business plan, moving to a rural location, with the hope of bringing future jobs to a popular tourist destination. That’s how Paca Pride Guest Ranch started offering a twist on camping with some cool structures, yurts. We decided to position ourselves as a destination that could demonstrate green principles, sustainability, homesteading, even offer farm fresh eggs from our chickens.
But, all is not without its struggle through adversity. Having to carry our costs for two years without establishing a revenue stream until the county executed their 120-day process and issued our permits dwindled our cash reserves to bring further yurt accommodations on to the property. Over $50,000 went into satisfying the county’s requirements, including hiring experts and professionals to navigate the regulatory waters. We even had to fight through a serious cancer battle, during that time, that tested our mettle.
Eventually, that had us stepping back quite a bit from the original business plan to see how we could use our remaining funds most effectively. We now struggle to determine the most effective ways to get out and market ourselves as well as how to generate further capital to invest in the business, bringing more yurts on board, followed by adding the rustic amenities.
But we are here! We started a small business! Our shingle is on the side of the road! We had a moderately successful summer season, in 2010, of bookings and retail sales of alpaca related products, eggs, and even a few items from our garden! We have great hope that we can take our business to the next level of growth and continue to make a deeply felt impact on the community we are now a part. The Mountain Loop community, especially within the tiny Robe Valley, has been filled with excitement and been inspired by our efforts, we hope to be able to one day hire staff from this valley and bring jobs to this rural, and very historic, area.
Certainly, all this could never have happened without all the love and support from our friends and family. We count our blessings everyday and choose to remain positive that others will also continue to see the value in our venture as we enter into the 2011 camping season. Perhaps an angel investor will somehow find it within them to support our efforts? Until then, we’ll continue our hard work to grow and mature this new attraction that continues to awe the tourists and hikers alike once they drive up the front entrance.