IRON STATION, N.C. -- When you walk into Good Karma Ranch, you may be greeted by Brooke, or one of her friends. But to the owners, these aren’t just tourist attractions, they’re what’s kept the family business alive.
The pens at the ranch are full of different personalities, but Shelly Walsh and her husband, Mike, know them all by name. The business has been open for about three years for people to come and tour and to visit the alpacas.
But like everyone else in 2020, they had to shut down the farm for a few months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“With like all small businesses, it’s very challenging to just close down their revenue stream,” Shelly said. “How do we get our name out there? How do we interest people?”
The couple revamped their website so they could start selling merchandise online, but they were also planning for the day they could re-open the gates.
Throughout this pandemic, people have been looking to find something fun to do. They started to grow their social media presence and added new activities like alpaca yoga.
“A lot of them will lay on mats with you, and we’ve had a few fall asleep during yoga which is really funny,” Shelly said.
Those picture-perfect moments got people buzzing and lining up to come to the farm.
“I think people are comfortable being outside. People are looking to be outside. The word of mouth has been great. We don’t really spend money on advertising, so the growth really is coming just through word of mouth,” she said.
Some of the activities and additions are so popular; they’re becoming permanent fixtures on the farm. The ranch plans to have yoga every weekend in the spring.
And with the newfound fame, Chica, Brooke, and the rest of the alpacas are excited to make new friends.