Norm and Noreen Andresen raise alpacas on their Eagle Point property and will offer alpaca yarn in a nearby retail store on West Linn Road through the holidays.

Black Friday — the alpaca alternative

EAGLE POINT — So who in their right mind would open a mom-and-pop retail shop on Black Friday?

Day-after Thanksgiving shopping has long been the domain of department stores, shopping malls and big-box discounters.

Sort through the volumes of inserts in today's Mail Tribune and chances are you won't find much in the way of alpaca gifts and wear, nor will you find many grand openings.

None of that has deterred Norm and Noreen Andresen from getting their retail toes wet and testing the market for the Christmas season.

Andresen Acres Alpaca Yarn & Gift Shop turns on the lights at noon for a five-hour run — long after the late-night Thanksgiving shoppers awake and pre-dawn crowds stumble back to their cars.

"We picked the day because it's Thanksgiving weekend and everyone is out and about," Norm Andresen said. "I understand it's Black Friday and all the competition. But there's one thing you find, especially in rural communities, there's a lot of focus on small shops. We think there is a place for small-business people to do things — even on Black Friday."

The store is located in shadow of a Walmart supercenter at 151 W. Linn Road, Suite L-11, in the Hansen Business Center, across the street from the Carl's Jr. burger shop and near U-Haul.

The shop will stock alpaca craft items, alpaca yarns, batts, rovings and finished products such as socks, gloves and scarves. The shop will be open Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 21.

The owners will be on hand to chat about alpacas and related fiber products, while Noreen Andresen will schedule spinning, knitting and crocheting lessons.

The venture is a limited engagement for the Andresens, who have ranched for 15 years and handle a herd of more than 30 Huacaya alpacas outside Eagle Point.

"Our focus has been raising the animals," he said. "We noticed quite few years ago that alpaca socks are affordable and priced competitively with 100-percent wool socks. They are a great boot sock for hunters and fishermen."

They are part of the State of Jefferson Alpaca Association, whose membership ranges from Redding, Calif., to Creswell. The retail endeavor augments the usual trade shows and community bazaars and festivals. They also sell alpaca fleece through a national fiber co-op.

Fiber sold through the national co-op can produce cash or can be exchanged for discounted fiber products, which are then sold at market price. Ranchers generally received $16 to $20 per pound for their fiber, with finer fiber earning top dollar.

Like one of Harry & David's pop-up shops, the alpaca store will close after Christmas. Then it will be back to tending the ranch and visiting alpaca shows.

"We'll re-evaluate," Norm Andresen said. "Then we'll see where we are a year from now."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at Edge.

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