Tails up for alpaca farm thanks to local business support
“Sometimes it is just great to have someone with expertise to offer a second opinion...a fresh set of eyes can offer a different perspective.”
A business that has brought alpacas and meerkats to North Warwickshire, creating a new attraction for the area, is looking to expand after receiving support from Warwickshire County Council-backed Project Warwickshire.
Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm was opened by nurse Sarah Booth eight years ago in Hurley and now brings in hundreds of visitors each weekend and attracts local schoolchildren during the week.
It’s home to around 50 alpacas, ten meerkats and several special-breed donkeys and Sarah is looking to increase the number of animals and also create a new café to help grow the business.
Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm is now attracting more online attention too after being helped by Project Warwickshire – a free recovery and growth business support programme to help companies in the Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality sectors in the County, in the wake of the of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Project Warwickshire is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. The support is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism.
Sarah, who employs five staff, said: “I set up eight years ago. I used to go running in Leicestershire and I’d go past a farm that had alpacas in the field and it just became a dream of mine to farm some myself.
“I found a plot of land, bought it and bought some alpacas too. The original idea was just to breed them but it’s expensive and it takes a lot of time so we launched our alpaca walks and they grew in popularity.
“We added some meerkats into the mix and some donkeys and suddenly we became a tourist attraction for the area!
“The next phase is to add a few more alpacas and meerkats but we have to be very careful when choosing them. The alpacas have to be the right quality and the meerkats need to have the right kind of personality to integrate into the mob so we go all over the country to find the right ones!
“We really want to add a café too. We do pre-wrapped food but we think by creating a café it would be another attraction for the area.”
Sarah added: “The support through the Chamber has been really helpful. It’s improved what we do on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram after we took online masterclasses and they’ve also supported us by analysing our website and have made recommendations.
“Sometimes it is just great to have someone with expertise to offer a second opinion. You can think you are doing something right but a fresh set of eyes can offer a different perspective.”
Warwickshire County Council's Business Growth & Support Programme Manager, Gillian Dale, said: "Lucky Tails is a perfect example of the sort of quirky, engaging small business of which Warwickshire's tourist sector is blessed with so many. These wonderful small businesses do so much to make the county so very popular with visitors locally and from further field and together form a major asset to the local economy. It is great to hear that Lucky Tails has really benefited from the input of advisors from the Project Warwickshire programme."
Caroline Trainor, Programme Manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s great to see Lucky Tails thriving – especially after the issues that all attractions have faced over the past two years.
“We are delighted that we’ve been able to support Sarah with one-to-one help from one of our experienced Business Advisors and provide lots of support and workshops around digital marketing, which is vital for a business of this nature.
“It’s great to see that there are plans for growth and that will only add to its pull to people from all over the region.”
For more information on support from through Project Warwickshire, go to https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/business-support/project-warwickshire/
Project Warwickshire is funded by Warwickshire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale project. It is delivered, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council, by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Shakespeare’s England also working with Northern Warwickshire Tourism.