Business Profile
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2010
Written by 

Sabamba Alpaca Ranch and Bed & Breakfast

When Tom and Sally Schmidt finished raising their seven children, they weren’t ready to be empty-nesters. Instead, they made an unusual choice — alpaca ranching.

In 2006, the couple purchased their current property in De Pere, Wisconsin — a 19th century farmhouse and barn sitting on 12 acres, which is located between the Fox Cities and Green Bay. After a year of remodeling and updating, the farm was ready to house both humans and alpacas. Finishing touches on the fence were being done as the alpacas arrived at their new home.

An alpaca is a domesticated South American animal, renowned for its docile temperament and beautiful functional fiber. Sally says that even though their original business venture focused on breeding and showing alpacas, she has since fallen in love with the fiber. “It’s softer than cashmere and will keep you warmer than wool. It regulates your body temperature,” she says. Unlike sheep’s wool, alpaca fiber does not contain lanolin, which makes it an ideal choice for allergy sufferers. The wonderful qualities of alpaca fiber led them to expand their business by adding a retail store on the farm where they sell alpaca clothing. From fun and funky to timeless classic designs, Sabamba’s apparel store provides something for every style.

The animals and clothing alone would keep anyone busy, but Tom and Sally also run a bed & breakfast from their farmhouse. Guests can choose from two rooms, each with a private bathroom and shower. Guests at the bed & breakfast can participate in farm life if they choose, and some have even witnessed alpaca births. A trip to Sabamba Alpaca Ranch and Bed & Breakfast provides a truly unique vacation experience.

Tom and Sally are not finished growing their business. They are passionate about helping the alpaca industry grow. For years, raising alpacas was a very elite and expensive endeavor. With recent economic changes, alpaca ranching has become much more affordable. “We are seeing younger people interested in alpacas,” says Sally. “That’s very exciting because these new breeders will re-energize the industry. They just need to have a source for trustworthy information and ongoing support.” That’s where Tom and Sally’s next focus lies — mentoring newcomers to the alpaca industry. They already offer seminars throughout the year to educate prospective breeders and buyers about alpaca farming, and they provide boarding options for those who are just starting out. The Schmidts hope to inspire new breeders to raise larger herds of alpacas that can be used for their fiber.

Tom and Sally are a winning combination. He’s the expert when it comes to hay, fencing, manure and pasture management, while Sally enjoys cooking, fiber, clothing and customer service. They both love being educators and working with the alpacas! What some might consider as a hobby, Tom and Sally Schmidt have built into a thriving, diverse business that keeps them busy doing the things they love.

Sabamba Alpaca Ranch and Bed & Breakfast
2338 Hickory Road, De Pere, WI 54115
920-371-0003 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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