Today we’d like to introduce you to Marykay Mentzer.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Our family has lived on our little Legacy farm for 15 years. The acre and a half on which the Decatur Alpaca Cottage sits is a vestige of the rolling farmland and open fields which existed in the area long ago. The surrounding neighborhood was built in the 1950’s and, thankfully, a small slice of land, our urban farm, was left intact. It may be a smaller farm, but we’ve got a lot going on here!
Our urban farm features several perennial gardens, a natural plant dye garden, an organic/non-GMO “Food, Fruit, and Flowers” garden, and a backfield, affectionately called ‘The Back Forty’ It is here that our small herd of alpacas (a good portion of them are rescues), a miniature Chilean llama, and flock of chickens in a variety of colorful breeds live in harmony.
The Cottage, a guest house, was built long ago and was re-branded as the “Decatur Alpaca Cottage” in 2016. We didn’t set out to become a vacation rental and event/wedding venue, but the high level of interest brought us to offer our cottage and gardens to visiting guests. Interestingly, about half of our guests are local to the area and having a staycation and we find it is a great way to meet the broader community.
As you might imagine, a lot of heart went into creating our Cottage and gardens, so sharing this with others is a natural extension of what we already love doing. Although our family has always been active in non-profit work, in the course of 2017, as hurricane after hurricane battered the US and Puerto Rico, it became clear that the Decatur Alpaca Cottage (DAC) could help as well. When Hurricane Irma was approaching Miami, we made the decision to drop our prices, add an extra bed to the cottage, and offer it as a place to come for an evacuating family.
For two weeks, we hosted a lovely family from Miami and, by the time it was safe for them to head back home, we had become friends. We also made the decision to donate 10% of gross sales for August and September 2017 to Hurricane Relief and shared our donation across Hurricane Relieve for Texas, Puerto Rico and other affected areas.
In May, to accommodate interest in visiting to see the gardens and meet the animals, we hosted an open house Farm Day at the Decatur Alpaca Cottage. We had more than 200 visitors in the course of the Farm Day and also raised funds through voluntary donations for Southeast Llama Rescue. The DAC matched these donations so a sizeable donation was made in the interest of llama and alpaca rescue efforts.
We love our home, our neighborhood and city, and are a proud part of the Decatur community!
Read more about our little legacy farm here: Meet Marykay Mentzer of Decatur Alpaca Cottage
Welcome to the Decatur Alpaca Cottage ~ close to the city, but just far enough away ~ We look forward to hosting you!