A Buckinghamshire couple are set to grow their innovative alpaca farm business thanks to seven-figure funding support from Clydesdale Bank.
Husband and wife team James and Julia Corrigan-Stuart already run a successful alpaca operation from their base at Ford Farm Barn in Ford, Buckinghamshire.
The injection of new funding from Clydesdale Bank has enabled the couple to purchase the 270-acre Yeat Wood Farm at Wotton Underwood which will see their business undergo major expansion.
As well as housing around 100 alpacas for the business run by Julia, CS Alpacas, the newly-expanded operation will now also accommodate an additional 900 alpacas for the Alpaca Stud Ltd business run by James, a leading executive with a UK insurance company, which breeds the animals for sale across the UK and Europe.
CS Alpacas was established in 2008, with just three pregnant females, and has since grown to a herd of 100 animals.
It offers alpacas for sale, arranges alpaca walks and also operates an adopt-an-alpaca scheme.
There are two types of alpaca, the Huacaya, which has a dense, teddy bear-like fleece and the Suri which has fleece which hangs down from the body, like dreadlocks.
The soft feel of Alpaca fleece which is comparable to cashmere and its natural warmth makes it extremely popular for use in clothing such as hats, scarves, gloves, jumpers and babywear. Julia operates a thriving business selling a range of clothing at outlets and shows across Buckinghamshire.
Diversifying into camping
The deal was facilitated by Justin Hayward, Relationship Manager for Agribusiness at Clydesdale Bank’s Customer Banking Centre in Oxford.
Mr and Mrs Corrigan-Stuart expect to complete the transfer of the two businesses to their new location in Aylesbury in August.
The couple have plans to expand further next year by diversifying into camping and caravanning and caravan storage.
Julia Corrigan-Stuart, owner of CS Alpacas, said: "Both sides of the business have continued to expand and it was clear to both myself and James that our current location was not large enough to accommodate our ambitions.
"The new site at Yeat Wood Farm is the ideal solution and will provide us with real scope to grow the business further and, in the longer term, to diversify into areas such as the glamping market.
"We were faced with very short timescales in which to acquire the new property and the Clydesdale Bank team did an amazing job and bent over backwards to accommodate our needs."
Mark Laughlan, Head of Clydesdale Bank’s Reading and Oxford Customer Banking Centres, said: "James and Julia have shown real vision in creating and continuing to grow this innovative business.
"The move to the new location will establish them as one of the largest Alpaca enterprises in the country which will provide a good platform for their ambitious plans to diversify further."