Mancos-based Alpacka Rafts has moved to a new downtown location, but that’s not the only big change the company is planning for the near future, co-owners Thor and Sheri Tingey said Friday.
The company’s upcoming 2017 lineup of packrafts is their most significant upgrade in six years, Thor said. Alpacka’s website has also been redesigned and will debut soon.
“We needed all of these things, so we did it all at once,” Sheri said.
The Tingeys have moved Alpacka’s entire operation — from R&D to manufacturing to repairs – to the former Mancos Hardware Store building, just south of the Mancos River on Main Street. They started moving to the new location in the middle of March, and they plan to continue organizing the space over the next month, before the busy tourist season sets in, Sheri said.
They plan to open a small retail space to the public at the building in the summer, Thor said. It’s about three times larger than the previous Alpacka location northeast of town at 484 E. Frontage Road, he said. At the old site, two separate buildings housed sales and manufacturing departments, but at the new building everything is under one roof, he added.
“We definitely wanted to be more a part of town,” Thor said.
The Mancos Brewery plans to move into Alpacka’s old location later this spring after about two years at its current space, 500 W. Railroad Ave. The hardware store building had been empty for at least 10 years before Alpacka moved in, Sheri said.
Sheri Tingey started Alpacka Rafts in 2001 in Alaska. Her son Thor was the inspiration for the company, she said.
Thor spent some time away from the company to attend law school, but he and his wife, Sarah, returned to the company in the last year, Sheri said. They have brought some needed changes to Alpacka, she said.
“They’re helping the business work on a larger scale,” Sheri said. “It’s where we needed to go.”
Alpacka employees are enjoying being downtown and closer to businesses such as Fahrenheit Coffee and Absolute Bakery, Sheri said. There are two outbuildings also on the property that could be developed for community use in the future, Thor said.
Sheri said she is excited about the potential for their new site, which has access to the Mancos River.
“We didn’t know how much fun it would be to be in town,” Sheri said. “We’re loving it.”