During the week of Thanksgiving in 1988, Alpaca Connection opened its doors on the 1300 block of the Pearl Street Mall. Thirty-five years later, Lidia Holl is still managing her business in the heart of Boulder - and she owes much of it to fate. “Originally, I am from Peru but moved to Boulder when I attended college at CU. After graduating with a degree in environmental design and architecture, I was looking to move my life in a different direction,” said Lidia. “That’s when I attended a Christmas craft fair in the lobby of Pearl Street business. The owner and I connected, and she offered me her space. I knew I wanted to create something special.”
At the time, alpaca fur was not a very popular or understood product. “Coming from Peru, which has the highest population of alpacas in the world, I was very familiar with the benefits of the material. I wanted to introduce this commodity to the Boulder community. Compared to wool, alpaca is 3 - 5 x warmer by weight, more durable, more stain resistant and much softer. Plus, many people that are allergic to wool can wear alpaca because it does not have lanolin. Alpaca fiber is really unique, and I knew Boulder would be receptive to it.”
As the years have passed, Alpaca Connection has evolved. “Originally, we really only sold Alpaca products. Now, we offer lots of different natural fibers and clothing items - some of which I hand design myself. All of our products are fair trade and many come from local providers. My guiding star has always been the customer - we want people to come into the store and find items they are excited about.”
One of the unique aspects about having a business downtown for so many years are the relationships that can be built with both customers and the larger community. “Many of the people I work with today are people I have worked with for 35 years, and they are like family to me. In downtown Boulder, office workers regularly stop in and I have formed lasting friendships with other business owners. Between the events and the people, downtown Boulder is a really special place.”
To support the continued success of Alpaca Connection, share your positive store experiences with family and friends. “Word of mouth is so important. One of our main focuses is ensuring customers are happy during their visit. Post about the store on social media and tag us (@alpacaconnectionboulder) if you enjoyed shopping with us!”
For Lidia, making connections with her customers really is the core of everything. “I am in the business of keeping customers warm with alpaca products, but I’m also here to keep the heart warm. That’s the difference when you shop locally.” Next time you need a great gift - or are looking to treat yourself - stop by Alpaca Connection and meet Lidia!
Between the events and the people, downtown Boulder is a really special place.