The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce has selected Barbara Ronchetti, owner of Island Alpaca Company in Oak Bluffs, to receive a “Build a Better Mousetrap Award” from Cape Cod SCORE at its 19th annual awards breakfast on Thursday, May 17, at Old Yarmouth Inn.
Ms. Ronchetti, a native of Lexington and former MV Times advertising sales representative, had no previous farming experience when she purchased land adjacent to Goodale’s Construction Company near the Blinker intersection to start an alpaca farm.
“Her only encounter with animal care had been with her childhood pet gerbil,” the chamber said in a press release announcing the award. What she does have, those who know her will attest to, is boundless energy and enthusiasm for any project she sets her mind to.
“At the 2002 Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair, she became enchanted with the alpacas, and two years later, after extensive research on this gentle breed of livestock, Island Alpaca Company was born,” the chamber said. “Today the farm has a herd of 70 alpaca and is open to the public daily year-round. It also has a gift shop on location and online.”
Top honors at the SCORE awards breakfast go to the Small Business Owner of the Year who is selected from among the counseling organization’s small business clients. Various chambers of commerce select those who receive SCORE’s Build a Better Mousetrap Awards, which this year will go to 15 small businesses that have survived the critical first five years of operation and appear to be headed for long-term success, according to a press release.
To make a reservation or for additional information, telephone Cape Cod SCORE at 508-775-4884.