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Old career: Tech training writer (Connie); Marine retail executive (Thomas)
New venture: Alpaca farming
The couple sold their Portland (Ore.) home in 2003 before the real estate market crashed to purchase a farm in central Oregon. Connie, who grew up on farms, knew she didn't want to raise livestock. "Too much work," she says. After research, they decided to buy the four pregnant alpacas and a herd sire needed to start Cascade Alpacas ranch. They borrowed an additional $30,000 to buy inventory for a yarn store on an American Express OPEN credit Card, paying off the balance in installments. But Connie recently returned to work to help fund an expansion—they've bought a neighboring farm.