Dupuyer wool shop finds success in cyberspace

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Dupuyer wool shop finds success in cyberspace
YARDS OF YARN — Entrepreneur Leanne Hayne stands by a display case of yarn in Beaverslide Dry Goods. Her display shop is located in the Dupuyer Cache at 307 Montana St. in Dupuyer where knitters can now view and feel the palette of wool colors that were previously only available on her website. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
   A little over 10 years ago Leanne Hayne and her husband John began the Beaverslide Dry Goods shop, a family operated business, in Dupuyer.
   Today, a display part of the business sits right off of Highway 89 which splits the town on the plains, just a hop, skip and a jump from the Rocky Mountain Front.
   The backbone of their business is a fine wool-yarn coming from Merino sheep that the family raises on a 3,000 acre ranch, which, Hayne says with a smile, is shared with an occasional grizzly bear, (mountain) lions, coyotes and Eagles and other assorted wildlife.
   Nevertheless, with some electric fencing and a guard Llama, raising the sheep is manageable.
   The name of their business seems unrelated to raising sheep, let alone doing a worldwide job of getting their product out to the four corners of the globe.
   Leanne explains, “We thought it was time that a business in our little ranch community carried that name into the new millennium.”
   At one time or another Dupuyer was host to a number of different establishments using the name Beaver Slide.
   For an in-depth explanation, one may visit their Internet website. Basically, a beaverslide, (one word) supposedly developed in Beaverhead County around 1910, is a devise for stacking loose hay.
   At one time there were a lot of these “slides”  around, but they also went away quickly as wind played havoc with the loose stacked hay and ranchers moved on to using bailing equipment and large square stacks.
   When they first began their wool selling and using computers, the product was launched on eBay. While that saw some success, Hayne was also getting “blocked out” with other sellers putting up hundreds of wool yarn skeins.
   This led them to getting their own Website; beaverslide.com. Customers from eBay followed them and now they have a worldwide customer base and in this time of recession, are actually seeing a boom in international orders.
   On a regular basis, they take in orders from Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and Malaysia and other countries on the Pacific Rim.
   Beaverslide isn’t limited to the Asian countries. They also have a European base with orders coming in from Great Britain, Germany, Sweden and Denmark to name a few.
   Two of their more interesting orders have come from a person stationed in Antarctica (south pole) and the other to an Australian customer in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates (UAB) located in the Middle East at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
   Hayne offers up over 80 different shades and colors of mule spun yarn which appeals to knitters around the world.
   Mule spun, doesn’t actually mean the wool is spun by a mule, rather it is a process developed in the last half of the 18th Century. Mule spinning gives yarns a characteristic all their own. Hayne says, “Many experts consider the mule to make the very highest quality of handwork yarns.” She went on to add, ”Yarns processed at these mills are also dyed in the wool for a wonderful uniformity of color.”
   At one point they used a mill in Maine, however, in an effort to reduce transportation costs, they now use a small family mill in Alberta, Canada.
In August of last year, her sister-in-law Ali Newkirk opened up the Dupuyer Cache, a convenience grocery store at 307 Montana St. on the east side of Hwy. 89.
   Beaverslide Dry Goods has a room there to show knitters the different types of yarn that sails through cyberspace as well as other goods that they produce. Her hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
   Hayne can also be reached at (406) 472-3283 or through the Cache at 472-3272.