KIMBALL - A Kimball man has turned his passion for bikes - and building things - into a backyard business making waves around the U.S.


Alpaca Multipurpose Carriers, a manufacturer of car-mountable holders for bikes, skis and more is this week's featured "Made in Central Minnesota" business.

An avid biker and farmer by trade, John Stein started designing car-mounted carriers in the 1990s when he noticed there weren't many on the market that could hold more than a couple of bikes at a time.

Now, he spends much of his day assembling and shipping his patented design to stores all across the country.

Stein has the distinction of building the only carrier for recumbent 3-wheeled bicycles in the country. The style of bike has grown in popularity, and it's followed that Stein has seen demand rise for his carrier, too.

Stein says the 3-wheeled recumbent bike style hasn't caught on as quickly in Minnesota as it has in other states, so much of his clientele is in California, Florida, Texas and other, larger states.

Despite a growing demand, Alpaca is a one-man show. Stein bends and assembles the parts himself in a warehouse on his farmland.

Stein has financed Alpaca independently. It's a side job, and Stein says passion for the project has kept him going.

Stein has seen sales grow quickly in the past couple of years, and looks forward to that trend  as three-wheeled bikes grow in popularity.

To see Stein's work for yourself, visit his website.