When you think about the town of Rochester, you probably don't think of it as a hub for an international business, but that is exactly what is happening at Copperfox Farms on Walnut Plain Road.

For the past several years, Julia Nichols has been using her stables as the hub for a business she acquired from British entrepreneur Becky Benfield, who did a lot of work for horse-model giant Breyer Reeves.

Nichols owns real horses on the Walnut Plain farm not only because she has been a fan of them her entire life, but also so that the animals can serve as references for clay sculptors to use while designing Copperfox's latest horse model.

Sculptors may take up to 250 hours to design a new collectible model using clay. The clay prototype is then scanned and replicated by a 3D printer. From there, small adjustments in the body and the mane can be made relatively easily.

Copperfox will generally release about two collectible models a year, with the manufacturing of the horse models happening in Fort Wayne, Indiana. About 4,000 of the models will be sold to collectors across the country and around the world. However, Copperfox has struck a deal with a factory in Germany that will more than double the yearly yield of plastic model horses.

After they are created, the model horses are boxed and distributed right from Nichols' Rochester home. Nichols says the target demographic for the model horses ranges from ages 8 to 80 and the bulk of the interest in the models comes from the Midwest.

Nichols has built the Copperfox brand to be a well-known and desired line of model horses. In the niche world of model horse collecting, the little Copperfox farm on Walnut Plain Road is a household name.

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