One Sioux Falls woman is taking part in an international business transaction today from her own backyard. It's a local connection to the big business of "bunnies" in Japan.
Ruby Rezac started breeding bunnies 13 years ago.
Rezac says, "It was something to do with my kids at the time, and it kind of grew from there, we just went from a few rabbits to probably about 60."
Now, she's an international rabbit judge, and while judging a show in Minnesota four years ago, she met this Japanese pet store owner. Miki Sekine travels to South Dakota a couple times a year to pick up bunnies from Rezac. The midwest breeds some of the best.
Rezac says, "The heads, you want the bigger the bolder heads, the coloring, and the body type."
Over in Japan, rabbits are a rising trend. Just behind dogs and cats, bunnies are one of the most popular pets.
Sekine says houses and apartments in Japan are small, and rabbits don't take up much space. Plus, dogs bark and these little lop-ears are quiet.
Rabbit imports, like this one chomping on our mic, go for big money. This one might sell for 200 to 300 dollars in the U.S. In Japan, customers dish out as much as 1,500 dollars.
But for Rezac, it's not so much the money or the bunnies, but the international relationships.
Rezac says, "You find a common interest and a common bond, and it goes from there. And you build your friendships that way. It's about friendships more than it is rabbits."
The Japanese pet-store owner just arrived in Sioux Falls today. She'll take six rabbits from Rezac, and a total of 20 from the region before she leaves Minneapolis tomorrow on a 13-hour flight back to Japan.