What it’s like living in Reno? – Lifestyles answer

DanHerr.com

Great question. In my humble opinion, moving to Reno is primarily a lifestyle choice.

Overall Reno:

Reno Collage (07-Nov-2012)

  • is a pretty cool place near lots of awesomeness:
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Sierra Nevadas
  • Black Rock Desert (if you are into the Burning Man scene)
  • Plenty of skiing, kayaking, SUPing, hiking, biking, you name it.
  • has a revival taking place in Midtown with awesome new breweries, restaurants, and bars. Lots of new startups and a small but growing Reno tech scene. Food coop. Completely bike-able and walkable areas of town.
  • is big enough to have most everything you want in a city: Major brand and big-box stores (i.e. Apple, Costco, ), outlets (i.e. Nike, ) trendy bars and clubs (i.e. Death & Taxes, Public House, Chocolate Bar, EDGE), restaurants (Midtown Eats, CAMPO),
  • is small enough that you can get most anywhere in town in 15 minutes and you can run into people you know…

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Rebuilding Reno one Project at a Time

So you may have heard a thing or two about this Reno Rebuild Project; it has been causing quite a stir. Two weeks ago I took a few minutes to sit down with co-creator Michael Connolly and find out about the men pushing this awesome grass-roots Reno revival. One question that I always love to ask is, “how the heck did you get to where you are today?”
Co-creators of the Reno Rebuild Project Michael Connolly and Chris Kahl went to Reno High School together and have known each other for 20+ years. About 15 years ago Chris and Michael met Zach Cage, a Reed High graduate. Michael and Zach co-own Sierra Tap House and Legends (by Whole Foods) and today the trio (Chris, Zach, and Michael) co-owns, Ole Bridge Pub and will be opening the new Brewer’s Cabinet this summer (p.s. this place looks awesome!).

Michael and Zach got their start in the early 2000’s when they turned a decent profit building a few residential investment properties in Fernley. Soon after, they began the prowl around Reno looking for a business to purchase and run. After meeting a local business broker (who specializes specifically in the buying and selling of local businesses) Michael & Zach found Legends Sports Bar & Grill looking for a buyer. The two of them liked the fun little sports bar, and begged and barrowed from friends and family to pool together enough money to make an offer.

And so began the tale of three young men, one bar, and a city looking for its Heros.

One day while walking along the Truckee downtown Michael and Zach noticed an old chapel space available for rent right on the river; a prime spot for a bar. They had been talking about how great it would be to start a business downtown and with some hard work and good-ol-fassion elbow grease they turned that dirty, old brick chapel space into today’s Sierra Tap House right along the river walk (where I met Michael). The boys weren’t interested in offering $1 drinks to draw mostly college students; instead they stuck to their legendary roots of sports bar. Big flat-screen TV’s, in and outside seating, micro-brews on tap, and a great connection with the kitchen upstairs make this a go-to classy hang out on any weekend.

Soon thereafter Michael and Zach teamed up with high school buddy Chris for the Ole Bridge Pub and now the Brewer’s Cabinet.

The Brewer’s Cabinet
After chatting Michael up for a while I was lucky enough to get an exclusive tour of the Brewer’s Cabinet (formerly the location of Chocolate Bar Reno on Arlington & California) before it opens this summer. Brewer’s Cabinet is definitely shaping up to be a great spot. Brewer’s Cabinet was birthed out of the “Home-brew competition” charity event that Michael, Chris and Zach have had a few years running now. Michael told me that one of the entries for the competition that won two years in a row will definitely be one of the main-stays at the new brewery.

The feel is definitely an urban take on old-Tahoe blended with funky-party barn: classy and upbeat; yet mellow at the same time. The hand-milled tables and benches are shaped from reclaimed Angora Lakes Fire wood from South Lake Tahoe. “Its going to be a small brewing operation,” Michael said, “and I’m going to be leaving it up to my two brewmasters to decide what to make, but we’re hoping to have a great mix of beers all year round.” Two weeks ago most of the brewing tanks, barrel holders, and refrigeration space was in place and Michael told me they were talking of creating their own garden next to the brewery where they will grow some local hops and herbs. Local boys doing great things locally, I love it!

Taking it to the Next Level

With all their local successes, it was only natural to think, “How can we help take this to the next level?” Well as the thought goes (and I tend to agree), “The more local great businesses we have downtown, the greater the health of our little city, the better we will all do (jobs, places to shop, eat drink, more trade = more better :) ).” Now it is true, through life and business, that connections and relationships are what truly pull you through and make the greatest difference in getting things done.

Well a number of years back Chris Kahl’s dad started a non-profit called Care Chest (which provides medical instruments for Northern Nevadans in need), and Michael and Chris serve as board members. “Why not work the local nonprofit route of economic development for our little town?,” they thought.

The trio teamed up with Community Foundation Bank
to create and manage the Reno Rebuild Project fund which will provide a low interest loans to help other local Nevadans start local businesses just like Michael, Chris, and Zach have (preferably downtown and midtown). What a great effort by a bunch of great local guys. If you have a couple minutes, check out their website at RenoRebuild.com.

The Reno Rebuild Project

The Reno Rebuild Project is a concept of the owners of Legends Grill, Sports & Spirits, The Sierra Tap House, Ole Bridge Pub, and the Brewer’s Cabinet. Local boys who grew up in this town. In 2012, they recognized a community need that they passionately hope to fill.

The recession, big corporate business, and the financial industry’s refusal to make small business loans have all contributed to the demise of Reno’s small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit that had resonated throughout our city for so long.

We hope to help solve this problem. This is our commitment to our community and to our fellow citizens: beginning in 2012, our four businesses will donate $0.05 cents of everything and anything sold at each location to the Reno Rebuild Project Fund. With these contributions, the fund will continue to grow, and once a year (beginning in 2013), we will select one idea from a Reno-based individual to receive a small business loan to make his or her dream a reality. This loan will be low-interest with all principal and interest returning to the fund to help it grow for the next small business. This fund will only be used toward non-franchise, small, local businesses.

All money will stay in our community supporting the local economy and helping to rebuild our community – one small business at a time.

Western Nevada Supply: An Attitude of Gratitude

If you’re from Nevada there’s a slim chance that you’ve never encountered Western Nevada Supply. At a minimum you’ve seen one of their baby-blue job trailers around, I know you have. Funny as it is, with all the materials I purchased from them over the past 15 years, I’ve never known a single bit of the story, until now.

On Wednesday April 25th, I had the opportunity to meet with Rick, the CEO and son of the founder of Western Nevada Supply. My first impression about Rick was that he was quick, all about business, and ready to get to the point. Literally within one minute I saw that there was much more to the picture. A family friend who has apparently been battling cancer, stopped in to say hello, and it was obvious that Rick has his priorities right; he apologized and immediately stepped to the door to greet the family friend.

Once we got a chance to chat, it was pretty clear that Rick believes strongly that businesses have an obligation to give back to the community; that community that is the customer-base for your business. Rick told me that business is not just about Western Nevada, “the #1 thing is you have to know your customers and be involved with them.” Rick and the Reviglio family believe in a three-legged approach to success:

“Sure you have to execute, every business has to execute; to have the right stuff that customers want, at the right price and have it arrive at the right time, but that’s just one leg.”

According to Rick, the other two points to Western Nevada’s success are (2) heavy community involvement and (3) involvement in the political process. “Reno is a place where people get behind businesses that support the community,” said Rick. When there is a tie between two businesses, people support the one who makes the community a better place.

During the recession of the past four years, Western Nevada has been hit as hard as any. Rick said that it was “one of the hardest things to do, laying off team-members.” People throughout the community have been asking him, “How can you continue to give to the community when you have to lay off people?” His response is that he and the Western Nevada family believe it is a must, you have “got to give back to the community.” Rick says that giving back is so fundamental to Western Nevada that it is built in and even considered a part of the overhead of doing business.

The sense of community and family permeates Western Nevada; if you’ve ever visited their campus off South Rock, you know this. From a management perspective the Reviglio’s have built a business that is “not the Ivory Tower approach,” but “In the Trenches Management.” I could see sitting and talking with Mr. Reviglio that everyone was doing business here on the level. Rick says, “See, we are open and straight forward. Our sales manager of 30-years works right down here on the floor with everyone else. The department managers are right in the middle of everything that is going on…

My office is not upstairs down the ivory hallway,
I am right here in the middle of it all.

In my short visit to 950 South Rock Boulevard it was clear that the team members at Western Nevada Supply they love where they live and appreciate everything they have in life and business.

To learn more about Western Nevada Supply visit goblueteam.com, connect with them on Facebook.

Humble Brand

Here is, once again, another great example of how businesses and organizations are utilizing social media for the greater good. Nevada Humane Society has engaging content on their Facebook page attracting the northern Nevada community to become new parents to any of their animals. With almost 5,000 Facebook fans, Nevada Humane Society advertises different events, features, and fundraisers that are happening at the shelter.

Before 1932, the homeless animals of northern Nevada were kept in a large pen “out in the country” where the standard for their care wasn’t very high. Enid Johnson and Genevra Kempton founded Nevada Humane Society in 1932, as a way to properly care for the stray and surrendered pets of our community. In 2007, Bonney Brown (Executive Director) and her team helped turn Nevada Humane Society into a no-kill shelter and one of the safest places in the country for animals. Here are some stats:…

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Great Post by Tiffany:

Holistic Marketing Concepts

I originally moved to Reno-Tahoe in 2003 because I was so impressed with the area, as did countless of other Californians (dozens of whom I’ve since met) who were looking to escape the traffic, smog, and urban sprawl for an area that had all the amenities of your average California “suburb,” but offered a much more scenic, refreshing, affordable, and manageable pace of life rife with countless opportunities for world-class recreation and outdoor adventure.

While most people outside of the area still associate Reno with the slogan, “The Biggest Little City,” there have been a variety of other re-branding attempts (as outlined in this post by local Reno branding expert Larry DeVincenzi) including “America’s Adventure Place,” “Far From Expected,” the ill-fated “A Little West of Center,” and the most recently unveiled, “What’s Your Passion?

In an article published…

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Great Post Kristin!

Humble Brand

One night one of my friends tweeted to me and said “Hey Kristin, you should interview the @grandsierra because they do an excellent job with their social media.” Before I could even respond, Ian and I already had a response from Grand Sierra thanking us for the compliment! So of course, I headed to Grand Sierra Resort to meet the face behind GSR’s social media.

The Grand Sierra Resort towers 26 stories and 1,990 rooms over Reno, just 3 miles east of Downtown. You may have once known this property as The Hilton, prior to that as Bally’s Reno, or even before that as the MGM Grand Reno (Hello Hollywood Hello, anyone?). The GSR still has a preserved chandelier from the MGM. The Meruelo Group saw the great potential in GSR and bought it in February of 2011.

Today, the GSR is undergoing a $25 million renovation. Many customers expressed…

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Moment – Behind the Scenes: Local Skiers making Local Skis

When looking for awesome businesses in Reno, Moment is Exhibit A. The moment you arrive at their shop in Sparks, you can tell that Moment has its own Culture. Not only is every car in the driveway a Subaru with Moment stickers, but within a few minutes I met Rom, one of the employees from Truckee, who had brought in his new Chickens to show off to Luke and Casey in their office. The culture and vibe is one that I am more than familiar with: Die-Hard Skiers. Tahoe, home-town skiers making skis for Tahoe skiers. This week I got an exclusive inside look at the manufacturing process and background stories of Reno’s own Moment.

Casey Hakansson, CEO of Moment, started experimenting with making skis while he was working with his family’s Gardnerville Masonry business. From my take, the real fireworks began when Casey met Luke.

Luke Jacobson was a student at the University of Nevada, Reno studying Mechanical Engineering when he met Casey. Their great passion for skiing and learning how to make great skis for themselves began a fantastic story of Ski-Business Success. Luke is an intelligent young man who loves the opportunity to tap both sides of his brain in technical engineering and equipment maintenance as well as his creative artwork graphic design as Vice President.

At first it was all about trying new shapes and seeing if they could get ten skis together in a week and sell them for a few hundred bucks to their friends. They borrowed money from family and pulled together personal savings to keep the dream alive. Luke told me that it has been a constant process of try it and refine it. Today Moment is a production facility doing in excess of $1 Million in annual sales and pumping out more than 30-pairs of skis per day. They have the most high-tech edge grinders, automatic CNC machines, full-scale printers, and they fill shipping containers full of skis and gear monthly.

Creating their business in Reno/Sparks and integrated with the Tahoe Culture has been key for Moment. “Athletes in Tahoe and the West Coast are pushing the envelope, riding the fattest skis, doing the most backcountry and dropping the gnarliest cliffs. Being here in Reno has definitely been key to our success,” says Luke. They love the ability to take their new products up to the ski hills (less than an hour away) and test them out; even the same day they are pressed. Unlike many ski companies, Moment doesn’t have to send product back and forth to Austria or other parts of Europe; if they want to try something new, they just do it. And they’re often successful at it (have you seen their signature square-tipped skis?).

This last Friday April 20th, when I visited Moment’s shop, it was a-buzz with activity and their manufacturing process seems like a pretty well-oiled machine; they’re definitely going places. In catching the tour with Luke, I was really surprised with how much they use American-made materials. Most every part of the skis, with the exception of the edging (which does come from Austria), is from the good-ol U.S. of A. I’m not sure that many (or any) other ski manufacturers can claim that. Moment even recycle the paper they print designs upon as packaging material for the skis. These guys rock.

To me, Moment is a prime example of a Reno business making waves in the international community, drumming up a huge following of raving customers, and building a culture around their business right here in the Truckee Meadows. Over the past few years I’ve ridden their Bibby Pro’s, Night Trains, Tahoe, and Reno Rocker’s and I love everything about representing our local brand. For me Moment is definitely one reason I love living in Reno.

Learn more about Moment at MomentSkis.com, like them on Facebook or find them on Twitter to learn more.

Moment Skis Logo

I welcome you to join the conversation about Reno businesses and entrepreneurs by writing your own post or sharing your thoughts in the comment section below.

Fred Altmann: From School Teacher to Builder & Back

Fred Altmann is a unique character; unassuming, friendly, obviously an avid outdoorsman and extremely active just shy of 68 years old. I met Mr. Altmann for lunch at Yosh’s Unique Deli in South Meadows (I might need to write a post about them soon, the Tri-Tip Sandwich on Dutch Crunch was awesome) to hear his story. After talking with him, chances are most Reno residents have run across one of Fred’s companies in the past 30 years: Altmann Construction, Altmann Ott Homes, or today’s Better Green Building. His current venture, Better Green Building Company focuses on green construction practices, renewable energy and energy efficient buildings in Reno and Lake Tahoe.

35 years ago Mr. Altmann got his start in construction after he and his father built Fred’s (and his wife Jill’s) first house in the Santa Cruz mountains. Fred said, “It was a disaster of an experience, but you know, I really realized that I loved working with my hands and I enjoyed seeing the whole idea come together.” Growing up Fred’s father had been a Ranger in up in Lassen National Forrest, then a Creamer in Oakland, and finally became an inspector and builder in the Bay Area. “We did everything in that house, you know; concrete, framing, plumbing… I plumbed that whole house… everything except for electrical.” With the passion for working with his hands and the stable backing of a school-teacher’s salary, Fred and some of his school teaching buddies began building one house each summer before return to teach school in the fall.

Fred and his wife Jill were introduced the Reno area when they took a year to live and ski in Alpine Meadows. “I had really been getting the itch to go skiing all the time and I figured we’d better get it out of our systems. So Jill and I moved up to Alpine Meadows.” Fred says he was working nights at Lakeside Pizza in Tahoe City, and coaching skiing during the day. By that spring Fred and Jill’s neighbor in Alpine introduced them to the budding and brand-new Caughlin Ranch development in Reno.

“Believe it or not, I sold that first house that I built in Caughlin Ranch to Chuck Mathewson.” That’s Chuck Mathewson of IGT fame and fortune. “Our concept in Caughlin Ranch was a completely new thing; nobody was doing that here.” While the building industry hasn’t exactly been hot the past few years, Fred says he working on some new concepts for Reno once again.

At heart Fred Altmann told me he is an educator and a craftsman. He enjoys working with his hands and seeing the fruits of his labors. Even this week you find Fred, at 67 year old, out in his backyard digging with his backhoe, building his new garden boxes, hammering away as his nails boards together. Fred says he believes in proving a concept on his own, at his house before taking it out and building it for others.

As we left the restaurant, Fred pondered, “You know, I wonder what would have happened if I would have stayed in education?” Well the truth is he never really left. Today Mr. Altmann’s greatest passion if for K-12 education in Northern Nevada. Fred spent many summers in his younger days teaching political science and history in Europe. Fred later told me he is a 7-year board member and past president of The Education Alliance of Washoe County. Also, recently Fred has become a founding member of the Washoe K-12 Education Foundation. This week he heads to Spain to visit with his son (a professor in Zurich) and grandchildren.

Better Green Building LogoIf you are interested in learning more about Fred or Fred’s company, they are online at BetterGreenBuilding.com.

For my complete disclosure; I have been helping Fred out for the past few weeks with online marketing and am taking a course called “Personal Branding” at the University of Nevada, Reno. While I am doing my best to portray as accurate and unbiased of a post as possible, please know that for this particular post, I am not a completely independent, unbiased 3rd party to Better Green Building Company. I did figure, however, that this would be the easiest starting point for this new blog about Locally Owned Reno Businesses and Entrepreneurs. With all future posts I intend to present businesses with whom I am completely unrelated. – Dan Herr (19-Apr-2012).

Intent: To Tell the Stories of Reno Business

We intend to use this blog to share, for real, and perhaps for the first time, the realities of business and life in Reno, Nevada. We, the people of this awesome place, are going to dig deep and find the stories right here in Reno. We want to share the good things that are happening: Reno’s favorite businesses, the real business owners, entrepreneurs, success stories, how they got to where they are now. We all want to know and that is what we are going to work weekly to  bring to the surface.

Reno is Rockin and there are many
damn good reasons we live here
.

We are going to share the good truths about Reno businesses that the outside world doesn’t hear all to often. This is Made In Reno.

We invite you to learn more about the movement and to join us.

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