Nevada Spirit 2016 Edition

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016 Edition

Nevada Business

Food Industry

Fostering the Battle Born Spirit through products Made and Grown in Nevada



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New Location Announcement:

Reno, Nevada welcomes Blanchard, Krasner & French!



Blanchard, Krasner & French, a professional law corporation, is excited to announce its next location opening in Reno, Nevada later this year. The address of our Reno office is 5470 Kietzke Lane, Suite 200, Reno, Nevada 89511. Abigail Stephenson, Esq., formerly of the La Jolla office, will be working full-time at our Reno office. Blanchard, Krasner & French is looking forward to the addition of our second firm location and the opportunity to offer our comprehensive legal services, expertise and involvement to the Reno and Northern Nevada communities. As part of our commitment to client service, we continually seek feedback from our clients—both positive and negative—to strengthen and improve our relationships. In our most recent Client Satisfaction Survey, 83 percent of clients rated BKF’s legal services “strongly effective,” while 63 percent said BKF’s services exceeded expectations. All of our clients said they would recommend BKF to others. These results are a testament to the relationships we build with those we serve. Giving back to the communities we serve is an important part of who we are. Blanchard, Krasner & French is already actively participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada, Ronald McDonald House of Northern Nevada and the Nevada Art Museum. A special thank you to everyone for their continued support of Blanchard, Krasner & French as we embark on this new adventure. ABOUT BLANCHARD, KRASNER & FRENCH: Blanchard, Krasner & French is a boutique law firm originally based in La Jolla, California. Our attorneys have broad experience in legal matters related to business, real estate, litigation, and individual wealth preservation and management with capabilities across a spectrum of practice areas. At Blanchard, Krasner & French we are unique in our ability to offer high quality legal services while maintaining “small firm” accessibility, service, and attention to our clients. We offer more than just technical legal expertise. Our lawyers provide creative, intelligent, and pragmatic solutions to address our clients’ particular business models, industries, and concerns. That is who we are and what we do.

OPENING THIS FALL IN RENO 5470 Kietzke Lane, Suite 200 • Reno, NV 89511 • 858.551.2440 • /BKFAttorneys @BKFAttorneys /company/clanchard-krasner-&-french 2

NevadaSpirit 2016

Spirit NevadaSpirit™ is a registered publication of Made in Nevada

Made in Nevada Officers and Board Members Jo Anne Hill Hill’s Handcrafted Soaps Made in Nevada, President Sam Males Nevada Small Business Development Center State Director Kimberly Elliott Silver Bighorn Company Advisory Board Made in Nevada is proudly sponsored by:

Great Basin Federal Credit Union 9770 S. Virginia St. Reno, NV 89511

The Flag Store, Sign & Banner 155 Glendale Ave. #9 Sparks, Nevada 89431 775-355-0506 1-800-842-1131

Nevada State Development Corporation Reno Office 6572 South McCarran Blvd Reno, NV 89509 775-770-1240 1-800-726-2494

Silver Bighorn Company 775-224-4472


Growing Nevada Business Small businesses are the backbone of the Nevada economy. These business owners work hard every day in Nevada’s big cities, small towns and the wide expanses of farming, ranching and mining country. However, this is not a solo effort. They rely on the support of the local community and organizations like Made in Nevada to thrive. Made in Nevada, managed by the Nevada Small Business Development Center (Nevada SBDC), is a non-profit marketing and branding initiative that has proudly promoted Nevada-made products for more than 25 years. The organization is the longest running marketing cooperative in the Silver State. This program, a champion for Nevada-based manufacturers and artisans, is designed to promote goods that are grown, created, made or enhanced more than 51 percent in Nevada. The program encourages members of the community to support local businesses, who are vital to Nevada’s economy. Made in Nevada currently represents small businesses as well as multiple manufacturing sub-sectors across the state. Membership opportunities are as low as $35 annually. A membership with Made in Nevada allows businesses to promote

their goods with the Made in Nevada logo, letting buyers know they are purchasing locally sourced products. A membership with Made in Nevada offers benefits such as participation in events, invitations to trade shows, and exposure in this annual Nevada Spirit publication. “Being able to purchase Made in Nevada products that are locally handmade by our crafters and artisans, as well as giving these wonderful products as gifts, provides a real kindred spirit for the local communities, as well as throughout the state and beyond,” Joanne Hill, president of Made in Nevada, said. This edition of Nevada Spirit tells the stories of Nevada farmers, manufacturers, retailers and entrepreneurs who make up the membership of Made in Nevada. It also includes business tips from the Nevada SBDC. We hope that the stories and testimonials will inspire other entrepreneurs to continue the proud tradition of producing Nevada-made products and become a part of Made in Nevada. For more information or to become a member or sponsor of Made in Nevada, please visit ●

This publication is underwritten by members of Made in Nevada, an initiative with the Nevada SBDC. Nevada SBDC is a partnership program funded by U.S. SBA, and state and local governments and entities. Office: Nevada Small Business Development Center University of Nevada, Reno/Mail Stop 0032 • Reno, NV 89557-0032 (775) 327-2340 • Content development, graphic design and publication overseen by: Northern Nevada Business Weekly 5355 Kietzke Lane, Ste. 100 • Reno, NV 89511 Phone: (775) 770-1173 • The editorial content decisions are those of Made in Nevada. Copyright 2016 Made in Nevada. All rights reserved. To obtain additional copies or purchase reprints of Nevada Spirit articles visit the Made in Nevada website.

Growing Nevada Business


Creating a Nevada lifestyle brand starting with Reno eNVy It was a during a phone call with a friend that the Reno eNVy brand was born. “I said Reno, NV 89523,” Scott Dunseath, Owner of Reno eNVy, recalled. His friend paused and it was in that moment they realized that the state abbreviation for Nevada also sounded just like the word envy. “That was sort of my aha moment,” Dunseath said. In 2005 he thought taking the idea to the River Festival would be an interesting way to see if anyone found the idea clever or interesting. “Over the course of that weekend we sold about 65 units of shirts and hats,” Dunseath said. “That, to me, was the validation I needed to take the next step and carry on with this idea.”

Standing in the Reno eNVy store in the heart of downtown, Dunseath recounted a woman in 2005 telling him he had the tiger by the tail with the Reno eNVy idea. “That is something that has always motivated me,” he said. Moving forward, Dunseath went out to every event and booth opportunity he could find to get the brand in front of people. “If you are a startup person, like me, Reno is unique with all its events where you can go out and basically product test,” he explained. After a year and half of product testing and 12 years working in the ski and snowboard industry, he was ready for a new challenge. Dunseath decided in 2006, based on his regional success at events and shows that he was going to go into business for himself. “That was sort of the moment I jumped all in,” he said. Reno eNVy’s first brick and mortar location was in the West Street Market in 2008. However, that was when the economy turned. “I think that the West Street Market did not reach its potential because of that, but for us it was a great spot to jump off and start building our brand,” Dunseath said. Their West Street Market space was just 300 square feet and they quickly out grew that. From there, they worked with the City of Reno and landed on their current location at 135 North Sierra Street. “I fell in love with the spot,” Dunseath said. “The traffic, location and visibility.” However, there was one obstacle. It was 1,800 square feet and while Dunseath was ready to grow he couldn’t afford to grow that quickly. The City of Reno allowed him to rent just the front 600 square feet in 2012. “We were super excited about the space,” Dunseath recalled. Once they were up and running on North Sierra Street they found people often came in to inquire about what Reno eNVy was and looking for information on what to do in the area. Dunseath explained how Reno lacked a true tourist center; The Chamber of Commerce helped but didn’t completely solve the problem. “We reached out to the RSCVA and asked what they thought about partnering with our store by putting a visitor center in the back half of the store,” he said.

Scott Dunseath, owner of Reno eNVy stands in front of his store located in downtown Reno. Photo by Brook Bentley.


NevadaSpirit 2016

In a collaborative effort, they ended up with a memo of understanding creating a partnership between the City of Reno, RSCVA and Reno eNVy that the back portion of the store would serve as the Reno-Tahoe Visitor Center.

“If you are a startup person, like me, Reno is unique with all its events where you can go out and basically product test.” Dunseath reflected on what has made Reno eNVy succeed and the future of the business. “For me, what we struck on was that there is a crazy amount of pride in Nevada, in Reno specifically,” he said. Prior to Reno eNVy, there was a lack of anyone serving the market to wear something that said Reno or representing Reno pride other than fan based wear for the Wolf Pack or Aces. “So, what we have discovered is we created a little niche for ourselves,” Dunseath added. “Our goal now is take the business model of city pride and push it out to a state wide level,” he said. “We want to create a Nevada lifestyle brand.” “We have introduced two new brands: Battleborn and Home Means Nevada,” he explained. Dunseath carries a trademark on Battleborn and is in the process of getting trademarks on Home Means Nevada as well. “We want to secure the intellectual property so that we are creating a brand and have ownership of that brand,” he said. “It was always the plan to grow, we just didn’t know how we would grow,” Dunseath stated. Reno eNVY is still focused on Reno and then they will look to expand east and south. Dunseath said repositioning to not lose their identity, but grow beyond Reno. “The biggest challenge we have is the size of the Reno market,” Dunseath explained, “How many Reno eNVy shirts can you really own?” “I’m overwhelmed by the support of the community and that they have adopted the brand and the trailer,” Dunseath highlighted. The trailer pulls emotion out of people, Dunseath mentioned both good and bad. The trailer that has been part of the brand since its’ early stages is a small airstream, vintage camper. “The trailer really represents the outdoor recreational and lifestyle opportunities,” he explained.

Dunseath has been trying to position himself to work on the business rather than in the day-to-day operations. He currently has one full-time and two part-time employees managing operations at the store. “All of our embroidery and screen printing happens here locally,” he said. As part of their community connection, they also have Spirit eNVy. They collaborate with schools and mascots within the Washoe County School District to help build a sense of pride with students. “If it wasn’t for the community we wouldn’t have a business,” Dunseath said. While Dunseath isn’t a Nevada native, he has generations and family history in Reno. He came to the area as a kid and later to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, where he fell in love with the mountains and community. ●

A partnership between the City of Reno, RSCVA and Reno eNVy allows the front of the 1,800-squarefoot store to display Reno eNVy merchandise and the back portion of the store to serve as the Reno-Tahoe Visitor Center. Photo by Brook Bentley.




“The Made in Nevada label is a great way for retailers and consumers to support locally made products. As an education and research program, The University of Nevada, Reno Desert Farming Initiative works with many members in the local food industry to promote agriculture and nutrition. Made in Nevada has increased brand awareness in the last year to assist those industries and make it easier for consumers to find and invest in Nevadamade products.” — Jennifer Ott Desert Farming Initiative

Growing Nevada Business


Five steps to develop a brand for your small business Creating a brand for a business is becoming ever more important as social media and a digital presence is often just as important as in-person interactions. Creating and promoting that brand should come about from a thoughtful and deliberate process. With the continuously changing marketing landscape, seeking out professional assistance can mean the difference between success and failure. To effectively brand a new or existing small business, there are several basic steps that take a short amount of time but can have a tremendous impact on the enterprise. The work on the action items listed below can set you on the path towards a unique brand. Assistance with all of these is provided – free of charge – by the Nevada Small Business Development Center. 1. Choose your brand: Take time to think about what your business is about and the image you want to convey to the outside world. Discuss this with key stakeholders to get multiple perspectives. Their input can be some of the most important.




By Josh Green, Director of Business Development for Enbio Industries 2. Create a message: Design a logo that fits the brand you have chosen; it will be the visual representation of your brand. Also, create a branding statement that can accompany your logo, which is what you want the public to remember about you and/or your business. Both should be timeless to limit the need to update. 3. Send it out: Put the logo and tagline on your business cards, website, flyers, social media accounts and other communications. This helps to create consistency in what consumers and customers see. 4. Stick with it: Let the brand take hold and become part of the community. The goal is to have individuals think about your logo and/or tagline whenever hearing your business’s name or if they are in the market for your product or service. 5. Live it: Owners should ensure they are living the values of the business as owners and their business are inseparably linked. ●

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Growing Nevada Business


The Flag Store Sign & Banner flies high In the late 1980s, when the owners of The Flag Store Sign & Banner first moved into their new location off of Glendale Avenue in Sparks, they had one big question in mind. “We had no idea how the heck we were going to fill it,” said Eric Smith, vice president for The Flag Store. Now they are running out of space to fit all of the items they carry. “Over the course of the years, as you can see right now, we are bursting at the seams,” he says as he gestures around the store’s interior. He estimates the store has a product line of around 15,000 items housed in its 1,800-square-foot space. They’ve since installed a new high-tech queue system to track inventory and was one of the first flag stores in the nation to introduce a website where all items in the store are also available online.

“Our real break out was the first Gulf War, we designed ‘We Support Our Troops’ ribbon flags.” Eric’s father, Martin, started The Flag Store in 1986. He had a few previous business ventures that didn’t pan out, but came across a flag store in Redding, Calif. They were looking to start a location in northern Nevada and were trying to find someone willing to get it started. So Smith packed up his family and moved to the Silver State. The Flag Store’s original location was a 500square-foot space off of Keystone Avenue. Eric Smith said his parents opened the business with their own money, although his mother worked as a casino dealer on the night shift, while the business gained its footing. “One of my earliest memories as a kid is waking up in the middle of the night so we could go pick up mom from the casino and coming home and back to bed and go to school in the morning,” Eric Smith said. Within a year after it opened, The City of Reno forced the Smiths to move elsewhere, citing the fact its location was zoned for office, not retail. The Flag Store is truly a family affair for the Smiths. Martin shepherded the company through its three decades in business, while his wife, Valorie, handled all the accounting matters and other tasks in the store. Eric himself grew up in the store, working all the way through high school and while attending the University of Nevada, Reno, where he earned a degree in political science. Eric’s sister, who works as a


NevadaSpirit 2016

The Flag Store Sign & Banner carries United States, individual state, military and sports team flags along with an assortment of other items such as wind spinners, decals and pins. Photo by Duane Johnson

high school teacher, also helps with the family business during her time off in the summers. Martin has gradually turned over the day-to-day operations to Eric, although the elder Smith still handles the marketing side of the business. The store has nine employees and Eric Smith says it has become a close-knit group. He will even bring in his three-year-old son to work, who is beloved by the staff. The Flag Store has carried United States, individual state, military and sports team flags along with an assortment of other items such as wind spinners, decals and pins. The first Gulf War in the early 1990s and later following the events of 9/11, while admittedly tragic events, provided a boost to The Flag Store’s bottom line. Eric Smith said the outpouring of support for the military was incredible at those times. “Our real break out was the first Gulf War, we designed ‘We Support Our Troops’ ribbon flags,” he said. “That started our partnership with military organizations. We felt it was always important to give back especially to our veterans.” When the country’s recession really started to manifest in the mid-2000s, the Smiths knew they had to expand the product line to survive. It started expanding its selection of Nevada-themed items, which proved to be best sellers. They came up with the Made In Nevada trivia game that is sold at museums around the state. The Flag Store annually hosts a Made In Nevada marketplace event, where it allows MIN members to showcase merchandise free of charge. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3 at The Flag Store’s location. Eric Smith said The Flag Store is constantly evolving, partly out of necessity to keep the store fresh and keep up with customer demands. They are constantly updating or introducing new items to its product line, or adding new technology, such as a flag screenprinting device to keep up with customer demands. “Hard work, dedication are what it’s boiled down for us to be successful,” Eric Smith said. “It’s very important not to get stagnant. You have to evolve or you die or get really small.” ●

Snowbound Books is a self publisher of children’s books in Lamoille, Nev. The company consists of a writer, Karen Wilson, a photographer and Wilson’s neighbor, Susan Zerga, as well as their bookkeeper, accountant and attorney. Wilson’s husband thought of the name for their company. The company’s official name is Wilson and Zerga LLC. Currently, they publish only their own books. Wilson and Zerga have customers all over the world, and their books are sold in Reno at the Nevada Museum of Art, Sundance Books and the Artists Co-op; in Carson City at the Purple Avocado, and at other locations in the region. They also sell at local craft fairs. While the books are written for children, the photographs have helped Snowbound Books sell well to adults as mini-coffee table books. Zerga is a professional photographer who specializes in photos of Lamoille and the Ruby Mountains. Zerga sells her photos in the Elko area. She displays her photographs on the website, http://www. booksandphotos. She also has published her own book of photographs, Nevada Colors Northeastern Nevada, which features Elko County, its landscapes, wildlife, old buildings, horses and working cowboys. Wilson and Zerga developed the idea for writing a children’s book after Zerga shot a photo of pogonip, a term known in northern Nevada and defined by Webster as “a heavy winter fog containing ice particles.” That photo inspired Wilson to write a story, Pogonip Magic, and it eventually graced the cover of the book. At first they intended only to read it to their grandchildren. Soon, however, they began reading the book to children at a local elementary school. After an initial positive reception of the story, the two read it to higher grade levels and kept receiving approving comments. In 1998 they formed their business and started looking for publishing houses. When this search did not pan out, Wilson and Zerga decided to publish the book themselves. The first printing sold out immediately. They ordered a second printing of 5,000 and are now on the third printing. Pogonip Magic was chosen as Nevada’s entry in the Pavilion of States at the 2007 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Snowbound Books’ next inspiration was from a Zerga photo of a deer tangled in an electrical cord. Autumn Rescue was published in 2004. In 2006 they published Curious Adventure: A Summer Deer Tale. This told the story of an encounter between a real deer and a dummy deer used by hunters. Their most recent book, published in 2008, was The White Fawn. It is about discrimination and features all of the animal babies in the area. In the story, animal mothers tell their babies something negative based on the fawn’s color. The deer decide to




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Snowbound Books tells stories of Eastern Nevada accept the white fawn despite his color. Zerga photographed all of the animals with their young. Wilson and Zerga have read to classes at every school in Elko County, from kindergarten through high school, and even in schools in Denver, Colo., Fresno, Calif., and all over Nevada. Wilson is originally from Chicago and moved to Nevada in the mid-1950s. While raising a family they lived in Elko, then moved to Lamoille about 20 years ago. Zerga grew up in South Dakota and Missouri. When her father took a mining job in Ely, she moved to Nevada, where she met her husband. She has lived in the Elko area for almost 30 years. Zerga has taken the photos that appear in the books mostly between their two homes. She takes the opening photos from her front yard. While Snowbound Books has no plans for another book, the beauty and wildlife that surround them could again inspire their creativity. ●

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Growing Nevada Business


Home Sweet Home:

The Chocolate Shoppe by Sweet Images cooks it up in Gardnerville

Lynn Falcone and Harvey Jasny have taken their business, The Chocolate Shoppe by Sweet Images from rather humble beginnings in the Carson Valley to a burgeoning destination for locals and tourists alike. The couple’s boutique chocolate shoppe in Gardnerville creates handcrafted retail and wholesale sweet treats that are tailored for virtually any occasion. “People will come in or call us and say ‘here’s the budget, here’s the theme and now come up with something.’ And we do,” Falcone said. The store offers traditional chocolate items such as truffles, toffee, caramels and fudge, but can experiment and customize other treats for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays or holidays, depending on what a customer desires. Among the specialized items is a Bunny Box made out of chocolate with jellybeans inside for Easter or their recently unveiled and now popular Snickerz bars. Falcone, who is a huge Carolina Panthers fan, made sweets with a Super Bowl 50 theme. “As opposed to other chocolate shops or chain candy stores, we promote our customization and unique ability that works for any idea, or any persuasion with a quick turnaround,” Jasny said. “Our product line may take a vacation, but we never do.” The shop is located in the Raley’s Center behind the Chevron Station in Gardnerville. Falcone and Jasny admit their location is not the most ideal, being tucked away on the side of the shopping center hidden from heavy traffic. But they’ve pumped money into various advertising avenues to attract customers. A selection of treats on display at the Chocolate Shoppe by Sweet Images in Gardnerville. Photo by Duane Johnson


NevadaSpirit 2016

For one, the couple bought billboard space just off of Highway 395 south of town to catch traveler’s attention. They also bought targeted radio spots and ventured on social media to further promote the business. “We spent a lot of money on advertising, but found that Facebook and radio is what works for us,” Falcone said. They currently don’t have a website. Instead, they direct customers to the business’ Facebook page. The owners feel that the products on their own serve as the best promotion for the business. “We tried to make it to where it becomes a must see stop when people come through town and still provides a good value to locals,” Jasny said. We feel our prices are reasonable compared to say high-end gourmet chocolate. Our focus is to get people in the door and make them customers for life.” Falcone moved to the Lake Tahoe region in 1999 from her native North Carolina and met Jasny, a transplant himself from the Bay Area. Falcone previously had decades of experience working in the food industry, including copying images on food products and the couple decided it might be a viable business opportunity in the Carson Valley. They secured a contract to copy images on cookies from a photo imaging company at a location just off of Johnson Lane in Minden. After the recession, the fledgling company was hurt by a lack of corporate business and felt that retail was a much better opportunity. They decided to reinvent the business, but found their location on Johnson Lane wasn’t suited for what they had in mind. They found their new 1,200-square-foot location at Raley’s, although Falcone said it needed major renovations before they moved in. They opened The Chocolate Shoppe By Sweet Images on May 10, 2012, just in time for Mother’s Day. “It was either this or try and go get a job, because we invested every penny we had into this,” Falcone chuckled. At first they couldn’t afford signage except for one on the shopping center and a simple handmade sign on the front door that said, “Chocolate Shoppe Coming Soon.” But Jasny said that simple phrase created a lot of buzz in the community and generated a loyal following. Beside themselves, Falcone and Jasny employ two full-time and two part-time workers, plus seasonal staff during peak seasons, including Christmas and around Valentine’s Day. The couple wants to continue to grow The Chocolate Shoppe for years to come, while possibly grooming one of their employees to take over the business one day. “I think our customers appreciate the fact we work our tails off alongside our employees to give them what they want,” Falcone said. ●

Sandra Reed, a retired school teacher after 20 years in the classroom, now enjoys and photographs “the beauty of what I see around me” in Eastern Nevada. Most of Reed’s work for her business, Nevada’s Treasure Photography, has focused on capturing the beauty of Nevada’s wild horses. “To go out and spend a whole day in absolute solitude and silence has made me fall in love with the Nevada desert,” Reed said. Reed has many different types of customers and she offers a variety of photo-related products. Besides photographs, her products include key chains, photo frame magnets, boxed cards, photo lollipops, jewelry and chocolate bars, all of which visitors to Ely buy as souvenirs. “They seem to be attracted to the Wild West side of Nevada tourism rather than the typical gaming and casino souvenirs,” Reed said. The chocolate bars are a private label and are made by a company in Colorado. Reed prints her own labels for them. Besides being a decadent indulgence, they make people aware of Nevada’s wild horses and are Reed’s best selling item. Although Reed has a small studio, she prefers doing most of her work in her favorite location for photography, which is “outdoor rustic scenery, of which Nevada has plenty to offer!” Reed operates a oneperson business, although her husband has been supportive. Reed is expanding her clientele by offering newborn photography, weddings and casual, outdoor portraiture. “At Christmastime, I do Santa photography with a green screen,” said Reed. “Customers pick the background they like, we snap the photos and print them right there for them to take home immediately. They seem to like getting to choose their favorite scene and then leaving with something in hand right on the spot.” She also loves to crochet thematic outfits for newborn photography. Then she uses a green screen to choose a background that matches the outfit. “Most of my family and children portraiture has been outdoors, and there are so many varied, beautiful spots around Ely, with its clean air and stunning sunsets,” Reed said. Reed enjoys photography so much because it is open ended and offers creative freedom, which “is both a challenge and a delight,” Reed adds. She founded her business about a year and a half ago. She was encouraged to step out on her own after her husband bought her a Christmas gift of a two-day photography session mentored by Jeanne Nations, a renowned wild horse photographer in Eastern Nevada. “It is a fledgling business, but I know that it takes a long time to get established and develop a reputation,” she said. “It’s a learning process, and I’m growing.” Reed has found that Eastern Nevada offers her plenty of terrain to cover and subjects to photograph. “I wake up inspired on a beautiful day, choose a direction to drive an hour, then hunt for wildlife to take pictures of. … I’m ready to snap pictures of whatever I might find, however elusive and challenging. It takes a good 10-hour day of photography to maybe find a couple of worthy photographs to tinker with. Despite the hours and miles, it is very rewarding.” She also looks forward to photographing the Ely steam locomotive and night photography of the stars above Great Basin National Park. For 2017, Reed has set a goal of expanding her presence on social media. She has a Zenfolio website, which displays her various types of photography. Besides selling to tourists, Reed sells canvas and framed prints at the Ely Art Bank and the Garnet Mercantile, two local establishments that showcase local artists.



Nevada’s Treasure Photography captures the beauty of Eastern Nevada When she does wedding, family or newborn photography, Reed delivers a few complimentary matted prints of various sizes to give her customers a preview. Then the customers can choose to purchase more. Some customers prefer to purchase a CD with the rights to all of the pictures. With the wild horse photography, when Reed has a favorite picture, “You can be sure to find it on a key chain, necklace, magnet, greeting card or framed print!” Reed adds that, “During the holidays I like to send out a Nevada’s Treasure Photography Christmas card to as many people as I can, to share the beauty of Nevada’s wild horses.” Reed spent part of her childhood growing up in East Africa and “snapping black and white pictures of elephants, giraffes, warthogs and all kinds of wildlife.” Reed now finds similar fascination with the beauty of Nevada’s mustangs and other wildlife. “Not being a native Nevadan, I see so much “treasure” around me, with its rusticity, pristine condition, mountain ranges and high desert offerings that present so much to see with a careful, focused eye,” Reed said. This love for the outdoors made naming her business Nevada’s Treasure Photography an obvious choice. To see more of Sandra’s photographs, visit ●

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In Nevada, 98 percent of businesses employ fewer than 100 workers. Source: Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR)

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Growing Nevada Business


Michael and Sons moves to new location Work at Michael and Sons Fine Jewelry & Native American Art is a family affair. Owner David Lorenz purchased Michael and Sons from his parents in 1990, and his mother still works there. His daughters Arica and Morgan also work at Michael and Sons — that’s three generations of employment at the business. Lorenz learned the jewelry trade by working as a jeweler in his parent’s store and at a jewelry store at Lake Tahoe. He also ran a pawnshop in Sparks early in his career. Lorenz began mastering the craft after completing study at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. “I didn’t want to go to college, and I always liked silver and gold, so when we moved out here I decided to go to (jewelry) school,” he says. Michael and Sons moved from its longtime home at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in February of 2015. After a 33-year run on East Second Street, it was time to upgrade and expand the retail side of the business. Michael and Sons grew from a 2,000square-foot space inside the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Smoke Shop to a 4,700-square-foot prime location in the heart of Midtown. The new location at 1401 S. Virginia St. is far from typical. It sits where the old drive-thru teller banking lanes were when the space was Heritage Bank. The new store is the pride of Lorenz’s long career. “We always looked for a better location — the smoke shop was not big enough for us to expand, and the location is not retail friendly,” Lorenz says. “I may be a bit prejudiced, but this building is the jewel of Midtown.” Lorenz spared no expense in designing the store to be visually stunning and customer friendly. It has open-beam ceilings and is lit with 100-percent LED lighting throughout. Every display case was custombuilt and has no harsh right angles — the layout is soft and flowing. The handcrafted customer countertop is made from reclaimed wood from a tree at Lake Tahoe that died of bark beetle infestation. The wood trim is reclaimed hickory flooring. The back counter also is reclaimed wood from Lake Tahoe. The gate and sliding barn doors for the office are made from reclaimed barn wood. The mantle above the cozy fireplace also is made from reclaimed barn wood. At age 54, Lorenz had no trepidation taking the additional expenses of building out a larger space for his business. “This is my passion, this is my dream,” he says. “It’s what I have worked for all these years. We signed a 10-year lease here, with options after that. When it comes time for me to retire, (my daughter Arica) has a good foundation to get started with.”


NevadaSpirit 2016

In 2006, Lorenz contracted with Gems TV to become its service center. Lorenz decided it was time to further his education, so he completed the business program at University of Phoenix. He used his work with Gems TV for real-world experience in the classroom for coursework in market forecasting, pricing and contract negotiations.

“This is my passion, this is my dream... It’s what I have worked for all these years.” He also used his experiences at Gems TV to plan and layout his new store. “This store here, this is my coming out party,” Lorenz says proudly. “This is my ideal store.” Michael and Sons features a lot of handmade native Nevada turquoise jewelry using stones he purchases directly from Nevada miners. The shop also has a license to create signature University of Nevada Wolf Pack jewelry. Michael and Sons does brisk business in repair work and custom design for 14 other jewelry stores in town. Lorenz says Michael and Sons is the only jewelry shop in northern Nevada that has two CNC milling machines and two 3-D printers running nearly non-stop. Creating custom jewelry is a shared experience between the jewelry team and customers, Lorenz says. “Customers are involved from the beginning to the finish. They are involved in the entire process. We don’t just sell jewelry; we are creating memories that last a lifetime.” Lorenz says the most challenging part of his job is keeping pace with new technologies. “We are a leader, not a follower,” he says. “When we started using CAD design, everyone else followed. When we got a 3-D printer, everyone else jumped on board. For us, it’s about always being in front, and never behind.” ● Owner David Lorenz stands proudly in Michael and Son’s Jewelry Company’s new location at 1401 S. Virginia St. Photo by NNBW staff.

Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company of Reno is focused on the quality of the bean and the art of the roast. “We celebrated our 15th anniversary on July 1,” Tim Curry, owner and founder of Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company, said. Initially, Curry was working on opening an espresso bar. “I had to learn about coffee from seedling to cup as part of that,” he said. In that research, he did an experiment on roasting and was hooked almost instantly. Sitting in his roasting facility Curry explained, “this is the avenue I chose. The roasting side rather than the brewing side.” It was a long process for the first year and half trying to make all the pieces come together. One of those pieces was finding the right roaster. “I really wanted to roast with wood,” he said. “I felt it was a great match for Reno, very traditional, very old world method of roasting,” Curry explained. Other methods of roasting include, natural gas, hot air, infrared and more, but Curry was not interested in any of those. “Reno, particularly 15 years ago, was a very old school community and I felt the wood-fire roasted method was a good fit,” he said. Fifteen years ago to now, Curry has gone from a background in the restaurant business to gaining international recognition for his coffee. He mentioned Roast magazine and Imbibe Media among others that have acknowledged his roasting with metals, ratings and recognition. It took Curry eight years to get everything built up. He worked part time during those first eight years.

The art of wood-fire roasted coffee

Tim Curry, owner and founder of Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company, has been roasting coffee for more than 15 years. Photo courtesy Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company.

“I felt it was a great match for Reno, very traditional, very old world method of roasting.” “I was headed into the holiday season, and it was really busy and I decided I couldn’t do both,” he explained. “I had to pull the plug and just go with the coffee. I have no regrets,” Curry added. “That was in 2009.” There are nine wood-fire roasters in the United States that he knows of, compared to about 1,400 coffee roasters total in the United States. “It is a very uncommon method of roasting here. It is an old world, European style,” he explained. Curry began trying to acquire his roaster during a convention in Las Vegas. He asked every roaster manufacturer he could find if they would make him a wood-fire roaster. “They all laughed and said no you don’t want to do that,” he said. He finally found his roaster in Los Angeles with one of the nine roasters that wood-fire roast in the United States. “I flew down there, ran some test patches, decided I wanted it and put a deposit on it because I still had to find a place to put it,” Curry said. Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company is a twoperson operation and can be found at 30 Ohm Place #2 in Reno. “I have been roasting here for 14 years,” he said. “This is it.”

Curry explained, they mostly do, “dynamite coffee for coffeehouses and restaurants predominantly here in the local market.” They focus solely on Arabica beans, which include dozens of varieties. “We have between 25 to 30 different coffee profiles,” he said. The art of the roasting is creating these different profiles. “When I started this, I agreed I wouldn’t grow beyond the art,” Curry explained. Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company has a strong focus around quality. “If we grow too much the quality of the coffee will suffer—it will become just production,” he said. “Right now it is an art form.” They roasted about 22,000 pounds of coffee last year. “I am a tiny little guy,” he said. A micro roaster is anyone that roasts less than 100,000 pounds per year. “I roast five days a week. Six days a week during November and December,” Curry said. Curry has been in Nevada for 28 years. He has been wood-fire roasting coffee for more than half of that time. ●

Growing Nevada Business


A tasty treat If you’ve never tasted Maria Masini’s Roasted Garlic Jam, your taste buds have been denied a delicious treat. Shoppers at farmer’s markets in Reno and Sparks have seen the jam jars flying off the familiar red and white checked tables under the Carrol’s Corner Truck Farm sign. Their booth, managed by Carrol in his signature denim overalls with Maria by his side, has been a fixture at farmer’s markets for decades selling their garlic braids, leafy greens, potatoes, squash, melons and other enticing organic produce. They proudly display the “Nevada Grown” and “Made in Nevada” stickers and are grateful for the support of these programs. Carrol grew up in Mason Valley where his dad farmed potatoes. For the Masini’s, agriculture is a three generation family business and a lifestyle they have embraced enthusiastically, despite the hard work and challenges, like lack of water. “My husband has dirt in his veins,” she insists. “And I just hate housework, so my house is a mess. I’d rather be farming and I especially love driving the tractor.” Married 43 years, Carrol and Maria raised their three sons on 350 acres of what was previously the Yerington Dairy. Being successful at farming means reading the seasons and the trends and responding at the right time with new production plans. In the beginning, the couple were growing primarily alfalfa hay on the land originally purchased in 1947 by his father off SR 208. However, a decade ago, after seeing prices fall due to a weakening demand for hay across the U.S. and the impact of the drought, the Masini’s decided to lease out much of their land to other producers. Instead they began focusing more attention on raising vegetables and melons. In 2002, they started taking their products to farmers’ markets in Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Gardnerville as well as operating a seasonal farmstand on their property. “I used to do nine



“In Nevada and other less populous states, mostly western, the residents have developed a kinship with their State and all that goes with it. In Nevada that kinship is palpable and is quite clear to all companies and vendors who market and sell products made in Nevada. CAMPIE’S LAVENDER PATCH, grows, harvests and develops plants and products made in Nevada and proudly displays that logo. Our friends and customers comments are directed towards the quality of the products and the Made in Nevada logo always brings a smile.” — Michael Van Camp Campie’s Lavender Patch


NevadaSpirit 2016


markets, all seven days — a lot of work,” she remembers. This year they cut back just to two seasonal markets in Reno and Sparks that ran June through the end of September. The impetus for starting in farmers’ market sales was actually a failed onion crop they had intended for the wholesale market. They planted watermelons in the same field and ended up with an abundant crop that needed to be sold. Crop rotation is actually a very effective soil management technique being more widely utilized in agriculture. Carrol learned early on that alfalfa provided the perfect soil nutrition for following with a potato crop. Carrol and Maria have got nothing but positive consumer reviews not only because they offer high quality products (some organic products they resell from their Yerington farm neighbors at Nevada Fresh Pak/Peri and Sons) but also because they tell their customers how to store everything to maximize freshness. For example, their bags and mesh sacks are intended to help the consumer reduce sprouting and mold. Directions are posted on their Facebook page, “Using our mesh sacks, put 3 finishing nails 3 inches apart in a board you have put on the garage wall next to the door. You can slide the bag on and off the nails, to easily get an onion when you need it,” they suggest. “Paper bags: Just cut them off an inch or two below the upper fold. Two of them fit side-by-side nicely in a standard-size cabinet, so you can sort red and yellow onions. If you want you can trim a smooth curve in the front face for easy access to the onions. The bags are sturdy enough that you can tug them out and shove them around while full of onions without breaking, and the onions breathe well enough that you won’t have any more problems with sprouting or mold.” In 1985, the Mason Valley Conservation District gave Carrol their Outstanding Conservation Farmer of the year for being an early adopter of using plastic pipeline to distribute irrigation water. Now they have switched to even more efficient drip irrigation. According to Maria, Carrol has been planning to retire each year for the last 15, but has changed his mind in part because he really enjoys interacting with customers at the markets. She says this year he claims is their last in active farming. Lack of water is one of the biggest barriers, she says, “we are draining the aquifer and it’s just gotten so expensive.” Instead they hope to fully lease their land to other growers. Time will tell. ●

Carrol’s Corner Truck Farm is managed by Carrol Masini and his wife Maria. Photo courtesy Carrol’s Corner Truck Farm.

Lattin Farms, a family owned farm, began growing crops in 1909 and they have been farming the 400 acres of land in the Lahontan Valley for five generations. Rick and B. Ann Lattin are the current owners of Lattin Farms, a certified organic farm that grows vegetables and fruits such as melons, squash, corn, tomatoes, raspberries, garlic and peppers for residents across northern Nevada. The farm distributes its produce through farmers markets, the farm’s old-fashioned produce stand, and through the Great Basin Basket Community Supported Agriculture. Lattin Farms also offers an online ordering service where produce can be picked up around various locations in the northern Nevada region. The Lattins first started growing alfalfa and small grains as their main crop during the early years of the farm. Since then, production has evolved to include the cultivation of organic produce, breads, and canned goods such as the farm’s homemade jams. “We used to sell produce from the back of our pickup truck,” said Ann Lattin. “Later we built a little outdoor produce stand. Then we built an actual building, but we didn’t get a lot of traffic out here until we started the corn maze.” The Lattin’s corn maze was the beginning of what would become the farm’s annual Fall Festival, which has expanded over the years. There are many events offered during the month-long Fall Festival, which has taken place for nearly 20 years on the Fallon-based farm. One of the festival activities is a hayride to the farm’s pumpkin patch. Another is a scarecrow factory where festival goers can build a scarecrow to take home. The scarecrow factory is run by different organizations as a fundraiser for their group. There are also educational tours to teach kids and adults alike where their food comes from and how it is cultivated. During the Fall Festival the Lattins use an old hay derrick for their jack-o-lantern pumpkin tower. Stacked on the hay derrick are more than 200 pumpkins carved in different designs by volunteers. Starting halfway through October, the farm keeps the jack-o-lanterns lit every night for the remainder of the month. Then there is the biggest attraction of the festival, the farm’s popular corn maze. The 2016 corn maze theme was the Peanuts comic strip in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Peanuts television special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” Lattin

A family tradition Farms joined other farms across the United States and Canada to feature more than 80 unique corn mazes with Peanuts themes. Though the farm has been successful with it’s festival and produce stand, there are many challenges of operating a farm in the arid desert lands of Nevada, especially with the recent drought. However, for the Lattins, a benefit of operating in northern Nevada is that competition is scarce for locally grown produce. Another boost that makes farm life easier for the Lattins comes from the support the farm receives from the community and the movement to support locally sourced products. Lattin Farms is part of the Made in Nevada marketing cooperative, a trade association and an influential voice of business in the state. The association helps the farm with promotions and the drive to invest in locally sourced products.

“We used to sell produce from the back of our pickup truck,...later we built a little outdoor produce stand. Then we built an actual building, but we didn’t get a lot of traffic out here until we started the corn maze.” “Its wonderful to be part of a group that are making products in Nevada, and where people can go see what’s locally produced,” Ann said. “It’s been very helpful for us to connect to those in the public looking for local products.” Currently there are no plans for immediate expansion of the farm or it’s Fall Festival. The owners are looking to do a lot less work this year as their retirement draws closer. Rick and B. Ann Lattin are looking for someone to take over the farm. Their kids are willing to help out with the farm moving forward but they have careers of their own that don’t involve living the farm life Rick and Ann have led for decades. However, the Lattins aren’t ready to give up growing produce all together. “We’ll carry on as we have been but not grow quite as much,” Ann said. “Our plan right now is to keep our old fashioned produce stand going, do a few farmers markets and keep the Fall Festival going.” ●

Lattin Farms’ annual corn maze is a major attraction for the family-owned farm. Courtesy Lattin Farms

Growing Nevada Business


Growing the Fallon Food Hub Food Hub Manager Suzie Albaugh talks about the new store as worker Brianna Schwab rings up customer Rochelle Randel’s order. Photo by Rob Varnon.

The atmosphere was as upbeat as the band playing around the corner on a recent Friday on East Center Street for shoppers at a farmers’ market and the Fallon Food Hub. “I just love fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Katheryn Layton, who was shopping with her niece. Just a little more than a year old, the Fallon Food Hub at 40 East Center St. is tapping into a growing national consumer desire for fresh farm products that’s helping to grow local agriculture. Inside a former restaurant, the Food Hub’s shelves boast locally roasted coffee, jams, melons, bread, milk eggs and many other products that people in the community have worked hard to produce and are hoping consumers will discover. “This is what I really love about it. … You’re putting money back into your community and that lifts us all up,” said Brianna Schwab, one of four employees at the Food Hub, who explained that by reducing transportation costs, organic and fresh food are more affordable here. Boosting the region’s agriculture and providing a new destination for downtown are the main drivers for this project, according to Churchill County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Rachel Dahl. In May of 2014 Dahl attended an economic development conference in Minnesota where she heard about a food hub set up in a former grocery store and thought it made a lot of sense for Fallon. She got support from the local farmers and from the state and federal governments when she came back with the proposal. Combined, the Food Hub has received about $100,000 in grants. Nevada doesn’t have a lot of farms, but they are productive and one reason for the grant money is to help raise awareness and encourage more development of the industry. The state has the fourth fewest farms in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


NevadaSpirit 2016

However, these farms do make a strong contribution to the state’s economy. Nevada farm products for human consumption were valued at more than $352 million in 2012, the USDA said in its Farm Census. The state ranked 22nd in sheep farming products and 33rd for melon and potatoes. A new census is due out next year. Food hubs and their cousins, food cooperatives, have been increasing nationally, according to the USDA, but success rarely comes quickly. “I don’t think it’s easy at all in Nevada. It took us 10 years to figure it out,” said Amber Sallaberry, general manager of the Great Basin Food Cooperative in Reno. Great Basin is going into its 11th year of business. It is both a food co-op, owned by consumers and farmers and a food hub. Food hubs in general aggregate local crops for wholesale and retail. A cooperative generally offers local food for sale to members who buy shares. Great Basin’s store in Reno is also open to nonmembers. Sallaberry said she and her sister started the co-op out of their house, moved to the back of a punk rock store and finally into their current building downtown. They’re approaching $5 million in annual sales. She was excited about the prospects for the Fallon operation. “Fallon seems like the perfect place to do it,” she said, citing the large number of farms in the region.

“This is what I really love about it. … You’re putting money back into your community and that lifts us all up.” According to the USDA, Churchill County, with 672, has more farms than any other county in the state. But the Food Hub is pulling in farmers from other counties as well. Great Basin started with just three producers and now has 126. Fallon Food Hub already has 13 producers. “I think it’s a great idea,” said Rick Lattin, whose Lattin Farms sells out of the Fallon Food Hub. Right now, many farms, including his own, sell direct to consumers through stands on their properties. But that means a customer would have to visit several farms to get their vegetables and fruit. The hub allows those customers to get them all from one location. An added benefit, he noted, is the hub is also selling to customers in other parts of the state through the website, which will extend the reach of area farmers. It’s not just Churchill County farmers that are involved, either. Besides Lattin Farm’s melons, the hub carries Hogg Heaven BBQ Sauce from Hawthorne, pork products from Lahonton Valley Farms out of Silver Springs, Sand Hill Dairy Milk, Peri and Sons onions and Nevada Fresh Pak collards out of Yerington, to name just a few. The food hub is just now starting to tap the potential of the area, but Lattin said he has seen an increase in sales. However, it does take time for this to really develop. Ultimately, the success of the Food Hub will be determined by customers, and on that front, things look promising. The store has seen enough demand to move from being open just two days a week to six. ●

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Growing Nevada Business


Supporting Nevada agriculture “When you support small farms you are supporting small businesses, which are the backbone of the economy,” Ann Louhela, president of NevadaGrown, said. NevadaGrown is a statewide, nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster the success of sustainable agriculture and to encourage healthy eating for Nevada’s communities through education, support and promotion. With Nevada’s desert climate, many people do not realize the prevalence of the agriculture industry in the state. “I lived here for 20 years and didn’t know we had farms,” Louhela said. The organization grew out of the need to help promote and educate the public about Nevada farms. NevadaGrown was founded in 2002 by Rick Lattin, owner of Lattin Farms in Fallon, in order to help market Nevada agriculture. It was modeled after PlacerGROWN, a similar organization for local farmers, ranchers and growers in Placer County, California. Over the years, NevadaGrown has become one of the main organizations for promoting Nevada farming. The organization has also become a great resource for people seeking information about local agriculture. The NevadaGrown website has an easy to use search engine that allows users to quickly find local farms across the state. Users can also search for restaurants and retailers who use and sell Nevada grown products. “We have made the website very user friendly,” Louhela said. Members of the organization proudly display the NevadaGrown logo. The organization also gives their members immediate web presence on the NevadaGrown site. This is an important marketing tool since many of the members are small businesses. According to Louhela, many of the foods that are grown in California can also be grown here in Nevada. The state’s agricultural crops include onions, potatoes, garlic, alfalfa hay and seed, vegetables, some fruits and more. “We really have diverse agriculture,” Louhela said about Nevada.


NevadaSpirit 2016

She explained that small local farms also preserve the genetic diversity in foods. For example, when one goes to the supermarket they typically will see three types of potatoes for sale. However, there are really hundreds of different types of potatoes. NevadaGrown tracks a list of products that are grown in Nevada by their members in the NevadaGrown database. Users can click on the specific food item and learn which local farm grows the product.

“I lived here for 20 years and didn’t know we had farms... we really have diverse agriculture.” The NevadaGrown website also lists farmers markets in Nevada to make it easy to provide the public access to information about the more than 30 different farmers markets held throughout Nevada. “One of the biggest reasons that people come to farmers markets is for a sense of community,” Louhela said. She explained that unlike going to the grocery store, famers markets act more like a social gathering place. Farmers markets help to educate the community about locally grown and seasonal produce and foster small business development. “Farmers Markets are great business incubators for farmers,” Louhela said. Another way to support the local agriculture industry is through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSAs are subscription-based programs that allow members to receive weekly baskets of fresh, locally grown food such as produce and sometimes meat, eggs and dairy products sent directly from Nevada farms. Louhela explained that CSAs have been around since the 1980s and help provide farmers with a stable source of income. One of NevadaGrown’s goals is to educate Nevadans about healthy eating and seasonal foods in Nevada. In 2015, the organization published a cookbook called Nevada Grown: A Year in Local Food. The cookbook contains 150 recipes, which are arranged by season. NevadaGrown collaborated with food and drink editor Jonathan Wright with the Reno-Gazette Journal and Sundance Books to produce the book. The cookbook can be purchased throughout retailers around Nevada and online. NevadaGrown is working on producing a new edition of the cookbook. According to Louhela, NevadaGrown works sideby-side with Made in Nevada as the organizations both have similar missions to foster Nevada made and grown products. “We have always worked closely with them and we encourage our members to join Made in Nevada,” she said. For more information about NevadaGrown, visit●

NevadaGrown’s mission is to foster the success of sustainable agriculture and to encourage healthy eating for Nevada’s communities through education, support and promotion. Photo courtesy NevadaGrown.

Five tips for finding, hiring and training the right employees As many business owners can attest, finding and keeping the right employees can make the difference between success and failure. This is especially true for a small business with a limited number of employees. In many cases, businesses with two to six employees often find that their employees are ambassadors – they are just as much a part of the reason customers come back as the business itself. With less than a third of all small businesses surviving to hit their seventh year, the importance of hiring the right employee is even more impactful. Here is a list of five ways to increase a business’ chances for success, by finding, hiring, training and incentivizing employees. 1. The first step is to define the type of employee needed. In the same way a marketing plan should target a specific niche, consider focusing your search for an employee with that same level of targeting by defining the exact characteristics you are looking for in a candidate. Outline important job requirements using a position description and list important skills. 2. Once the type of employee you’re looking for has been defined, find where they are and hone the search to that area by promotion of the position where that demographic lives, works and shops. Spending time targeting will likely take the same time necessary to sift through poor candidates in a broad search. Keep in mind many skills can be learned; however, some strengths are innate.





By Josh Green, Director of Business Development for Enbio Industries 5. Consistent reviews and feedback show employees how they impact the business and demonstrate that success and positive behaviors are rewarded. This will help create an excellent culture where an employee will wish to stay. A Columbia University study showed that the average company turnover with a positive culture is as low as at 13.9 percent, and as high as 48 percent for companies without a positive culture. The time it takes to fully lay out a hiring plan can pay important dividends in the long run for any business, and especially a small business. The cost of neglecting this practice can be much more expensive in terms of both time and money, as simply replacing an employee can cost 30 to 50 percent of their annual salary. If interested in learning more about best hiring practices, contact the Nevada Small Business Development Center at Nevada SBDC is a partnership program of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the University of Nevada, Reno. ●

Made to order with the features you want by the hands of a Blacksmith

3. Providing a competitive wage, along with high quality benefits, will go a long way towards finding the right candidate. It is important to remember, though, that employees may see value in other benefits. A flexible schedule, a fun culture, or an environment where learning is encouraged can make a big difference. If looking for employees to stay long-term, consider discussing a profit-sharing or a vesting structure over a period of years so candidates can see the long-term potential. 4. Training is an important factor that can easily be overlooked once the right candidate is found. Also keep in mind that time should be taken to find out how the employee learns and works. Provide insight into the business and allow for skills testing, constructive feedback and goal-setting. This will increase the likelihood of success for the new employee.

1875 Dickerson Rd. | Reno, NV | | 775.323.0270

Growing Nevada Business


A hot success in the west One of the best culinary business success stories in northern Nevada is Killer Salsa in Gardnerville. Founder/CEO Fran Pritchard received the Entrepreneur of the Year Pioneer Award in 2013 from the Northern Nevada Development Authority. Currently the business offers a line of nine fresh, cooked and dehydrated products available online at, through U.S. Foodservice, Winco, Whole Foods, Carson Valley Inn, Costco, Wal-Mart, Raley’s, SaveMart, Safeway, Harrah’s and is also served at many Nevada and California restaurants. Pritchard came from California to Gardnerville 23 years ago when her husband retired from IBM. She’d spent years as a manager in the commercial food service industry, where she became known for her fresh salsa, which customers put on their eggs, potatoes and breakfast burritos every morning. They told her the salsa was “killer,” which seemed the perfect name when she started the company in 1993. Frustrated with working at a local mini mart, she decided to test the market with a fresh salsa product she made after hours in a local restaurant kitchen. After getting positive feedback from local eateries and delis, Pritchard decided she had the recipe for a viable business and she remembers, “that’s when the learning process began.” In the early days, she started out sharing production space with another food entrepreneur. The business grew steadily as she did a lot of direct marketing. Then, several years ago, Pritchard faced a major hurdle. Her plan to sell the company went south at the last minute — after she had already sold off all her equipment and given up her space to another food manufacturer. She had to locate a new home with room to expand. She had to shift gears quickly and find a 4,000square-foot property that would meet her expansion needs and accommodate her eight employees.

Due to new government regulations, which she says “are choking small food businesses, by going way overboard with no common sense,” The unanticipated change meant she had to invest in required improvements, including a new walk–in refrigeration system, a roll up door for her trucks, separating out the production area from inventory and shipping, and adding new drains for sinks and toilets at roughly $3,000 per drain. Now being subjected to third party audits for food safety, Pritchard learned the requirements for documenting everything that takes place in the building. She also had to keep the doors locked due to a new bioterrorism act. Loyal customers and employees helped her overcome another big challenge in 2013 when her father passed away suddenly and then she underwent knee replacement surgery, which resulted in complications that kept her off her feet. Resilient and determined, Pritchard is quick to offer her gratitude for the continued growth of the company to those who have supported her, especially in the past three years. From the original recipe which features tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, carrots, celery, garlic, bell peppers, salt, and sugar, Prichard has created a full line of salsa including her Nacho Sauce which was born from a little ingenuity at a local craft show. It created such demand, she had to add it to the line. The company also sells garlic picante, super hot, chipotle, a tart and hot tomatillo salsa verde and recently introduced three dehydrated salsa packages where you just add water. These are perfect for camping. “Throw a couple of packs of our dehydrated salsa in your backpack, add water once you’re at the campsite, and enjoy Killer Salsa without carrying a jar up the hill!” Pritchard wrote on her website store. “We take our original picante and remove the water so you don’t need to carry the extra weight. This traditional Sonora-style salsa is made with ‘picked-at-their-peak’ tomatoes to create a garden-fresh flavor.” Just recently Pritchard announced that Killer Salsa is now available at Walmart stores in 11 western states including Arizona, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico, as well as throughout Nevada and California. Clearly ingenuity, an infectious “can do” spirit and a commitment to quality are the hidden ingredients in Pritchard’s recipe for success. ●

Vivian Rumker, left, foreman at Killer Salsa for 19 years, and founder Fran Prichard display their Killer Salsa. Courtesy Killer Salsa


NevadaSpirit 2016

Las Vegas business owner Fran Minnozzi got the idea for her business Rolladen Rolling Shutters while she was in Europe as a flight attendant. “When I saw the shutters I thought they were just perfect for Las Vegas,” Minnozzi said. The shutters keep a room cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They also reduce noise by up to 75 percent and combat crimes by preventing break-ins. “It was instantly cool and quiet,” Minnozzi said when she first saw them. “I thought that was the smartest thing I had ever seen in my life.” Later while working for a publisher, Minnozzi decided that she wanted to get into business for herself. Her husband reminded her about the shutters she had seen in Europe. She decided to pursue the idea and start on her own business venture. In 1984, Minnozzi opened Rolladen Rolling Shutters in Las Vegas. Over the years, the company has continued to grow. They currently have 18 employees including Minnozzi’s brother and daughter, who is the vice president of Rolladen Rolling Shutters. All of the blinds are custom made in their Las Vegas facility. They are located at 6168 W. Charleston Blvd. and their factory is located at 4405 Wagon Trail Ave. They have showrooms at both locations. The staff at Rolladen comes out to each home or business before making the shutters. It typically takes about three weeks to make the blinds once they are ordered and one to two days to install the blinds. While Minnozzi has been manufacturing the shutters since 1984, the blinds have been produced in Europe for more than 100 years. The blinds are made of foam-filled aluminum. They can be used over both windows and doors to keep out wind, heat, cold, sound and dust. These benefits help reduce energy


Las Vegas manufacturer finds success with Rolladen Rolling Shutters bills, a feature that appeals to many of their customers. “They pay for themselves in eight to 10 years,” she said. The shutters can be operated manually, electrically or by remote control. Minnozzi also explained all the blinds can be operated from one central switch in the home or be controlled by a smart phone. “They are so versatile,” Minnozzi said. According to Minnozzi, orders have increased over the years due to increased burglaries in both residential and commercial buildings. The business’ peak time is in the summer and during the holidays. “Unfortunately, Thanksgiving and Christmas is a very high crime time,” she said. Rolladen Rolling Shutters is a proud Made in Nevada member. Many of her customers are happily surprised when they discover that the shutters are made locally. She said people feel good when they see the logo and know they are supporting a local brand. “I use the logo on anything that I can,” she said. For more information about Rolladen Rolling Shutters, visit or call 702-878-1072. ●

Artistic Renditions of Nevada's Wild Horses (775) 296-1901 & on Etsy Growing Nevada Business


On the right track John Claudino cut his teeth in the manufacturing business by making prototype and short-run projects for well-known Silicon Valley/ San Francisco Bay Area computer manufacturers. His entry into the model train business is a bit less auspicious. Claudino, owner of Aztec Manufacturing in Carson City, has long been a passionate model train enthusiast. Back when he still ran a small machine shop in Belmont, Calif., he used to attend model train shows and set up a table to resell train cars. At one show, someone showed him a train car that also functioned as a track cleaner, which piqued his interest. Claudino contacted the manufacturer and got one for himself — and being an expert machinist, he quickly realized he could make a better one. “I looked at the thing and said, ‘There are some real bugaboos here.’ So I revamped the design, and two weeks later I had a prototype. Two months later I was selling them.” Aztec Manufacturing has been making model train track cleaners ever since. Claudino machined various computer hardware parts in the late 1970s when Apple was still in its infancy and the notion of personal home computers was a foreign idea. Most of the time, he didn’t know what he was making or whom it was for, and companies often assigned bogus names to orders to ensure secrecy from competitors. During slow times, Aztec production workers made model train track cleaners. When a computer manufacturing order came in, Aztec pushed the train stuff off to the side. When the computer industry started going soft in the 1990s, Claudino closed up shop and moved his business to Carson City and only brought the train business with him.



“Being Battle Born suggests many things; but, one of the most significant meanings I have noticed about being a Nevadan, Battle Born-pride is unity! I see this cohesiveness all of the time, especially when it comes to supporting local businesses. I am proud of my adopted state; and I feel privileged to be able to contribute, in numerous ways, to our local economy. As a member of Made in Nevada, Kimmie Candy benefits when Nevadans chose locally-made products over other options. I want to thank everyone who places a priority on locally-made goods, as your support helps to strengthen Nevada one purchase at a time!” — Joseph Dutra President & CEO of Kimmie Candy


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He may be a lifelong model train hobbyist, but his work on making model train track cleaners has robbed him of free time to play — and of any free shop space to set up his extensive train layout. “Trains are my hobby and got me into my business, but it has killed my hobby because I don’t have enough time to play with my trains,” Claudino says. Aztec Manufacturing operates out of a small shop space at Conestoga Drive. Claudino uses the space to house his larger machining equipment, and he makes all the track cleaner frames there. He has double two-car garages at his house where he assembles the frames with regular train car bodies and train couplers. One garage was intended to house his train layout, but it’s been overrun with supplies for Aztec Manufacturing. “I’ve got so many boxes in there now that I don’t have enough room for my layout,” Claudino laments. Aztec Manufacturing’s track cleaners are disguised as regular rail cars and often are placed directly behind the locomotive or at the end of the line. The frame has a roller in it set at a 1.5degree angle that moves forward and sideways and burnishes the top of the track rail as the train moves. Cost for the model train track cleaners varies from $70 to $200 depending on how many rollers are housed in the cleaner body and the scale of the train. Claudino is constantly on the hunt for new customers. He likens his product to a vacuum cleaner — customers really only need one. “They don’t wear out,” he says.

“Trains are my hobby and got me into my business, but it has killed my hobby because I don’t have enough time to play with my trains.” The majority of sales come through Aztec’s Web site, and he’s made sales all over the world. Most sales are to old-time model train hobbyists — Gen Xers and Millennials have yet to discover the joy of model trains because they usually are too busy tapping away on their smartphones or other electronic gadgets, he says. At age 77, Claudino admits he doesn’t work as hard as he used to. He typically works at his shop from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then spends a few hours at home on assembly. But he has no plans on giving up the venture for more leisure time. “How long will I keep making trains? Until I die,” he says. “If I stayed home I would probably be gone already. I like doing what I am doing, and the guys who buy them I get a lot of praise from.” ●

It’s been said that anyone who has ever sampled one of the delectable treats from Tahoe Toffee Candy Company in Gardnerville has tasted a little bit of heaven. That’s because Mindy and Larry Miller put a lot of heart as well as culinary ingenuity in every product they create. Mindy has enjoyed making candy as far back as she can remember. Her holiday treats became a side gift business at a few Carson Valley shops when she was working for a glass company doing bookkeeping and sales. Then the economy tanked. She and Larry (who had been in auto sales) had to scramble to figure out what to do when they were both laid off in 2009. What started as a bit of a calamity became the launch pad for a thriving family business. Today their line of confections includes buttery, almond-topped signature toffee, caramel corn, chocolate covered honeycomb, peppermint bark, almond and peanut clusters, rocky road, s’mores bark, peanut brittle and two new additions; a dark chocolate sea salt toffee and a lemon bark. A number of products are available sugar-free. The Millers get five star ratings all the time on their Facebook page. Fans leave messages like this: “It is soooo good, there is never enough! And the folks that make it are magical.” Is your mouth watering yet? It was Larry who came up with the idea of the company’s hugely popular souvenir toffee in the shape of the Silver State. “I thought he was crazy when he wanted to have these molds made,” Mindy recalls. “I didn’t think there was a market for it.” The Nevada shaped toffee boxes are big sellers at $15 for all those visitors who want to take home a special

Innovating custom sweet treats in Gardnerville sweet treat as are the Nevada shaped goody-filled baskets which retail for $40. Although she’s perfected her original recipes over time, Mindy credits their popularity to high quality ingredients and the consistency achieved by making everything in small batches. Products are available in more than 35 shops, casinos, delis and gift stores across Northern Nevada and at the lake, as well as online at They both have chosen to stay a two-person operation just selling wholesale. “We’re 60ish, so we’re happy not to have the 13hour days we would if we had a retail shop,” Mindy explains. They’ve built the business on consistency too by going slow and steady. Their daughter helps with the marketing and Larry enjoys making all the deliveries. The Millers have also got the sweetest solution for a memorable wedding indulgence. They will create a bar laden with their products at the reception or guest gift bags complete with notes from the bride and groom. So, what does a talented candy maker crave as her go-to confection? Nope, not toffee or chocolate. When her sweet tooth is yearning for just the right treat she heads for the caramel corn. It’s what she’s loved best since childhood. Yum! ●

Growing Nevada Business


‘Better Matters’ for DynaGraphics DynaGraphics is a locally owned and operated commercial printing company that has provided mailing, online ordering and marketing services to the area’s leading companies in Reno since 1971. DynaGraphics provides it’s services to some of the area’s major casinos, tourism industry, education, healthcare, community events, advertising agencies, real estate firms and insurance companies by providing them with print communications, direct mail and marketing communications solutions.

“We’re always remodeling and updating our facilities...Reinvestment is a pretty big thing for the company and we always strive to remain at the forefront with investments in the newest technology, employee training and equipment,” Included in the company’s services are a multitude of printing options ranging from digital and offset printing, letterpress, die-cutting & embossing and full bindery. Whether it is an eye-catching postcard or advanced variable data mailings, the company’s 38 full-time staff is there to fulfill the order. The DynaGraphics’ staff includes seven family members. Walt Trimble is the owner and Cindy Mason is president of the company. Other family members include Tim Mason, Spencer Mason, Blake Trimble, Rick Trimble and Jill Trimble whose positions in the company range from sales to general bindery. “Our company motto right now is ‘Better Matters,’” said Cindy Mason, president of DynaGraphics. “We always remain at the forefront of technology by investing in new technology and our long-term employees that we count on. They’re the ones who make us.” The company has been located at the same site on 2001 Timber Way since the beginning of operations when it started as a small mail house and printer. In the mid DynaGraphics is a locally owned a operated commercial printing company in Reno. Photo courtesy DynaGraphics.


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1970s the company was sold to a California corporation, however, it remained under management by Walt Trimble and continued to operate in Reno. In 1991 the company was purchased from the California corporation by Trimble and has been owned by the family ever since. Since the family purchased the company in 1991, it’s doubled in size and has been through numerous remodels to keep pace with technology advances and a growing workload. Currently the company is going through a remodel because it is adding a new print press. With a new print press come added electricity resources, new computers and new wiring for all of it to work properly in the facility. “We’re always remodeling and updating our facilities,” Cindy said. “Reinvestment is a pretty big thing for the company and we always strive to remain at the forefront with investments in the newest technology, employee training and equipment.” Although the company is undergoing a remodel, there are no plans for immediate expansion. However, Mason says that DynaGraphics likes to prepare itself for the future. Mason says there are many reasons why it is beneficial for DynaGraphics to operate in Nevada. Among them are the tax benefits, the logistics and the ease to use the Reno/ Tahoe International Airport for its business. She also emphasized the importance of having a happy motivated workforce. She says that a good quality of life for her employees is key to the success of the business and being located in Reno makes that task easy for many reasons. Mason cites the landscape and surroundings in the Reno/Tahoe area, outdoor activities, special events hosted in the region as well as minimal traffic and commute time, which all contribute to the happiness of the company’s workforce. Mason says that making capital investments is key to being successful in the printing market. Recently the company has made additional investments in state-ofthe-art digital printing equipment, offset plate processers, folders for its bindery and infrastructure improvements on the building and facilities. Although there are many benefits in operating in Reno the company has faced some challenges. Commercial printing is a competitive business in the Reno area, which is why it’s important to DynaGraphics to set itself apart by reinvesting and producing quality work. Mason says that DynaGraphics is considered a midsize commercial printer because the company doesn’t offer what larger commercial printers do but it is capable of doing more than what the smaller businesses can. During the recent recession, times were tough for the company but Mason says that in spite of the recession, DynaGraphics persevered and was able to make a profit during that time. Since then the number of its direct mail customers has continued to grow daily and the company is in an upward trajectory. “It was tough and we had to tighten our belts a lot and take a look at how we are doing business and everything we were buying,” Cindy said. “Prices were changing and companies were going out of business left and right in the marketing arena. Now we’re on a growth pattern and buying new equipment again and investing more into our employees and we’re looking toward a bright future.” ●

Taking advantage of economic data to aid your business The Regional Economic Analysis Project is one of the University of Nevada, Reno’s latest resources to achieve the College of Business vision to be an increasingly influential driver of economic development in Nevada. Created through a partnership with The University Center for Economic Development, the Regional Economic Analysis Project allows individuals and businesses access to an array of in-depth economic data from every county in the state. The goal for the project is to offer the best economic information possible directly to the public at no cost. Gary Smith, a former Washington State University professor, developed the first iteration of the Regional Economic Analysis Project platform in 1997. Since then, it has grown to offer economic information for the entire country. University Professor Tom Harris spearheaded the effort to bring the program to Nevada and added in content and information, such as user tutorials, to make the platform as valuable as possible to Nevadans. There are many important applications for the program’s data and it is currently being used by individuals throughout the state to better understand economic factors. For new businesses and entrepreneurs, this is a great resource for researching income and employment trends, which can provide better perspective on the market and a potential customer base. Harris continues to help expand the knowledge and understanding of this excellent university resource to allow for the greatest benefit to those in the state. The information included in the Regional Economic Analysis Project is taken directly from the Bureau of Economic Analysis,

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By Josh Green, Director of Business Development for Enbio Industries which is more expansive than the labor data that can be pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Nevada Department of Education, Training and Rehabilitation. The Bureau of Economic Analysis data can provide a deeper view of the economic impact of various factors, such as accounting for income, rather than just employment. This is important because employment data does not differentiate between individuals working 20 hours a week or 60 hours a week. Additionally, this data takes into account where the money was earned, which means it correctly allocates data for individuals who work in one county, but live in another. One of the key differences about this data is that it includes information on dividends, interest and rent. This is extremely vital to get a clear picture of the Nevada economy as there are counties with up to 49 percent of the total personal income earned through one of these avenues, which predominantly comes from retired individuals. In looking at the trends since collection of this data began in 1969, it can be seen how personal income changes as individuals age. All of these factors add up to presenting a clearer picture of the status of the state’s economy. For more information about Regional Economic Analysis Project, please visit the program’s website ●

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Growing Nevada Business


Blue Tree grows creativity Blue Tree Enterprises turns crazy concepts into real art while transforming broken lives into stories of success. Matthew Byron was working as a handyman in southern Nevada when he was asked to repair 30 picture frames damaged in the same spot. Gradually the jobs began to include more and more eclectic projects for hotels and art for public spaces. “They kept throwing more interesting things at us,” Byron said. “I got a reputation that I’m this one guy who can do all this weird stuff.” Henderson-based Blue Tree Enterprises was born in 2012 and takes on any number of one-ofa-kind, crazy concepts from public space art, hotel games, and custom cabinetry. Its staff consists of artists, artisans, fabricators and carpenters. Byron’s son, Connor Byron, is his “right hand” in the business and has been working with him since he was small. A few of Connor’s childhood friends that began working with Byron in their childhood, now work at Blue Tree. Projects have included large beanbag toss games for hotels, a liquid bar top for a nightclub that looks like a flat lava lamp, lion head wall art for a hotel in Philadelphia, a ping pong table shaped like a giant tube, and a giant Connect 4 game and a video periscope for the Hotel Zephyr in San Francisco. For the periscope, they worked on it from concept to installation, including engineering and getting the permits for it, Byron said. In between oddball projects, they remodel kitchens and build bunk beds. Their motto is “If you can dream it, we can build it!” Blue Tree currently has a staff of 20 employees. Byron calls his staff his “Merry Band of Misfits.” “Most of our staff are ex-cons, ex-addicts,” he said, including himself. A Boston native, Byron came to Nevada in 1989 and worked in the framing industry. Eventually, things went sour, and he spent 30 months in prison for burglary. As soon as his parole expired, he started his business, choosing to focus on planning a successful life. Byron said many of his staff come to him fresh out of prison and “shells of people.” After working steady in an environment that understands the challenges, they’ve developed into responsible citizens and employees who are able to support families. Blue Tree is “a good place for second chances for people,” he said. Byron credits his staff for Blue Tree’s success.


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“Most importantly, all my guys are the real story of our success,” Byron said. “We’re a small family business. Monday (staff) meetings are definitely something else,” he added. The talent and tenacity of the Blue Tree staff has helped make it successful and so has the assistance of a variety of business organizations. “It was risky to get behind me,” he said, referring to his prison record. Nevertheless, programs through SCORE, Small Business Administration (SBA), Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) and Wells Fargo provided mentors and guidance, including pro bono accounting services until Blue Tree was able to stand on its own. The company continues to grow but they’re not waiting for business to fall in their lap. Blue Tree is currently preparing a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) statement to describe the range of services its staff provides. Byron said they plan to distribute the RFQ in places and businesses that contract a lot of public art, including Houston, San Francisco, and beach towns south of Los Angeles. In the east, it will be distributed around Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. The goal is to become part of the pool of artists governmental and business organizations in those areas turn to when they need unusual pieces.

“They kept throwing more interesting things at us...I got a reputation that I’m this one guy who can do all this weird stuff.” “They’ll call us if our RFQ fits what they need,” Byron said. Tenacity and forward thinking is ensuring future growth. When Blue Tree started it only had a 10 by 20-foot storage unit, Byron said. Now it operates out of an almost 5,000-square-foot facility in Henderson and generates one to two million dollars in business per year. “We’ve doubled in size, in revenue, employees, in space every year for our first four years,” he said. “By the end of next year, I’m guessing we’ll have 40 employees.” In another year to a year and half, he expects to do $5 million in business. Thanks to vision, mentoring and great employees, the future looks bright for Blue Tree Enterprises. ●




Nevada Small Businesses: •

Represent 95.6 percent of all employers

Generated 15,168 new jobs in 2012

Employ over 40 percent of the state’s private workforce


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