Category Archives: Business


We make them every day. Some small, some large. Sometimes we don’t even see the ramifications of them when they hit us.

I’ve worked towards a goal for the last few years. The goal being that I would make a significant impact on the food scene in Reno and become the “spokesman” of that effort. This goal has been realized in smaller efforts such as Reno Bites, events I have helped plan, my own catering company and writing for RTT. Lately, some bigger opportunities have presented themselves.

I’m on the cusp of either making a big leap forward, or over committing and putting myself in the position of not having the time or energy to handle it all.

Each opportunity comes with risk. I remember back in elementary school when one of my teachers talked about risk assessment. They told us that the reward needs to outweigh the risk in order to make a good decision. The trick is that sometimes those risks and rewards are unclear. The line is blurred, the gray area is a bit too big for immediate response.

A big part of me loves these moments. By nature, I’m a risk taker. I thrive for tackling the unknown and surpassing expectations. The greater the risk, the greater my satisfaction when it’s passed. Some don’t get it, for me it’s everyday life.

I put this out to the world knowing that the right answers always find their way back to me. The positive, the negative, regardless, I get what I give to the universe. Even if that universe is this little blog in a sea of blogs.

Do I take the plunge and reap the rewards? Or do I take the chance of regretting the missed opportunities? Only time will tell, either way it will be a great ride!

Synergy, relationships and finger pointers

Let me start by saying that I am all for collaboration in business. Especially in our smallish town where we have one or two stand out experts in most categories. But, I’m tired of seeing copycats and wave riders…..



Working together

“Work jointly”, “cooperate” and “create” are key words here. A collaboration has to create a synergy, provide more than the sum of the two parties by working together. Jumping on the bandwagon and saying “Look what we did!” when you didn’t help to create it is not cool. Spreading the word always helps, but there’s no need to take credit.

There are plenty of us out there trying to build cool things in the community. Plenty more work hard to spread the word. And a lot of folks simply come out and enjoy those creations. All three are needed for success, just make sure you know which part you are and live that.


Sometimes as a business person, you look at what other people are doing and know you could do a better job at it. Usually, I think, it’s the best practice to approach those folks first with some ideas and see if they want to work together. If not, that’s up to them to invite competition. The competition makes businesses improve, it’s a good thing. Just try not to piss people off getting there.

Finger pointers

There’s a few types-

Some point their finger at you and say “you’ll never make it work”, a sarcastic “good luck”.

Some point their finger at others and say “it didn’t work because of them”, “he/she should have done this instead”.

Some point their fingers at themselves and say “see what I did?”, “look how great we are”.

Luckily, some will point their fingers at everyone and say “see what these guys did?”, “thanks for making it a success”, “let’s make this even better next time!”

Axis and Allies

Reno is too small to have enemies in the business world. At the very least everyone deserves a cordial “Hi, how are you?”. It’s small enough that I can pick up the phone and call anyone I need to talk to without an introduction. I can find experts easily and we will always have a common connection.

But it’s not small enough that I, we, or anyone else have to rely on you to get things done. The day of the gatekeepers (thanks Chris Brogan) has passed. It’s time to be a part of the solution or get out of the way.

Carry on 🙂

Supporting food trucks

I need to take a second and share my opinions on the recent chatter about the current issues around the food truck event in downtown. I mentioned it briefly yesterday, before I had heard another side of the story. Thankfully, I got a phone call from another involved party that wanted to share their thoughts on the subject. I try to do my best to not spread gossip, sometimes I fail and yesterday I should have taken the time to do a bit more research before forming an opinion.

Here is the way that I see it-

Haley and Jessie with Gourmelt built an awesome event and the public outcry over their post yesterday shows the dedication from their fans. I am happy to see a small business that has created that kind of emotional connection to their customers. It doesn’t happen often. I understand the frustration that they are experiencing. Having someone copy your successful idea sucks. (If you want to see my personal experience with that, go visit Blue Ribbon Meats in Sparks. They sell a ton of items that are basically copies of our stuff from Butcher Boy.) In a way, it is sort of flattering. Mostly though, it can feel as though you have been robbed.

The other parties involved saw an opportunity to capitalize on and took advantage of that. I’m all for business and people making money. I have to respect that part of their project. I also believe that they may be paying more now for the event to take place and that their costs may increase based on how many people show up. That may explain the increased costs to the trucks. Besides, they are in business to make money. If they can’t deliver a profitable event to the other trucks then it will go through its life cycle quickly and be done. If it works, they will continue to do it.

Trying to avoid the “he said, she said” game…. I can only hope that they invited Gourmelt to be a part of it early on. That seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t it? Of course, there is no one telling them that they have to so it falls on ethical business practices from both parties. Let’s just hope that the new event organizers make it their own and do their best to invite a different clientele in order to best avoid diluting the Original Reno Food Truck Fridays (No, it’s not trademarked…..).

In the end, I think it makes sense for the parties involved to keep this out of public eye. At least the emotional and personal side of it. I don’t see where promoting a divide will benefit anyone. It will only serve to dilute the avid followers of the food trucks and the people that support our local foodie scene. If the community avoids any of the events due to their personal beliefs of who is right in this case, it only hurts the small businesses that are out there trying to make a buck and working their butts off doing it.

Also, this won’t be the only new food truck based event we will see this summer. I hear that Eldorado, GSR and The Sands are all working on their own. Plus, I think that Sparks is ripe for an event as well as south Reno.

Let’s all do our best to support local food businesses when we can. Visit whichever event fits your schedule and support the small business, regardless of who invited them to downtown. Cheers!!!


Buy local, again…….

So, there’s been a bit of chatter on FB about buying local. Well I guess there always is but there have been a few recent posts regarding coffee shops, the Nevada Tourism marketing bid and others that have really made me think more about it.

My family has had local businesses for many decades in this town. It only makes sense that I would support the locals when I have the opportunity.

I’m all about seeing action. At least enough action to figure out if an idea is worthwhile or not. Talking about supporting locals and not doing it doesn’t help a soul. Planning events that are too complicated, or have the wrong goals in the crosshairs won’t help anyone. Sometimes the action isn’t what we would like to see, as my first story shows.

Food Truck Fridays

An event created by the amazing ladies from Gourmelt that was built to showcase the local food trucks. The first two events were a huge success! I made the first one and shared my thoughts, as did Mike at Downtown Makeover. Well, it appears that the event concept has been copied by another entity in town. I talked with them early on to get an article up on Chow Reno and can tell you that Haley, in her own words, told me that it was not a money maker for them but meant to bring attention to the awesome trucks in town. I have no clue what the trucks pay to take part, or what the city charges for the event to happen on their property. But I can easily see where there isn’t a lot of money to be made.

So, here we have a good case of someone supporting locals, but maybe not in the best way possible. Why not give credit where credit is due and involve the folks that stepped up first to create something great instead of pushing them out? Does “watering down” a great event do the community any good? I’m really curious to see what the other trucks have to say about this……

Coffee Shops

Probably a little better than a year ago I had a conversation with someone about local coffee shops and how there had been so many that sprung up in town. They haven’t stopped it seems. Or maybe a new one opens up in the same location as one that just closed. It seems to be a growing market in many of the cities that I visit, Reno is not alone.

Of course, the big enemy of all of these shops is Starbucks. Some call them the Walmart of the coffee world. Others talk about how much they hate big companies and still stop by every day or so for a latte. I’ll confess, many times it is my first choice when I need a caffeine fix. There’s a simple reason for that- they’ve trained me as a customer. Walk in the door and the barista knows what they are doing, they grab orders from folks standing in line to speed up service, they ask the right questions to make sure you get the drink you are looking for and it is served up quickly and correctly. Many coffee “experts” bag on the quality they deliver. But, they have basically trained America to think that coffee should taste just as they serve it. Good for them.

Want to battle them locally? Build the experience into your business. Create something different than a run of the mill coffee shop. Make it simple for guests to do business with you. The Starbucks smartphone app is an amazing example of “lock in” to a business. I pre-pay for my damn coffee!!!! The last locally owned coffee shop I frequented lost my loyalty card more than once….

But, all is not lost. The small shops are doing their best to serve their customers. Want to help out a great little Reno operation? Check out this link on Facebook and see how Brad Brighton is TAKING ACTION within his means to help.

Nevada Tourism, etc.

It seems as though the Nevada Commission on Tourism did not select a local company for their marketing bid this go around. As much as I’d like to see a local have some input on our marketing, I have to wonder if they really did submit the best proposals. After all, we are taking about our tax dollars being spent here. Shouldn’t it go to the firm that delivers the best return on those dollars?

There is one person taking action on a local level. Scott from Reno eNVy went through a lot of work to get a new Visitor Center up and running downtown. He’s one of the few folks I know personally that has fought and fought hard to see his idea come to fruition. I’m sure dealing with all of the entities wasn’t the easiest of tasks….. Want more info? As always, Downtown Makeover has the goods. Stop by the new center at 135 N. Sierra Street 5-8 PM on Friday May 11th to check it out for yourself.

Some other locally related things

Check out what The Marmot Companies are doing in Midtown. I chatted with these guys a few nights back and they are putting some serious effort into positive changes to that area.

You can find a decent group of folks that are into local business at this Facebook group. And we finally have some movement on a Cash Mob in Reno, more info on Facebook as well. Speaking of Facebook…… A friend/colleague and I started a Buy Local page there a bit ago. We haven’t used it a ton unfortunately….. Maybe hop over there and share your own story about local business?


That’s about it. Just wanted to share some thoughts on what I see happening locally. I plan to do my part to help the foodies in town with a week long event later this year. I’ve teamed up with the wonderfully talented Natasha Bourlin of Passport PR to create an event that should prove to be a great time for you. More details soon, after we figure them out for ourselves 🙂

What do I do?

I get this question a lot as I travel about town and all the other places I manage to end up visiting. “So, what do you do?” or “Are you still doing catering?”. I’ve answered this before but figured it’s time for an update.

We’ll start with what I’ve been working on today to give you a taste of a “normal” day in my world….

Up about 7am to eat a high protein breakfast. That’s part of my new goal of being in better shape and losing some weight. I’m in the muscle building phase and my trainer says I need more protein, less fat and no carbs…..

Put together the email newsletter and some social media stuff for Vintage Wine Shop. They’re one of my favorite clients to work with on marketing consulting. Not only because I do some of the work in trade which keeps my wine collection stocked, but also because they are awesome people who trust me to do what needs to be done without much oversight. If you want to get the emails and bash me for typos head over to their site and sign up.

Then off to a meeting with some new business partners about a retail project we are putting together. A bit early to spill all of the beans but think of places like The Ferry Building in SF and Pike’s Place Market in Seattle for an idea of what we want to bring to Reno later this summer. Excited for this one!

Of course my phone starts ringing off the hook from customers who need some last minute catering from Great Thyme. Have two new bids to send out today for parties that are coming up quick. I’m also finishing up some marketing pieces for my spot over at My Wedding Library to find some great new brides to work with this year.

Dad is on the way over to my house to finish up some work on his boat trailer. I built a garage a few years back at my house so I am the default workshop for most of my friends and family. Sadly, it’s full of extra catering equipment and “stuff” so I don’t spend much time building new things anymore.

As I’m writing this, I got a call about helping someone launch a brand of limoncello. They’re looking for someone to help take them from recipe to store shelves. These are the kind of things I love to work on. Get the concept down and figure out the execution, then let someone else take the reigns and go with it. It’s one of the aspects of my “old job” when my dad and I launched a marinade and spice company.

Sometime before the end of the day I will finish up a kitchen design, finish catering proposals, complete some business collateral pieces for my trainer (another great trade deal), write a post for Chow Reno that’s a few days over due and make some phone calls for a food event that I want to organize for this summer. And of course the personal stuff like laundry, dinner and packing for a trip to Seattle this weekend.

This all pulls together into a “dynamic” lifestyle that I absolutely love. I never stop strategizing and thinking about projects which satisfies my need to keep my mind moving. My breaks come in the form of tasks such as working with my dad on the trailer today. It gives me a chance to rest my brain and just use my hands which I don’t do all that much anymore.

A lot of people I know well give me a bit of a hard time for not working that hard. And really, I understand that. I don’t have a regular job, regular schedule or a regular paycheck. It changes from day to day and I won’t have it any other way!

Next time someone asks, I will just reply with “Trying to figure out how to make a buck without working too hard for it” and a sly smile……