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……
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