Lake Tahoe Blue Business Program focuses on preservation |

Lake Tahoe Blue Business Program focuses on preservation

Autumn Whitney
Tahoe Blue Vodka staff help at a League to Save Lake Tahoe beach cleanup. The company is one of the nine founding members of the Blue Business Program.
Courtesy / League to Save Lake Tahoe |

The inaugural nine

These are the nine regional businesses that are founding members of the Blue Business Program: High Sierra Gardens, Ernie’s Coffee Shop, Azul Latin Kitchen, Lake of the Sky Outfitters, RISE Designs, Tahoe Blue Vodka, Tahoe Sports & Entertainment, Tahoe Training Camps and The Free Bird.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe’s latest effort to Keep Tahoe Blue comes in the form of a program focused on highlighting local businesses with strong Tahoe-friendly practices.

The Blue Business Program, as it’s known, launched on Aug. 25 with nine founding members united in their efforts to protect and restore the environmental health, sustainability and beauty of Lake Tahoe.

“We want to educate businesses and the community on what’s impacting the lake and how to be part of the solution,” League community engagement manager Marilee Movius said.

Three main components make up the Blue Business Program: Support Blue, Join Blue and Be Blue. The first step is to become a business member of the League, done through an annual contribution to the organization.

Join Blue involves partnering with the League on a community event or helping fundraise for one of the League’s programs, which can be anything from beach cleanups to hosting Keep Tahoe Blue stickers at the business site.

The program’s final part, Be Blue, involves adopting Tahoe-friendly practices. Founding members have done such things as installing cigarette butt disposal stations, reducing single-use plastic consumption, reducing water and energy usage, as well as installing and maintaining BMPs.

“The thing we hope to accomplish is, through the restaurant, (being) a platform of education, sharing the League’s mission to protect our natural resources and the clarity of the lake,” Ernie’s Coffee Shop owner Kent Baer said.

“We can use the time people spend in our restaurant to educate them about where they are, what the value of the lake is, what they can do to take part in protecting the lake, and (League to Save Lake Tahoe’s) mission.”

The cafe’s Tahoe-friendly practices include offering food vouchers for the League’s beach cleanup volunteers, and installing both water and energy reduction practices.

On select days all staff members will wear Keep Tahoe Blue T-shirts to show support of the League. Ernie’s Coffee Shop also has a bike-to-work incentive program for staff.

The Blue Business Program is open to any locally-owned, Tahoe-based business that wants to support the League and work to protect Lake Tahoe.

According to Movius, the program is currently not equipped for chain establishments.

If you are interested in joining or want to learn more, visit or contact Marilee Movius at

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