Changing of the guard: Meet the new leaders of the Tahoe City Downtown Association
June 7, 2011
TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; The young inevitably supplant the old. Such is the progress of nature.
Sometimes the old struggle mightily to stave off the march of youth, but in the case of the Tahoe City Downtown Association, the older guard who established businesses in the unincorporated town’s downtown corridor since the 1970s have willingly made way for a new breed of businessmen and businesswomen.
Brendan Madigan, 33, TCDA president, and Christin Hanna, 28, the association’s vice-president, are bringing a renewed sense of vibrancy, a fresh perspective and new marketing ideas to the association that represents approximately 250 Tahoe City-based businesses.
and#8220;I think the ability of the established business people in town to relinquish control is admirable,and#8221; said Madigan, who, along with TCDA duties, manages Alpenglow Sports, an outdoor outfitter based in downtown Tahoe City. and#8220;I think the TCDA made an effort to get young people involved and help direct the organization. We need to begin appealing to another demographic.and#8221;
Hanna, who was able to transform her long-standing passion for ballet into a burgeoning business in the form of Tahoe Youth Ballet, said her involvement in TCDA not only brings a new perspective to the organization, but also demonstrates that young people can have a voice in Tahoe City if they get involved.
and#8220;There is a new generation learning how things are done in town,and#8221; she said. and#8220;It’s not only with the TCDA, but in the community at large.and#8221;
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Both Hanna and Madigan see TCDA’s role as particularly important as there is no true governing body specific to Tahoe City.
and#8220;It just shows due to the lack of anything else that you have to get involved in order to bring about change,and#8221; Hanna said. and#8220;Our board consists of a bunch of doers, and the TCDA can be a conduit for progress.and#8221;
Dave Wilderotter, owner of Tahoe Dave’s, is one of the members of the old guard, as he opened his ski and snowboard shop in Tahoe City in 1977. He served as president of the TCDA the previous three years, and his willingness to step aside created room for the next generation to emerge.
and#8220;Any organization should have change,and#8221; Wilderotter said. and#8220;From my standpoint, it’s interesting to sit back and instead of running the organization, I’m supporting it.and#8221;
Wilderotter agrees that TCDA is a key organization in representing the interests of the businesses and residents of Tahoe City.
and#8220;The Tahoe City Public Utility District covers Dollar Hill to Tahoma,and#8221; he said. and#8220;The TCDA is really the only body that is specifically concerned with Tahoe City.and#8221;
He said he has been impressed with the vigor Madigan and Hanna’s leadership has brought to the organization.
and#8220;(Christin) and Brendan have really whipped up the other board members in terms of asking what are the challenges and solutions to be found for Tahoe City,and#8221; he said. and#8220;They are serious about wanting to effect change.and#8221;
Justin Broglio, executive director of the downtown association, is also satisfied to see some new blood on the board.
and#8220;Without new energy, an organization like the TCDA runs the risk of burning out and overusing the passion that got it all started in the first place,and#8221; he said. and#8220;It’s awesome to see people like Brendan and Christin stepping to the table. It’s not often that you find young people in Tahoe willing to devote their free time to community issues.and#8221;
Madigan said the notion that Tahoe City is dying is not based in fact. He conceded that young people are moving to Truckee for more affordable real estate, but said many, like him, move to Tahoe City and become passionate about it.
and#8220;Tahoe City has a unique set of challenges, and there are undeniable problems,and#8221; he said. and#8220;But there are a lot of positives as well. Three restaurants are opening in town this summer, there are new businesses coming to downtownand#8212; I think it looks pretty good.and#8221;
Madigan said the biggest challenge for TCDA is to continue and augment its membership base.
and#8220;We must constantly procure new members,and#8221; he said. and#8220;We need to continually educate the businesses in town about what we are doing to enhance the vibrancy of Tahoe City.and#8221;
While Madigan spoke to the revenue side of the equation, Hanna emphasized the need to control expenses.
and#8220;We’ve begun to trim the fat of the organization,and#8221; she said. and#8220;I’ve been involved in a lot of arts-related organizations and unfortunately when times get tough, many step outside of their mission in an effort to draw more revenue. But we’ve stuck to our core missionand#8212; which is community events like the concerts at Commons Beach or the Farmer’s Market. We just need to continue to do what we do and do it well.and#8221;
The rapid pace of technological change, particularly in the arena of communications, has altered the way information is disseminated, the way people interact with another and the way businesses distribute their message to prospective customers.
and#8220;If I am trying to convey a message about an upcoming event to young people in the community, hanging posters at the Laundromat might not be the best way to do that anymore and#8212; it’s better to do it through Facebook,and#8221; said Broglio, who added that Hanna and Madigan’s adeptness with new information technology can only aid TCDA.
Hanna relates a story about one of the first performances of the Tahoe Youth Ballet.
She came up with the idea of offering local businesses the opportunity to advertise in the performance program, but was astonished when many business owners had never heard of a JPEG or a PDF (acronyms for digital image formats for computer files) and didn’t even have their business logo saved on a computer file.
Madigan credits Broglio for initiating and maintaining TCDA’s presence on social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter, but did say the downtown association could educate businesses in town about how to better utilize new marketing mechanisms.
While admittedly still learning about the nuances of Tahoe’s unique governance structure, both Madigan and Hanna are not short on enthusiasm for their freshly undertaken enterprise and for the lakside alpine town they call home.
and#8220;I love living in Tahoe City,and#8221; Madigan said. and#8220;I love the lifestyle I am able to live here and I am super passionate about giving back to this community and giving back strongly.and#8221;