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Downtown shop owner invests in Truckee’s future

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

What does it take to be a successful businesswoman in a small town? Taking risks helps, said Truckee business owner Claudia Tatum ” and having enough grandchildren to name the shops after.

Tatum’s most recent venture ” Trio ” is made up of three elements : a wine bar, live music venue, and an art gallery. Tatum’s newest venture opens today.

Investing in the future of downtown Truckee and anticipating the community’s retail needs is what keeps her motivated.

“I believe in keeping the soul of the town and keeping the historical integrity,” Tatum said.

Besides Trio, Tatum also owns The Pharmacy, Truckee Mercantile, Piper’s Patisserie, Dylan’s Delights, Ames Deli, Finnegan’s Finds, C.B. White House and, most recently, the Star Hotel.

Tatum said she keeps her businesses in the family: “I’ve named (the stores) all after my grandchildren.”

Ames Deli will soon be renamed Will’s after her newest grandson, she said.

It’s always a challenge to keep a business going, said Tom Watson, managing partner of Truckee River Associates. Tatum’s an astute business person, he said, someone who is setting the tempo for future downtown businesses.

From a real estate perspective, “She’s one of the businesses that makes Truckee a better place,” Watson said. “She’s buying into the future of Truckee.”

Watson described the recent expansion of the Village at Northstar as a “vibrant retail corridor” in the area. And that business corridor is something that should continue in Truckee to establish a year-round retail business in town, he said.

With a background in property investment, Tatum said she moved to town 12 years ago and made C.B. White House her first purchase.

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” Tatum said, offering advice to those looking to invest. “Go for it. Risk it. Follow your heart.”

Having firsthand experience with the ups and downs of opening a new business, sometimes an idea will work and sometimes it won’t, Tatum said. It takes persistence and motivation to make it happen. She said she insists on being involved with all the renovation and interior design of her businesses.

Since its opening earlier this year, she said Trio is gradually becoming a favorite gathering spot for locals ” women in particular ” and perhaps it has something to do with the cushy couches and relaxing ambiance.

Adding to the cozy atmosphere, Trio makes its debut as an art gallery today with the work of local Japanese artist Asako Imaniya and Icelandic painter Erro. Their art will remain on display through April 30.

“The word that Claudia brings is vision,” said Allen Wicks, who has been working for Tatum for about six years. “She envisions a new store and then goes and builds it.”


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