Local businesses broaden horizons
April 16, 2008
Branching out into Reno has brought a slew of opportunities and challenges for Truckee businesses that have grown their operations to span two states.
In February the Squeeze In ” a downtown Truckee cafe boasting a famous filling breakfast “-broadened business by opening a new restaurant in northwest Reno.
After examining the customer base at the Truckee location, owner Misty Young said she found most clientele was flocking from Reno to feast on the western-style menu ” a clear sign that branching out would be a success, she said.
“It’s a double blessing now to have the opportunity to do business here in Truckee ” our hometown ” and do the same thing in Reno where we lived for 25 years,” Young said. “There are so many differences in doing business in both states.”
In comparing the business in Truckee versus Reno, Young said she cites lower wages, cheaper rent and different clientele as the most evident differences.
“Minimum wage in Nevada is almost $2 an hour less than here, rent at the Squeeze In California is almost twice as much as it is in Reno, and workers compensation is not half as expensive,” Young said. “Just those three costs alone are huge.”
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Despite seeing record-breaking numbers since opening the new Reno Squeeze In, Young said a challenge she may face is summer traffic.
“What we definitely know about Truckee is it’s going to turn from quiet shoulder season to absolute mayhem,” she said. “But we don’t know yet what to expect for the business cycle in Reno for the summer.”
Conversely, Manager Preston Lillo of Sweets Homemade Candies in Truckee said since opening a store in Reno several years ago, he’s seen steady year-round business in Truckee while sales at the Reno location pick up during holidays.
However, Lillo said he agrees that the cost differences between the two states are clear-cut.
“There are different rules across the board,” Lillo said. “It costs more to hire people in California than in Reno, the taxes are completely different and rent is structured differently.”
“Both stores are doing well in different ways,” he added.
But not all businesses fair so well with operations in the neighboring regions. In early April, downtown Truckee said good-bye to the Truckee River Outfitters, a full-service fly fishing shop open during the summer trout season.
Pressures from the real estate market coupled with discouraging retail sales forced the owners to consolidate stores, moving the Truckee business to the Reno Fly Shop, said Manager Rob Anderson.
Additionally, while most businesses in Truckee are fueled by tourism, Anderson said surprisingly the Truckee River Outfitters did not benefit from the tourist market.
“There’s not a ton of permanent residents there, and most people driving up already have their fly fishing store they go to before getting to Truckee,” he said.
While the move may be better for revenue, Anderson said a downfall has been trying to secure a meeting location for the 300 to 400 guide trips scheduled out of Truckee each year.
“It’s unfortunate because that location was the best guide service in the area, and now we’re scrambling to find a place for the guides to meet up with customers in Truckee,” Anderson said.