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Local company has worldwide reach

Paul Raymore
Sierra Sun
Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunCharlie Smith, left, owner of WolfSmith Media, and Scott Bullart, WolfSmith employee, stand in front of the Truckee business.
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A tiny company located in an office in Brickelltown, WolfSmith Media has big dreams of helping other local businesses expand their reach via the Internet.

Founded in San Francisco by Rob Wolf and Charlie Smith (hence the name) as a Web development and marketing firm, the founders moved the company to Truckee in 2001 after the town was wired for DSL.

For Smith, who had run a similar company out of Tahoe City before moving to San Francisco, the potential presented by Truckee- and Tahoe-area businesses was something he couldn’t pass up.

“I moved to Truckee by default because there wasn’t DSL in Tahoe City, which is where I lived before. But now that I’m in Truckee, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on the lake. I see the business community here growing so fast and growing in a diverse manner,” Smith said.

Wolf eventually left WolfSmith Media in Smith’s hands, and with only one full-time employee, Scott Bullart, the design firm is not exactly huge; however, they can boast a growing local clientele and offer their clients the same professional Web development and e-commerce solutions that bigger firms in Sacramento and San Francisco provide ” often at a fraction of the price.

“Part of why I want to be targeting local businesses more is because I see that there are a lot of big businesses in Tahoe, and a lot of the big businesses in Tahoe go outside of Tahoe for their marketing services,” Smith said. “Personally, I’d like to see that change. Ideally we can start providing some of the bigger businesses around here with services that are going to be cheaper than if they’re going to Sacramento or San Francisco to get it done.”

In addition to doing the design and layout of Web sites, print projects and other client needs, Smith and Bullart have developed a core package of e-commerce and database management tools for the Web ” tools that have allowed businesses like Gioielli’s bead store in Truckee to offer more than 1,200 different products for sale on their Web site with little outside help after the initial setup.

“We’re just pretty excited to not only be doing these e-commerce projects, but also to be doing them for local businesses,” Smith said.

Prices for a WolfSmith-designed Web site range from around $3,500 for a site that’s already been developed only needs to add e-commerce functionality, to upwards of $35,000 for a full site design with photography, e-commerce and database applications.

One of the biggest challenges the company faces is convincing local merchants and business owners that the initial setup costs of a professional Web site will pay off in the long run.

“It’s the single most visible piece of marketing material that any business has these days, and it’s definitely a challenge around here making people realize the importance of that first impression,” Smith said.

And like many other small business owners in town, the hunt for office space in Truckee at an affordable price has been taking up a lot of Smith’s time lately.

But despite the challenges, Smith enjoys working for the broad spectrum of clients found in the Truckee-Tahoe area.

“It keeps my job interesting to do different work for different companies … for me that just adds another design challenge each time.”

Contact Charlie Smith at 582-1021 or charlie@WolfSmithMedia.com.


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