Fallon's effort to boost its economy widens its focus

A homegrown initiative to strengthen the economy of Fallon and Churchill County has widened to involve the next generation of business leaders in the community.

And it's looking in unusual places, says Christy Lattin, president of the Fallon Chamber of Commerce.

While organizers of a Next Generations program of the chamber of commerce knock on doors and talk with upcoming leaders of brick-and-mortar businesses in town, they're also targeting businesses that otherwise might be invisible in the community.

Among them: Churchill County retailers who sell through the Web as well as home-based businesses.

The Next Generations initiative is spearheaded by Andrea Schell, a sales director with Mary Kay Cosmetics in Fallon.

"The chamber needs to revitalize itself with some new energy and some new blood," says Lattin. "We want to reach out to nontraditional businesses."

An initial meeting of the New Generations group brought more than 30 business owners and managers together for a mixer, and the group expects to meet quarterly, Schell says.

The focus on young business leaders is part of a multi-pronged effort led by Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. to strengthen the city's economy. The city government invested about $80,000 into the effort and hired Abbi Public Relations of Reno to development campaign. (The agency is headed by Abbi Holtom Whitaker, who grew up in Fallon.)

Part of the campaign, Whitaker says, involves keeping up the spirits of Churchill County residents through the recession. Hundreds of residents, for instance, gave an on-line cheer for Fallon in a Readers Digest promotion, "We Hear You America."

"We had people going crazy for that," says Whitaker. Fallon residents cheered more for their hometown than any other place in Nevada.

The campaign also seeks to build better ties between Fallon-area businesses and families stationed at the nearby Naval Air Station.

"They have recession-proof incomes, and they want to be part of the community," Whitaker says of the military families.

About 300 people attended a Navy Appreciation Day late last year. A second event, "Art and Ales," brought out about 100 people who learned about the Oats Park Art Center.

"Those are two events that we want to do every year," Whitaker says.

Popular seminars, meanwhile, have boosted the skills of Fallon-area business people in their use of social media.

About 60 people attended a class on uses of social media to promote their businesses, and Whitaker says a Churchill County dairyman now is a devoted user of Twitter in his business.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment