‘Buy Local Rural Nevada’ creates vendor directory | nnbw.com

‘Buy Local Rural Nevada’ creates vendor directory

Anne Knowles

Supporting rural Nevada businesses is about to get a little easier.

Buy Local Rural Nevada, a new Web site found at http://www.buylocalnv.com, is on its way to providing a directory of vendors, from accountants to yogurt shops, located in Churchill, Douglas, Humboldt, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storey counties as well as rural Washoe County.

“We have a database of just over 2,000 businesses we’re verifying now,” says Dave Asher, director of Buy Nevada First and the Reno Sparks Local Business Cooperative.

Asher is creating the site under contract with the Western Nevada Development District, a voluntary association of local governments, which identified the idea as a way to promote area businesses and grow the local economy. WNDD was recently awarded a $25,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to fund the site for 18 months.

Asher hopes to have the directory up and running by the end of the year, but already a handful of businesses have heard about the project, contacted Asher and gotten the listing going.

Most are mom-and-pop endeavors interested in not only drumming up business but also finding local suppliers, all in an effort to keep money circulating in the area.

“We just opened for business in November. Our grand opening is in early December,” says Carole Leanza, owner of Leanza’s Bakery, located at Lattin Farms in Fallon. “One focus we have is on supporting local farms and utilizing local goods whenever we can.”

Leanza operated a bakery for five years in the Cleveland area. Then she and her husband, now retired from the U.S. Air Force, moved to Nevada a year ago. She does have a Web site, http://www.leanzasbakery.com, and ships some products, such as nut rolls and cookie trays, but Leanza is looking to the Buy Local Rural Nevada site for more than orders of chocolate walnut fudge.

“I’m not only hoping to build my business but also connect to other local businesses,” she says.

Chuck Ritter, owner of Sierra Nevada Creations, wants to find suppliers for his crafts business. The retired Lyon County fire captain uses wine and liquor bottles to make lighted bottles, filling them with small LED lights, and hummingbird feeders. He’s been selling his wares via farmer’s markets and crafts fairs as well as online through Etsy and his own Web site, sierranevadacreations.com.

Ritter mostly recycles bottles but also buys them from Just Brew It, a supplier in Carson City, and would like to find more local partners.

“I cater to Nevadans,” says Ritter, who grew up here and lives in Dayton. “I’m hoping to generate some business and use local suppliers. I want to keep it in Nevada.”

Kassie Mohler, owner of Abandoned Treasures, second-hand stores located in Dayton and Silver Springs, always tries to give local businesses a boost. Her shops contain a table for business cards and flyers from area vendors and she always suggests someone she knows personally if customers ask for help.

“Someone was going to go to Best Buy to get their computer fixed and I said, no, Monica and Ron can fix it,” says Mohler. “I really try to support local businesses.”

Mohler buys her inventory at auctions of storage space. “Like Storage Wars,” she says, referring to the popular A&E reality TV show. She hosts her own weekly auctions on Facebook, where she has 800 likes, and is a member of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. How else does she advertise?

“I have a big mouth,” says Mohler.

John Humphrey, owner of JT Humphrey’s Wildlife Photography, is hoping the Buy Local Rural Nevada site will spread the word about both his photos of native fauna and his wild horse tours.

“The tours are mostly word of mouth and through Facebook,” says Humphrey, whose businesses are based in Gardernville. “In Carson Valley everyone knows me. But outside of Carson Valley no one knows me.”

Mary Vale, owner of Old Duds New Threads Digital Embroidery Services, also is well-known locally in Minden, where she’s run a home-based business doing custom embroidering for 10 years.

“I’m doing good, but I want more of an online presence,” says Vale, which is why she contacted Asher after reading about the new Web site.

Once the directory is completed, Asher hopes to launch an ad campaign, funded by a second grant WNDD is applying for, to make consumers aware of the many options in rural Nevada. “It’s a continual educating project,” he says.