NNBW swings with the economic pendulum
Five years into the life of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly, the economy in the region — and throughout the country — started to crumble.
“In 2007, we were really seeing the effects,” John Seelmeyer, the first editor of the NNBW, said in an interview. He watched the Great Recession unfold in Northern Nevada from a front row seat.
“I was on a first name basis with the bankruptcy court judge,” he said. “A lot of personal friends were hurt.”
That was true internally, too.
“We had to lay off people, cut back people’s hours, and at the same time we were covering this stuff and covering it in ways that were meaningful.”
Many were hard hit.
Seelmeyer relayed the story of how hard it was for a branch bank president who received a call on the golf course that the FDIC was at the bank to close it.
“We combined the very human story with fairly good explanations of what was happening,” he said.
Ken Moen, co-publisher of the NNBW in its beginning and now general aviation specialist for the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, had left the paper in 2005 to pursue other ventures.
“When the recession hit, many thought it was like the Old West’s boom and bust cycle,” Moen told the NNBW.
He wasn’t as pessimistic as others and, in fact, saw what eventually lead to the region’s dramatic turnaround.
“I saw our neighbors, California,” he said. “I felt that with Reno being 12 miles from the border of California, we were going to get that growth.”
Soon, the number of businesses fleeing California’s high costs increasingly moved into the Reno region, with its quality of life and lower costs. When Tesla announced it would move to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, Reno gained worldwide recognition, and businesses began to flood in.
The NNBW also weathered the storm and prepared for a better future.
James Arden, who has been with the NNBW’s parent company, Sierra Nevada Media Group since 2011, was the general manager of the business weekly as the economic pendulum swung back to prosperity.
“It was a waiting game for us,” Arden told the NNBW. “Waiting for those companies to realize the worst was behind and they could start to advertise again.”
He was confident they would come back to the NNBW.
“The key was that the NNBW stayed relevant throughout (the recession),” said Arden, who is now the finance director for PressWorks Ink, which is also part of SNMG. “Business owners could see it was a tool to grow their businesses. So it was easy for companies, when they were able to, to come back to us.”
With the economy growing, the NNBW is set to continue growing, too.
“I expect great things (in the economy),” Arden said. “I expect great things of ourselves.”
Construction could begin next year and require about 500 to 600 workers, with a permanent workforce starting at 150 to 200 people with potential to expand.