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Taste of Hawaii comes to rural Nevada

Pat Patera

The first of a chain of eight islandthemed cafes recently opened in Gardnerville.

Sites in rural communities throughout Nevada are being nailed down for the rest.

Sierra Blends, a coffee beverage cafe and general store, is an extension of a similar chain of 15 stores operated in Hawaii by Lloyd Jamison and his wife Carol.

They relocated to Minden last year after 20 years in Hawaii, where Jamison studied under Hawaiian chefs Sam Choy and Yurg Munch.

Food includes a selection of exotic coffee drinks and smoothies, with an outdoor smoker grill to cook Polynesian-style meats and fish for outdoor patio dining.

Less exotic fare such as sandwiches and salads are also served, while gourmet desserts are coming to the Barista Bar in March.

Warmer weather will bring live entertainment on weekends, says Jamison.

Jamison says his vendors tap into contacts with farmers in Hawaii to import fresh tropical fruits and fish, plus Hawaiian plants and flowers and nursery items.

Decor is a blend of rustic Hawaiian and rustic Sierra.

Hank Martin with Alpha Group, a design and architectural planning firm with offices in Reno and Minden, did the design.

The Gardnerville store, at 2,800 square feet, fills an acre lot with building, drive through and parking.

The additional halfacre will become a gas station.

The next seven cafes will build out on the same concept, to the same size, with gas stations wherever regulations allow.

Projected opening date for the next Sierra Blends in Yerington is June 1.

Location is at the head end of downtown, at Main Street and Virginia.

Next is Dayton, to open this fall in the downtown historical district.

Jamison is currently securing property in Fernley, is choosing a location in Fallon and has a broker selecting sites in Elko and Ely.

The last opening will be at Tahoe Junction, the intersection of Mount Rose Highway and Highway 395 south of Reno.

Each store opening comes about eight months after the last, Jamison says.

The venture is financed by shareholders and private investment through Sierra Blends Inc., incorporated in 2004.

Jamison said he worked with the Small Business Administration and Rural Nevada Development Corporation in launching the venture.

He plans to own each of the properties.

The market for this ambitious blend of services? Locals and students, business commuters and tourists, says Jamison.

Sierra Blends will be open seven days a week from 5 a.m.

to 11 p.m.

during spring and summer, 6 a.m.

to 8 p.m.

in winter.

The Gardnerville store and cafe, at the corner of Kimmerling Road and Tillman, is over five miles west of 395 in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

However, it is less than two miles south of tourist-heavy Highway 88, and is on the route to Lake Topaz.

Jamison says he chose Nevada to expand his idea to the mainland because of Nevada’s pro-business climate, stable business regulations, and “because rural communities miss out on a lot of things they would like to have.” “The big guys the Starbucks and Java Jungles won’t go into the small communities,” he said.”That leaves a market for the little guys.”


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