We're slowly seeing Nevada's economy rebound, something government officials are especially focused on continuing in our rural counties.
Wednesday, the Governor's Office of Economic Development met in Virginia City to discuss plans for the future.
Virginia City attracts thousands of tourists every year with its rich western culture, and officials say its success is vital to Storey County.
"Now that the railroad is coming up, it's kind of going through even more popularity as a tourist destination," says Michael Skaggs with the Office of Economic Development. "So it's an anchor to this whole region in terms of tourism development."
Storey County needs Virginia City's tourism. And the business owners here know it.
"Tourism is the only thing that keeps this town alive," says Karen James, owner of Virginia City Coffee House. "We kind of pull each other and help each other throughout the winter, but we rely heavily on tourism."
The Office of Economic Development has been researching ways to find long-term success in other parts of the state too.
"Because sometimes they're not even aware of what their opportunities might be in education, or some other area that could launch another industry for them," says Skaggs.
So what are the big moneymakers? Officials tell us the biggest opportunities are in general manufacturing, renewable energy and outdoor recreation.
And the good news, they say more businesses want to invest here, especially ones from California.
"State regulations in California right now are painful to the say the least," says Danny Campos with Northern Nevada Development Authority. "Most of the calls we're getting are people asking about how we compare side-by-side."
Bringing in California businesses and putting more money in these small towns would be a big boost. Things are already quietly turning around in Virginia City, but business owners here would love to see more long-term investors.
"It's picking up again," says Connie Carloson, owner of the Silver Queen Hotel and Wedding Chapel. "But it's really important to work those surrounding areas and bring them up here."
Each county will create its own plan of action. And if all else fails, Carlson says we should all just head for the hills.
"I guess that they're going to find a lot of gold in them thar hills," she says.
While state officials are looking for those opportunities in rural counties, they say there is no doubt that mining and gaming will also help lead the recovery efforts.