What Nevada Makes for Christmas Shoppers
The mall where you can buy local for Christmas, and the store that specializes in items that are Nevada-made...
"Local" is definitely a buzz word these days, as Reno’s small stores take on the goliaths from out of town -- especially around the holidays when we're all spending money on gifts. At Reno's Town Mall, it's more than "buy local." The folks there take it to the next level, selling products produced in the silver state. At the “Buy Nevada First Gift Shop,” owner Dave Asher told us, "Here in my store we feature over 250 local entrepreneurs. Most of it is all made in Nevada."
The items inside his store are 90% Nevada made, and it’s surprising how much there is: candy, books, jerky, coffee, jams, tea, honey, cosmetics, salsa, soap, jewelry, clothes, toys, kitchenware and pasta sauce. As Dave says, "Buy something made with love, Nevada love!"
Outside, floor space at the mall is taken by some creators themselves. From Barry Klumpp and locally-made ion generators, where he told us, "This piece right here would create a negative ion field high enough to put your living room at peace." to Mindful Images Photography, selling 800 different and beautiful scenes of Nevada on calendars, postcards and portraits. Co-owner Kevin Cooper told me, "We love the beauty of Nevada and wanted to capture it on film and share it with others."
But the “Buy Local” movement still has a ways to go. Customers are sparse at the mall. Reno entrepreneurs were especially hit hard by our economic booms. Gift shop owner Asher told us, "Just like the building boom last time, all these strip malls are coming into these new neighborhoods, and they're filled with chain stores. That’s more chain stores with less money to be spent at the moms and pops."
Too many mom and pops closed up. Newcomers coming in from other states patronized the tried and true chains and big box stores they shopped back home. For Dave and the other Nevada producers, it just means working harder to get a piece of the consumer pie. As he said, "We have to keep our top of mind awareness out there so the community's reminded that we are the number one way to create local jobs."
Outside, the photos Kevin sells are amazing, but he knows how people are and where they go to buy -- big stores and online. But you'll still find him there at the Reno Town Mall. And after Christmas, entrepreneurs like him and Dave's "Buy Nevada First Gift Shop" store will replace a big part of the Burlington store, going from 4,000 square feet to 20,000. He expects that to be open by next March.