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Choosing Favorites by Joshua H. Silavent 1/27/11

SPARKS — Elected officials across Nevada have repeatedly stated their desire to help jumpstart businesses and people back to work. Now, coming down the legislative pipe are several initiatives designed to foster job growth, draw new industries to the state and give local businesses priority in public contract bidding. In an executive budget proposal released Monday, Gov. Brian Sandoval earmarked $10 million in incentives for businesses that relocate to the state.
Meanwhile, Mayor Geno Martini and Councilman Ed Lawson began a dialogue this week with Nevada Business Connections, a private firm that recruits businesses to the state. City officials are hoping to market Sparks to prospective businesses looking to relocate and take advantage of the state’s good business tax climate.
And when the state Legislature convenes in February, a “Nevada Businesses First” bill is likely to be introduced right away. It proposes to require that all businesses receiving tax credits and incentives for relocating to Nevada must give in-state subcontractors a 5 percent bid preference over the lowest offer from an out-of-state bidder. Sponsored by Democratic Assembly representatives Debbie Smith, John Oceguera and Marilyn Kirkpatrick, the bill is described as a “companion piece” to a “Nevada Jobs First” legislation that requires local governments to give a 5 percent bid preference to qualified Nevada businesses when issuing public contracts. Former Gov. Jim Gibbons vetoed a similar bill in 2009 after it passed both houses of the state legislature. Smith believes the bills will pass this time around, particularly as the effects of the economic recession continue to linger in the state’s unemployment rate, a national high. “I think we have a lot more across-the-board support,” she said.

Dave Asher has been pushing for local procurement legislation for many months.
“It doesn’t make sense to send money out of the state for any reason,” said Asher,
a Reno businessman and founder of the nonprofit advocacy organization
LiveLocal RenoSparks. And while he is happy to see something developing, he is concerned the bill language isn’t strong enough.
“It’s too soft,” he said.
Asher champions raising bid preferences for local businesses to 15 percent for public contracts $100,000 or less, 10 percent for $200,000 or less and 5 percent for any above that threshold. “It’s aggressive,” he said, “but ideal for recovery.”

But recovering jobs in the current economy is a goal of all states and all businesses, and there is some worry about how government might define what constitutes a Nevada business. “The (Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce) has many members, including large companies whose (headquarters) are located elsewhere but who have a lot of employees here and who pay a lot of taxes,” said Tray Abney, the chamber’s director of government relations, in an e-mail. “We just want to make sure that all of our members have opportunities to participate.” Local procurement laws are meant to keep revenues in the state, and savings lost to bid preferences are expected to be recouped, and then some, through taxes that circulate through local economies and support schools, public safety and social services. But Smith acknowledged that broadening the definition of a Nevada business might have to be made. “There are always concerns about being protectionist,” she said. But for those businesses already paying taxes in Nevada, a little preference might go a long way in helping revive revenue streams.
“I think there is some real potential here,” Abney said, “but the devil is in the details.”

Home for the Holidays: Busting the online-is-cheeper myth



By Kat Kerlin
katk@newsreview.com

This article was published on 12.23.10.

Dave Asher of LiveLocalRenoSparks.com gives a locally caffeinated toast
to area businesses.

It’s a common assumption that you can find almost anything online for less money than what you’d pay in person at a store—especially a local one. Yet there I was, perusing sheet music in locally owned Maytan Music a few weeks ago and being pleasantly surprised to find the prices for brand new piano books were less than or equal to anything I could find online. Also, unlike any online dealer, I could flip through the whole book—not just be given access to a couple of page views—and even play a few pieces on the store’s piano before deciding to buy the book. So I decided to take the online-is-cheaper maxim to task. I visited three local, independent shops that sell a number of products that can also be found online. They were all within walking distance on South Virginia Street: Melting Pot World Emporium, Carter Bros. Ace Hardware, and Nevada Fine Arts. I would’ve added the nearby EcoReno to the mix, but it will be closing at the end of the month, a sad reminder why we’re even discussing buying local. Sidenote: I’ve written holiday gift guides geared toward local stores for the past three years, and many of my go-to spots—La Bussola, Kitchen Treasures, and now EcoReno—have had to shut their doors. Among the three stores, the Melting Pot was generally a bit more expensive than if you bought the same product online. Example: Oscar Wilde action figure for $12.50 compared to $7 online. However, it’s a fun, colorful shop to support and explore. And with the added shipping cost of most online shopping, the price difference is negligible. You may not even know you wanted an Oscar Wilde action doll—or incense or a funny hat or a hula hoop—if you didn’t explore this shop.
Ace’s generally cost more—but often only slightly more—than what’s available online. And once shipping is considered, it’s often equal to or less than what you’d pay over the internet. For example, a Black & Decker Cordless Drill for $39.99 at Ace would cost about the same or less once shipping was factored into the $34.45 cost online.
Nevada Fine Arts was sometimes below online prices even before factoring in shipping and nearly always cheaper or the same once shipping is considered. A “Painting by Numbers” kit for kids was $12.99 at the store, compared to a dollar more on the internet. A 16x20 inch Frederix Artist Canvas—and what artist can’t use more canvases?—cost $10.80 at the store and just a dollar less online, before shipping costs are added.
Bottom line: Online is often cheaper, but not always by much, and sometimes not at all.

Live local, buy local

Let’s say it is cheaper to buy online. Why should we go out of our way to buy local? Dave Asher of LiveLocalRenoSparks.com, which provides free listings to local businesses, has a hierarchy of how to shop: “Always shop local first, chain stores next. The absolute last resort is buying online.” Asher says he’s one of the rare buy-local advocates who encourage shopping at Walmart and other chains because at least they employ local people, collect sales taxes and pay property taxes, all of which go to support things like local schools and libraries.

“If you can’t find it by shopping locally, go to Walmart or Sears before going online,” he recommends.
He breaks it downs with a national statistic from the group Business Alliance Local Living Economies: For every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays in the local economy, compared to $43 staying here for every $100 spent at chain stores. How much of that $100 spent online stays in the local economy? Zero, says Asher.
Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble have big warehouses in the region that employ hundreds of local residents. Some argue that shopping at those venues is buying local. However, Amazon does not charge sales tax on sales in Nevada, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Amazon’s own website.
“People feel better buying online from Barnes and Noble and Amazon because they have warehouses here—but so does Walmart,” says Asher. “It’s about where the profits go.”
He adds that corporate stores also hire corporate advertising teams, corporate lawyers and corporate accountants, whereas local mom and pop stores tend to find local ad firms, lawyers, and accountants.

“If we can shift 10 percent of our GDP over from nonlocal to local businesses, we can create $350 million staying in our local economy,” says Asher. “It’s where the money goes after it’s spent.”

10 local gift ideas:
Some of the best deals and gifts to buy locally are those you can’t get anywhere else, like services and handmade, only-in-Reno items. If you’re stuck for gift ideas in these final days before Christmas, here, in no particular order, are 10 of them—no shipping or handling, and guaranteed to get here before Santa does.

1) Spa, massage or manicure/pedicure gift certificate.

2) Gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.

3) Gift certificate to a favorite local coffee shop.

4) Tickets to a local play or concert.

5) Hire a local cleaning service to clean the gift recipient’s house for a day (a personal favorite).

6) Visit the Nevada Store in the Moana West Shopping Center on Lakeside Court for everything from Wolf Pack gear to soaps, teas and ornaments made in Nevada.

7) Local art. Find it at local galleries, boutiques, cafes or directly from your favorite artist.

8) Lavender Ridge, 7450 W. Fourth St., has a wide selection of homemade lavender bath, body and culinary products at their farm/gift shop.

9) Lift tickets to a local ski resort.

10) Membership to a local gym.

For more local gift ideas and a list of locally owned stores and businesses, visit www.livelocalrenosparks.com.

‘Buy Local’ movement gains steam





Tribune/Debra Reid – Dave Asher, creator of LiveLocalRenoSparks.com,
is using his website to promote locally owned businesses,
including one of his favorite coffee spots, the Aroma Club in Reno
by Joshua H. Silavent Sparks Tribune
12.17.10 - 12:02 am

SPARKS — Dave Asher was tired of seeing local businesses board up their windows and close shop. He was tired of seeing money and investment leave the state. And no longer could he sit idly by and wait for the long recession to work itself out.

So, Asher, a third generation Renoite with 25 years of retail experience, decided to reinvent himself in a way that could help local proprietors emerge from the recession healthy, strong and better than ever. In March he launched LiveLocal RenoSparks, a nonprofit replete with a website, and in the process brought a national initiative home to the Truckee Meadows.
Asher’s strategy is simple: encourage area consumers to spend their money with local businesses and provide local businesses a resource to connect with area consumers. “Think local first” is his motto. But Asher isn’t the only one grasping the reins of the “buy local” movement.
Lynette Cas tillo has taken a scrapped government campaign to support local businesses and turned it into a private, nonprofit model. Made in Nevada, Inc. began its life about 20 years ago as a program supported by the Nevada Commission on Economic Development. Budget cuts, however, forced it out a few years ago. But Castillo, a Carson City resident who worked for the public program, believed in its value and couldn’t stand to see it die. “So I decided to bring it home,” she said. Since 2009, Made in Nevada has been operating with a bare bones budget, supported primarily by $50 monthly membership dues. For more than 150 businesses across the state, however, it is an indispensable lifeline as they try to stay afloat until the economic recovery emerges in full.
Marty Smith, owner of The Flag Store, Sign and Banner in Sparks, believes it is important to connect with local business owners dealing with similar struggles. “These are people in the same boat, rowing the same motors as me,” he said.
As a member of Made in Nevada, Smith’s business gets exposure in the nonprofit’s catalog, on its website and through special marketplace events, such as the one held at his store earlier this month. The event brought together some 20 vendors and businesses associated with Made in Nevada to sell products and engage patrons under one roof. Live music, poetry readings, wine tastings and food samples made for more than just shopping. “This year was absolutely incredible,” Smith said of the marketplace. Castillo hopes to expand upon this success and increase the number of marketplace events in 2011. “It’s really important to see these businesses grow,” she said. “It makes our communities proud.” Smith has turned the Made in Nevada theme into an integral part of his business in the last year. To survive the re cession, he said, it became necessary to diversify his inventory. Moving beyond selling flags and making signs became absolutely critical. So Smith took a chance and decided to invest in gift baskets, apparel, wine, food products and other merchandise produced in Nevada. “It looks like it has paid off,” he said. Getting creative, thinking outside the box and assuming risks have become part of the cost of doing business for many in recent years. But success, in large measure, still depends on the consumer side of the equation.
That’s why Asher does what he does. “My niche is providing a free online directory for local businesses,” he said, but only inasmuch as it gives consumers a central search point to discover local alternatives to chain retail and restaurant outlets. Asher is set to launch a “10 percent shift” campaign in the new year, wherein area consumers are encouraged to adjust their spending habits to the local market.
Asher said that if Reno-Sparks residents shift just 10 percent of spending from chain stores or out-of-state markets to local businesses, the area can retain upwards of $350 million. That money, he said, circulates through the economy and supports schools, infrastructure projects, police departments and parks, among other things, all without any tax increases. If successful, Asher believes his campaign can help lead the way to better economic days for Nevada.
“We’re all in this together,” he said.

Reno shops hope to join in Black Friday bonanza

By Susan Voyles • svoyles@rgj.com • November 24, 2010

With its new candy-coated, chocolate-covered corn nuts selling like crazy, Kimmie Candy Co. boosted its candy production in Reno to three shifts this summer.The company has expanded from seven to 26 employees since it closed its factory in South Korea and opened a new one in Reno three years ago. It produces 120,000 pounds of candy a month. Much of that is to satisfy cravings for sweet and salty chocolate treats that include corn nuts and sunflower kernels, said Joe Dutra, company president and a former farmer from the Sacramento Valley.“We’re very lucky this business has kind of boomed,” Dutra said.The third shift lasted for most of the summer and those workers are now on the swing shift, packing candies, Dutra said. So far, he said business is up 40 percent this year and he expects it to double next year.Kimmie is just the kind of story of a growing Nevada business that Made in Nevada and LiveLocal RenoSparks officials like to hear as they hope the buy-local movement spreads. And, at least some business owners have heard from consumers that people are wanting to look local for Black Friday purchases.Nationally, the buy local trend is catching on with American Express is pushing a campaign Saturday to buy from small businesses, countering the big-store merchandising blitz for Black Friday, said Eric Smith, whose father Marty owns the Flag Store in Sparks. The Flag Store plans to market toward holiday shoppers this season, holding a a Made in Nevada holiday marketplace for the second year in a row. The event will feature the wares of 20 local companies Dec. 4. “We had so much fun last year we decided to do it again this year,” Marty Smith said.
On a broader level, LiveLocal RenoSparks, a new Nevada nonprofit website, is launching a new campaign to “Keep Your Money Home for the Holidays.”
Its website contains a directory of 2,800 locally owned businesses that’s offered to businesses at no charge – which developer Dave Asher says is a first in the country. He makes a living selling website-based marketing services. Asher said the buy local for the holidays kicks off a yearlong campaign in 2011 to urge residents to buy at least 10 percent of their goods from locally owned businesses. The goal, Asher said, is to help put more people to work and boost the economy. He estimates that 10 percent would generate $350 million in sales while sales taxes would support schools, the cities and county and the state. “That money stays in our economy versus leaving in corporate profits and franchise royalties,” Asher said. “Local businesses tend to spend money at local businesses. It’s huge for the economy.” As part of the website, he is forming a local business owners cooperative to monitor the campaign for results. His efforts also have won him the chairmanship of a retail committee on a Washoe County task force on creating jobs.
Kimmie’s sales are largely from word of mouth and the treat is also sold in several major clothing stores as well as a topping at yogurt stores, Dutra said. The candy is sold at the Flag Store, the Nevada Store and at the plant. Why Reno? Dutra named several reasons: The dry climate is conducive for candy-making, the region is a trucking hub and it’s close to his parents’ home. He moved to Reno in 2004 to set up the plant. With the lower value of the dollar and chocolate manufacturers in the United States, Dutra said the move onshore has paid off. He also takes pride in providing jobs for 25 local families, including his two children. Success is sweet indeed. “I want to be the biggest little candy in the world in the biggest little city,” Dutra said.
He hopes people will come to Reno to tour the plant, just like visit the Jelly Belly plant in Fairfield, Calif. The Flag Store stocks Kimmie Candy and a number of other edible Made in Nevada products. It is also selling Nevada-shaped gift baskets filled with Nevada goods for the first time this holiday season. It also sells Nevada-themed t-shirts and sweatshirts with embroidery work done in Reno. The store also sells Ruby Mountain’s Buckaroo and Bristlecone Brown beers, made on a ranch near Elko, and Wood-Fire Roasted Coffees that boasts a Reno blend. Killer Salsa is made in Gardnerville. And Smith swears by Bain Tussler’s barbecue sauce made in Virginia City. The Nevada Store, at the rear of the Moana West Shopping Center, 3368 Lakeside Court, sells hundreds, if not thousands of Nevada made items, said Lindsay Falkner, store manager. It’s not the official store,” Falkner said, of the Made in Nevada nonprofit group. “But it’s the hub for all things made in Nevada.” Local honey produced by Sanders Apiaries in Reno and Fallon is her biggest seller. People buy local honey to build up their tolerance to pollens and ward off their allergies, she said. The store was the first to sell Nevada-shaped gift baskets and has a big display, she said. At both stores, Lattin Farms jams are also a bigger seller. Falkner’s personal favorite? “I seem to be constantly buying Kimmie Candy and from Sierra Nevada Chocolate Co.,” she said, of the two Reno chocolate companies.

RGJ.com Keep Your Money Home for the Holidays

LiveLocal RenoSparks launches Keep Your Money Home for the Holidays
November 19, 2010
LiveLocal RenoSparks, a new Nevada nonprofit, is launching "Keep Your Money Home for the Holidays," a campaign to educate consumers on the benefits of spending holiday dollars at locally owned businesses.
The nonprofit said locally owned businesses reinvest in the local economy at a rate that is 60 percent higher than chains, and profits generally circulate two to four times in the local economy.
As part of its holiday campaign, the nonprofit urges shoppers to visit www.livelocalrenosparks.com to identify local businesses that suit their shopping needs.

Healthy Beginnings Magazine

11/2010 KEEP YOUR MONEY HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
by Dave Asher
The average American spends $800-$900 on Christmas gifts, according to the American Consumer Credit Council. Other common holiday expenses include entertaining at home, dining out and hosting company parties. LiveLocal RenoSparks, a new Nevada nonprofit, is launching “KEEP YOUR MONEY HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS,” a campaign to educate consumers on the benefits of spending holiday dollars at locally owned businesses. According to several national studies, for every $100 spent at an independent business, $68 returns to the local community compared to $43 at a national chain store/restaurant.
Locally owned businesses reinvest in the local economy at a 60 percent higher rate than chains, and profits generally circulate two to four times in the local economy versus leaving the state as corporate profits and franchise fees.
Consumers have the opportunity to help create a vibrant local economy by purchasing holiday gifts/gift cards and groceries from independent local merchants, and planning holiday meals and parties at locally owned restaurants, cafes, wine bars, casinos, etc.
To identify locally owned businesses, visit www.livelocalrenosparks.com when making purchase decisions, and “choose local first” whenever possible. Work on shopping at locally owned franchises first, at a chain store as a secondary choice, and shop online as a last resort. Out of state online purchases are the worst options for the local economy, as they create no local jobs or sales tax revenue.
LiveLocal RenoSparks is one of the first in the country to build a free online directory of all locally owned businesses, and the current database includes 2,800 businesses. Local business owners can check the search engine for their free listing, and enter their company information if not already included. The website listing includes a business name, location, phone number, link to business website and search map to location. To help support this program, LiveLocal RenoSparks is building a Co-Op to offer local business owners marketing support, networking opportunities and the latest internet tools designed to help locally owned businesses succeed.
Keep Your Money Home for the Holidays begins the momentum for the “SHIFT 10% in 2011” campaign that encourages citizens to support the community by supporting locally owned businesses. Shifting just 10 percent of spending in RenoSparks from non-locally owned to locally owned businesses can result in over $350 million dollars staying in the local economy, annually. It’s not about politics. It’s about this community, and funding for schools, fire/police departments, roads, parks, libraries and all the things that make Reno/Sparks a great place to live. Remember:
THINK LOCAL. CHOOSE LOCAL. LIVE LOCAL.
References:
1. www.civiceconomics.com/localworks/
2. www.livelocalrenosparks.com/studiessources.htm

Natural Nevadan

Environmental issues and events in Northern Nevada and beyond
LiveLocal RenoSparks launches holiday shop local campaign
November 2, 2010 by Tammy Krikorian
LiveLocal RenoSparks has launched a “Keep Your Money Home for the Holidays” campaign. The following is a Q-and-A about the campaign and the non-profit with Director Dave Asher.


Question: What is the goal of Keep Your Money Home for the Holidays and 10% shift in 2011?
Answer: A 10% shift of our GDP from non local to local owned businesses would create more than $350 MILLION dollars staying in our local economy. That is money that would leave our community as corporate profits and franchise royalties. These numbers are modified from a study done by Civic Economics in Grand Rapids Mi. I adjusted to the population and average wage in Reno/Sparks. The holiday’s campaign is a way to get it started now when we are getting ready to spend a lot of money and help some locally owned businesses get through the winter. Here is a link to that study.
Q: How does shopping local benefit the local economy?
A: Let’s compare a local vs. franchise/chain hamburger restaurant as an example. The locally owned buys its meat, bread, soda, beer, produce, advertising, legal needs, accounting, printing, and more from other local business. The non-local has all of its supplies come in on a truck, from out of state. It gets all of the other services from the head corporation, out of state. So the locally owned supports many other local businesses. That creates local jobs.
Q: How does shopping local benefit the environment?
A: Reduced transportation cost is the biggest benefit, thus reducing the local carbon footprint.
Q: Your website says $68 of every $100 spent at a local store stays in the local economy, compared to $43 at a chain store. Is that number higher if the items purchased at a local store are also produced locally?
A: These numbers look mostly at where the profit goes after the sale. A locally owned gas station can’t buy locally made gas, we don’t have any. But the profits stay here. If you buy something made locally at a locally owned business, ALL of the money stays here. We do need more locally made products. That is where we can get many new jobs.
Q: How do you measure whether or not the campaign is catching on?
A: We are forming a “Locally Owned Business Co-Op”. I will be in direct contact with the business owners. My message to them is to support other locally owned businesses as much as possible. I will be looking for direct feedback on our progress. Here is the link.
Q: I’ve sometimes heard complaints that locally-owned stores are more expensive to shop at than chain stores. How do you convince consumers of the benefits of paying more?
A: First the Locally Owned Businesses have to step up and compete. They have to provide outstanding service and value. By educating consumers that maybe you saved a buck, you lost a buck and a quarter for your community by shopping at a chain store. Supporting locals’ adds to our tax base, parks, schools, fire dept. and police. If the price difference to too much, buy at the chain store. Then you will have more money to spend at another local business. My message is: shop local first, the local owned franchise second, shop the chain store when you have to. Shopping online, out of state is the worst choice for our community.
Q: Are you aware of any Black Friday promotions local retailers will be offering to try to capture some of the customers that might otherwise shop at chain stores that day?
A: The only campaign I’ve heard of so far is our own, “Keep your money Home for the Holidays.”
I do hope retailers and organizations get the “buy local” message going. We need to our economy around, now. This holiday season is the perfect place to start. Then we will head into 2011 with the 10% shift and create over $350 MILLION working in our community!

New Reno-Sparks nonprofit offers database of locally-owned businesses

BY KARA LAPOINT • KLAPOINT@RGJ.COM • SEPTEMBER 7, 2010

As a third-generation Reno resident, Dave Asher is as local as they come, and proud of it. To be a true local, Asher says, one must shop local.o grow the idea, Asher recently started his own nonprofit, LiveLocal RenoSparks. The nonprofit is dedicated to promoting local businesses and community sustainability, but Asher has an even bigger goal -- to change the shape of Reno's economy via a 10 percent shift in spending, from nonlocally owned businesses to locally owned businesses. "I call it my local economic recovery program," Asher said. The basis of that program is the website, which includes a directory and search engine for locally owned businesses, with subcategories for local franchises and "friends of local businesses." "It's one thing to say 'buy local,'" Asher said. "But I'm the first one here to say, 'Who's local?'" Asher has more than 2,800 locally owned businesses in his directory, which has been up and running since July 4. Any business can list for free. The listing includes a link to the business's website and a Google map with its location. Businesses also can pay a fee to become members of LiveLocal RenoSparks' business co-op, which provides additional marketing tools and other benefits.
The website, which Asher maintains, also includes other resources and links related to community sustainability and the idea of local economic recovery through local business support. Asher said he hopes the website will both educate consumers about local spending and be used as a resource. He also wants to provide a network for local businesses to support one another, he said. Asher witnessed first-hand the destruction of local businesses as a former owner of a local advertising agency. "I was really motivated by all the business closures," he said. "It just drove me crazy." Asher started to research the movement and came across an organization called the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. BALLE is a national network of more than 30,000 socially responsible, independent businesses across the U.S. and Canada. Asher became a member, representing the Reno-Sparks-Carson-Tahoe region. But, while LiveLocal RenoSparks is associated with BALLE, Asher said his nonprofit is unique in that it offers free listings in its directory. "I believe you have to support all local companies in order to make a change," Asher said. "Not just members." The change Asher seeks is what he calls the "10 percent shift" is based on a national movement. "Each dollar spent at locally owned businesses re-circulates two to four times in our community," Asher said. Asher said that such a shift could result in an additional $400 million per year circulating locally instead of leaving the state. "We're only talking about money that is already going to be spent," Asher said. "Yes, Starbucks has great coffee, and we're not trying to take that away from them. But one time out of 10, go to a local shop to support them. ... You're already going to spend the money, just shift where it is spent."

Booster of ‘buy local’ develops directory to locally owned firms

Northern Nevada Business Weekly
staff, 8/23/2010
Tired of seeing dozens of local businesses fail during two years of economic turmoil, Dave Asher created an online directory of local businesses that Reno-Sparks consumers could frequent to help bolster the region’s flagging economy.
Asher says he’s compiled close to 2,800 locally owned businesses in the Reno-Sparks region on the livelocalrenosparks.com Web site.
“I built this to help turn our economy around,” says Asher. “I am one of first in the whole country to create a list of every independently owned business for free — I am like the Google of locally owned.”
Asher estimates he’s put in about 60 hours a week the past few months establishing the database of local businesses. The idea is part of a national movement, he says, called the 10-percent shift.
“If we shift 10 percent of what we spend to locally owned businesses, we can create $350 million in revenue that’s staying in Reno-Sparks,” Asher says.
Asher says each listing took at least five minutes of research, and compiling the lists took many weeks behind the computer. He also struggled initially to find the computer software program that would allow him to link to businesses’ Web sites and provide Google maps of the establishments.
“It took months to get the right software — this is about the fourth time I’ve started this project.”
The new software package also allows Asher to build Web sites for clients and teach them how to update them. He plans to cash in on the project by selling memberships to the site for businesses that need Web sites and Internet marketing services. Memberships start at $200 annually.
“If you are going to get your car worked on, go to Greg’s Garage. If you are going to go to a casino, go to the Eldorado. It’s one thing to preach to buy local, but I’m providing a directory that supports that theme,” he says.

LIVELOCAL RenoSparks joins BALLE

LIVELOCAL RenoSparks joins BALLE (02/09/10)
The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is North America's fastest growing network of socially responsible businesses, comprised of over 80 community networks with over 21,000 independent business members across the U.S. and Canada. BALLE brings together independent business leaders, economic development professionals, government officials, social innovators, and community leaders to build local living economies. We provide local, state, national, and international resources to this new model of economic development. We´re showing that independent locally owned businesses can go beyond traditional measures of success. We're proving that these businesses are accountable to stakeholders and the environment. We're helping these businesses flourish in their local economies. And we're leveraging the power of local networks to build a web of economies that are community-based, green, and fair - local living economies. Living Economies start with entrepreneurs coming together to form a local network. The network's main focus might be a single issue, such as independent retail (a Local First campaign) or local food. Or, it might be bigger, such as transforming an entire regional economy. Each network evolves according to the needs, contours, and conditions of the local community with the ultimate goal of building a Living Economy. BALLE meets each network where it is, connects it with other networks, and, if the network chooses, provides opportunities for growth, learning, and greater impact.

Soft Opening for LIVELOCAL RenoSparks at Earth Day

Reno Gazette Journal• April 25, 2010
Thousands at Reno park celebrate 40th Earth Day
BY CARLA ROCCAPRIORE • croccapriore@rgj.com

Conservation, shopping local, recycling and renewable energy were among the topics today that attracted about 125 vendors and thousands of visitors an Earth Day celebration at Idlewild Park. “The weather is nice, it’s a free event and there are lots of kids activities,” Jo Simpson, president of event producer Nevada EcoNet, said. “We’re thrilled people are coming out and enjoying themselves.” Activities included Adopt a Tomato by Minden-based Full Circle Compost, in which gardeners pick a tomato plant and buy a bag of growing soil for $5, including free advice as their crop matures. “People get to plant their own plant and we like to be able to keep in contact with customers so they’re successful with their gardening needs,” Full Circle manager Stephanie Markwardt said.
Dave Asher of Reno promoted www.LiveLocalRenoSparks.com, which he launched a week ago as a free listing of locally owned independent businesses by category. Citing a study from Civic Economics, an economic development consulting firm, Asher said consumers shifting at least 10 percent of their spending toward local businesses can pump in $350 million to the local economy annually.“If you’re going to Starbucks 10 times a year, go there nine times a year and one of those times to a local coffee shop,” Asher said. Earth Day, in its 40th year, was celebrated locally for the 21st time. The event was found the late U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin to bring awareness to environmental causes and is celebrated in spring in this hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere. Reno resident Russ Ames, who attended Earth Day for a third year with his family, said he has fun at the event and it’s educational for his two children. “I enjoy all the solar stuff,” Ames said. “I’d like to update my house when I get the money.” Mark Nunberg of Reno said he moved here within the last year. “There are lots of interesting people, not something you see every day and it’s an excuse to go outside,” Nunberg said. “I somewhat sympathize with the cause.”