WHERE WAS EVERYBODY? THIS WAS A BUDGET MEETING AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE INPUTS TO THE BUDGET FOR NEXT YEAR. VCTC ADDED AN ADDITIONAL $75K FOR MARKETING NEXT YEAR….BUT NO ONE WAS THERE TO ASK WHERE IT WILL GET SPENT
LOST AND FOUND ITEMS SHOULD GO TO THE VISITORS CENTER
GRAND PRIX IS A GO, C STREET WILL CLOSE FOR TWO DAYS AND THE HOTELS ARE FULL
TRAVEL NEVADA IS SHOWING VC SOME LOVE WITH LOTS OF COVERAGE OF THE TOWN AND EVENTS
I’m going to start with a sidenote then follow with the summary:
SIDENOTE- I was the only one in the room besides the Board and the VCTC employees for the budget discussion. While the meeting had started with a few Merchants in the audience by the time the Coalition update came up on the agenda there were maybe 4 people and by the time of the budget discussion, there was NO ONE…..but me.I am saddened and disappointed that there was no one there to hear the budget discussion and to ask questions.
The Merchants asked that the time of the VCTC meeting be made earlier so that more people can attend. The VCTC did that.
The Merchants asked that Liquid Blue present what they did so that the Merchants can understand what value they get from the events and give input into them. The VCTC did that.
The Merchants asked that the VCTC allow and help promote their own local events. The VCTC did that.
The Merchants asked that there be some promotion/marketing budget to highlight some of the specific businesses. The VCTC is in the process of doing that.
The Merchants asked that the Docents be bought back. The VCTC is in the process of doing that.
The Merchants asked for more communications about what is happening. The VCTC did that thru Facebook, outreach and thru Arika Perry’s involvement in the Community Coalition.
The VCTC asked that there be merchant attendance at the meetings so that everyone can know what’s going on and to provide inputs into the plans. WHERE WERE THE MERCHANTS ON THIS DAY?
Attendance by the Merchants is dwindling to zero.
Understanding that the VCTC meeting may interfere in the early opening of a business….IT IS ONLY ONE DAY A MONTH. Can none of you make a 2-3 hour commitment once a month to ensure that you participate in those things that affect you?
On to the meeting….
During Public Comment, Judy Cohen, owner of the Silver Stope, asked about how to handle “lost and found”. Someone had left a set of keys in her shop. Katie Demuth, Marketing manager for VCTC, said to bring all items to the Visitors Center. The Center has a link on the website under “Resources” where people can locate their lost things. Lost wallets should go to the Sheriff’s office tho.
She also asked about the safety of having the Grand Prix run thru town. Deny Dotson, VCTC Executive Director, said that a safety traffic plan had been agreed upon between the Sheriff, Emergency Management and the Fire District. That they were designing the track thru C Street to be a funnel configuration to slow the race and keep the spectators safe. This is a timed race and so there will also be other ways to slow the sped down at various points n the loop. C Street will be closed for 2 days for the race from 11-3. Deny reported that the hotels and lodging establishments are FULL for the weekend.
During the Marketing update, Deny noted that VC has implemented new branding on look and feel. The red look is going away in favor of a sepia tan vintage look. Very nice. He noted that the VCTC will be using selected Docents to take some of the interviews that Deny typically does. This is a way to continue to focus on the unique historic atmosphere in VC. He also highlighted that Travel Nevada is full of VC specific articles, pictures or mentions related to road trips, the Rodeo season, the events calendar, and the 60th anniversary of the camel races. The Grand Prix also has a full page coverage.
The topic of the Webcam came up and Deny said that is is likely just plain broken. They will be replacing it. He noted that it gets huge traffic from all over the world and so it is a priority to get it fixed. I mentioned that this also came up in the Coalition meeting. That the camera is also used by our local residents to see what the weather conditions are in the winter and they view it as a great service.
Lastly, Deny said that the workshop with RAD Strategies was scheduled for April 17th at the VC Conference Center.
The Liquid Blue update showed the numbers for the Father-Daughter Day dance and it was a great success with 339 Total Attendees of which were 154 Fathers and 185 were Daughters. They will keep to the two dance schedule and are looking at adding a Mother-Son dance next year. It was noted that the dace didn’t just bring in fathers and daughters. That the whole family comes into town and that the mothers want to go WITH the fathers to the dance so they have to be kept busy while the dance is going on. A good problem to have.
It was also announced that there will be a street dance after the rodeo on C street.
Commissioner and Board member Lance Gilman announced that the lease on his property on C street, formerly the Mustang Cafe, has been signed and that there will be a new restaurant opening there soon.
There was no one there to present for the “Merchant Coalition” portion of the agenda so I made a few brief comments since I had attended that meeting. The first comment was relating to how to answer the question “ what is there to do in VC”? The lodging establishments get this question a lot and altho they may be able to direct their visitors to some of the attractions and activities they said that they needed some sort of collateral piece to hand out that had everything in it. Both the RV park and Sugarloaf operators had this comment as well as a couple of other merchants.
Katie Demuth said that visitors should be sent to the Visitors Center and they will help guide them there. She also said that the VCTC website has a lot of this information in it and that they can also be pointed there to get that question answered. She also noted that the Facebook Merchants page was established to help merchants to get the word out on what they do and what they have available and that it is also a source of information. But…it is only as good as the information that the merchants put on it.
Katie said that she would post something on the merchant Facebook page which can be printed if the merchants want to do that.
There was a bit of discussion about prior efforts to get the merchants up to speed about all that the town offers. The VCTC organized an information tour day a couple of years ago and it was very lightly attended. If the merchants want to be more helpful to their visitors they need to attend the educational tours. Maybe it is time to do another one
I also passed on the comments about the merchants not knowing when buses come in. Especially the ones who come in early and visitors complain that there is nothing open. Katie said that when she knows that they are coming in she posts it on the merchants Facebook page but that the busses are not required to tell anyone that they are coming up. Katie said that she has done quite a bit of outreach to the tour operators she knows about giving notice but that she doesn’t always know herself. She said that some of the buses only come up for a short time for photo ops as opposed to a full visit.
She also noted that she would like to have a set of “standing coupons” from merchants to be able to hand out to the groups when they do come in. She said that she will be contacting the merchants about this in the future.
The Pipers update was great as always. The venue has been booking weddings right thru the winter…a first I think. They are also pulling in more revenue than ever. Not a breakeven point but on the right path.
Deny mentioned that Pipers will be entering into a Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU) with the County. To the extent that the County owns the building and the VCTC is funding the salaries of the managers for Pipers as well as other expenses, it is time to formalize the relationship between the County/VCTC and the non-profit Board of Directors which oversees the activities. This type of relationship isn’t new. The Senior Centers have a similar MOU and agreement with the County and it works well.
The topic of the sale of the Crystal Bar and the building of a new Visitor Center on the Black and Howell site came up and Deny said that this topic will get agendized at a future meeting so that the merchants and the public can have the opportunity to ask questions about the plan. E said that there was some Facebook discussion on this and he said that it would be discussed in detail at a future meeting so keep an eye out for this.
Under Financial Reports the Tourism Tax is less than last year by about $25k but this is due to an accounting move on last years number at the time. It’s an anomaly. The Lodging Tax is higher than last year by about $126k. The TRI lodging is 81% of the total revenues and there is more in the pipeline to be built.
Lance also announced that in addition to the three lodging properties in the pipeline that there will be a 2 RV parks at TRI which will also generate revenues in the future.
There was a brief discussion on the local economy. VCTC Board Chair Corrado DeGasparis noted that he sees a recession coming in the next 18 months or so but due to the big tech players out at TRI and their involvement in the ever expanding high tech and cloud computing markets that Northern Nevada will be able to grow their way thru it. He said that he couldn’t say what will happen in 4-5 years tho.
Corrado also noted that CMI is doing some development along 50 and that they are losing businesses due to the lack of infrastructure and housing. Lance agreed that in order to continue to fuel the unprecedented business expansion in the region that housing is an issue.
SIDENOTE- Yes, lets just asphalt and concrete the entire Washoe and Dayton Valleys so we look like California. I read something from a Washoe Commissioner a couple of weeks ago who said that there are 100,000 units in the pipeline in Washoe approved and not yet built. ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITS. Let that sink in for a minute.
But I digress…
-VC Fairgrounds Purchase
-Black & Howell Demolition
-Fiesta De Charro & Hot August Nights
-Pipers Opera House Cemetery Gin
-New Website & Mobil App
Under New for 2020:
-Fairgrounds & Arena Development
-Crystal Bar Appraisal – Potential Sale
-New Visitor Center Construction (Black & Howell)
-Christmas On The Comstock (Town Lights)
-Pipers Opera House MOU
-Additional $ 75,000 for “General” Marketing
Revenues for 2020 are $1.567 Million compared to 2019 Revenues of $1.534 Million…2020 is $ 33k higher than 2019.
Expenses for 2020 are $1.536 Million compared to 2019 Expenses of $1,434 Million ….2020 is $ 102k higher than 2019.
In looking at the expense differences between the two budgets the major items are $75k in additional advertising/marketing (and a bit more merchant focus), the continued build-out of the fairgrounds and the assumption that the Crystal Bar will get sold and that the VCTC will lease it back while the new Visitors Center gets built. They have also doubled the Docent expenses to $7000 to accommodate their increased involvement.
Liquid Blue retainer is unchanged from last year at $28k and RAD Strategies is also flat at $45k. There is about $15k in there for other professional services likely relating to the Visitor Center rebuild.
The revenues are expected to continue to go up with the full occupancy of the existing lodging at TRI and with the build out of the three properties in the pipeline.