Nicole Barde

You can find the agenda HERE and the entire Board packet HERE.

During Special Events updates Liquid Blue reported that the Oyster Fry was a raging success. Huge crowds, sales for T-Shirts, tasting kits and bar crawl tickets were all up over prior years. Having it in concert with St. Paddy’s Day was a boost as was the weather. Overall, the Expenses came in on budget at $40.5k but Revenues came in significantly over budget at $64.1k versus a budget of $48.4k resulting in a $23.7k surplus. VCTC nets $3.5k of that and Liquid Blue’s contract calls for 85% commission on any surplus so they received $20k for their work in putting on the Oyster Fry this year. In years with no surplus, they get no commission on the event.

The Chili Fest is set to go for May 18 and 19. As of the meeting, there were 7 fewer vendors scheduled for C street and there were 4 outside food vendors. There look to be about 12-13 competitors and there may be more the closer we get to the event.

The promoters of the Grand Prix were there to give an update on how the event went. The event is in its 48th year and there has been a turnover in the Board of Directors and Officers. They said that they are committed to bringing the focus, and the people, back into the town as opposed to having the event at the fairgrounds. They had new classes of competition this years to include families, they expanded their news coverage and were focused on bringing in spectators instead of more riders….they have enough riders ( 900 this year) …now they want to enhance the town and that’s why they had the event thru C Street.

They said that they have invested in this shift to attracting more spectators by making the race more of a festival for race enthusiasts and non-racers alike. To that end, they want to expand the appeal and will be doing much more promotion for next years race.

Board Member Angelo Petrini asked how the merchants like it since it went right thru town. VCTC Director Deny Dotson said that no one seemed upset at the efforts to bring more people into town but that the reality was different. Logistics were an issue. He said that they had to make adjustments in real time as they found issues.

Merchant comments about the event highlighted that, again, the activity was centered around the Bucket in the center of town. The fencing made it impossible for people to get to the north side on both sides of the street, people had no place to park for the event during the day or at night due to the roadblocks and that cost merchants not in the center of town like The Silver Stope, Bonanza, Roasting Company and even the Red Dog a lot of money in lost sales. The Silver Queen reported several cancellations due to the lack of parking and access.

Merchant Judy Cohen said she supports the event. That altho the merchants appreciate the attempt to get people into town and stay there that the planners need to expand the free flow of people to the entire street. The activity and food vendors were in the center of town so people didn’t leave that area.

The promoters seemed to listen and understand the issues. They noted that they had gone to every merchant to ask if they wanted to be included in the event packet given out to the 900 riders and that few merchants took them up on it.

Board member Lance Gilman suggested that prior to the next event that the VCTC, the promoters, and VCTC get together with the merchants to work out the bugs. Sam Toll, Community Coalition representative for this meeting also said that coming to the Coalition meetings prior to the event to discuss logistics would be helpful.

SIDENOTE– Lance is RIGHT and I simply don’t understand what is wrong with VCTC that they don’t include the merchants in the planning of these events far enough ahead so it will make a difference. This was one of the first requests made one year ago by the merchants when they had the uprising calling for Deny’s head at the cancellation of the Hill Climb.

I got feedback that the Christmas on the Comstock “planning” session recently held was mostly Deny telling the participants what he has already decided to do…if true. …that is not inclusion or collaboration.

The issues are the same and never seem to get fixed. Having all of the activity in the center of town has ALWAYS been a problem for the north and south side merchants……what is so difficult in remembering that? Vendors or fencing blocking boardwalk/merchant access has been a problem as well. Why do that same problems keep happening? If the VCTC calls for a planning session and no merchants show up….then shame on the merchants….but VCTC is still aware of the age old issues and should fix them.

Bottom line the Grand Prix seems to have cost some merchants a lot of money….the event affected THEIR bottom line$…..they have GOT to have input into events in order to protect their livelihoods.

Next up was a discussion of Memorial Day activities. As always there will be a parade on Saturday and this year Doc Durden will be having his Wild West Music Fest at the fairgrounds over the weekend. Lots of music including the Comstock Cowboys, re-enactors, and demonstrations.

SIDENOTE– I am happy to see locally produced events happening in VC. The VCTC has committed to help local events promote their events on their media platforms and it has been done for this one on the calendar and website. Doc is such an asset to the town and this is a great idea. Fingers crossed for Doc!

The Reno Tahoe Odyssey is coming up in June and there are around 3000 runners. Deny announced that there is an error on the event cards with the date for Street Vibrations. The card says June1/2 but it is for June 7th and 8th.

The Resolution asking that the Board of County Commissioners of Storey County provide for the sale of the Crystal Bar for the purpose of raising funds for the construction of new facilities for the VCTC was passed. Someone noted that the appraised value came in at around $ 380k. It is the intent of the VCTC to do a leaseback of the Crystal until the new building is built.

Merchant Judy Cohen made a request to see all of the financials associated with the sale and leaseback of the Crystal.

Financials showed that the Tourism Tax is $13k higher than last year and that puts it about $11k over the budget for the year. GREAT! The transient Lodging Tax is $18k over last year for the month of April and $ 124k over last year over year to date with TRIC being 70% of the total.

The Marketing update highlighted that the promotional activity in the region reaches to Lake Tahoe and that RAD is planning radio and TV spots to promote the town. The TV spots will run in-room at the nearly 23,000 rooms available at the lake in addition to broadcast spots. RAD also said that they are increasing the promotional activities to the Spanish speaking community statewide in spanish.

The Below the Surface Videos are scheduled for a revamp. This series will focus on performing arts and is scheduled for release in the late summer.

SIDENOTE– I am happy to see SOMETHING that will focus on our Arts and Performing Arts community. One of the things that the merchants have been requesting of VCTC and RAD Strategies has been to expand the image that is being promoted from being just an event-driven party town to encompass the totality of what VC is ….which is its history. Showing Mining history and its impact on the world ( we were the silicon valley of the time) and performing arts history ( Pipers rivaled San Francisco). Hopefully, the beauty and richness of the original set of videos carries thru to this second set.

Katie Demuth gave the Groups update and noted that the new Adventure Passes are in. The season has started and she will let folks know about the tour buses when she knows them.

The Pipers update was great. They continue to generate revenue, they are packing the house with a diversity of performances and the tours are increasing.

Sam Toll was there to represent the Community Collation and noted that they have recruited about 65% of the merchants to the coalition…each pays a full dollar to join! He said that the Coalition wants to encourage people to participate in the events. He gave a brief update on the Ferrari Hill Climb by saying that they want to make it a longer event beyond just the race. They have reached out to the Comstock Car Club and they plan to have a car show in town and in the Delta parking lot as well as other activities TBD.

The topic of the Merchants Facebook page came up. Deny said that the Merchant page was set up by VCTC in order to be able to get information out to the merchants and for merchants to get information out to each other. He said that it was not for politics, slandering, debates or problem resolution. He has had to shut down a couple of people who were using the platform as a debate and he wants to reiterate that altho he wants to have conversations with people that they need to call him or come to the VCTC meeting to do that and please not use the Facebook page to do it.

SIDENOTE– I agree that if the Merchants page is a VCTC Facebook “property” then the VCTC makes the rules of engagement on that page. However, they may want to spell those rules out in more detail so that people understand them. Meaning that if the VCTC asks for any type of feedback on that page….that may lead to debate behavior. If they ask for suggestions….it may turn into problem-solving behavior. I’m not saying that they DO this….. but they need to not engage in activities that can be misread ….that then wanders into the “no” zone.

If they intend the page to be a one-way communication from VCTC to the merchants…then they need to say that. If it is…. or is NOT a venue for merchants to talk to each other or a venue for discussion about what is happening during or after an event that affected the merchants….then they need to say that.

I saw a discussion about the sale of the Crystal Bar shut down on Judy Cohen and a question and comment about the food trucks by Richard Oates shut down. So I think that a little more clarity as to how to use the board may be in order.

MEANWHILE……I can tell you that the Community Coalition Facebook page HERE is open for everyone and you can talk, debate, discuss and problem solve all you want since it is a community-based page

During Board comments Board member Lance Gilman noted that there was a major event held at the Atlantis this week by the Nevada Independent. The speakers were a few of the leading companies in Northern Nevada. Lance said that it was announced there that “ Storey County is the epicenter of Northern Nevada’s economy and market” separate and apart from Reno/Sparks. Lance also announced that the Mustang restaurant has been leased and that fellow Board member Angelo Petrini introduced him to the lessee. The person had/has a restaurant in Dayton which is successful and he looks forward to the same success in VC.

Lastly, he presented the VCTC with a $12,500 check for them to use as they see fit. He does this every year and the VCTC has used the funds for a number of things including the fireworks for the 4th of July.

Thanks Lance!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *