Grassroots campaign rebrands to put businesses first
Dave Asher started the Buy Local Reno-Sparks campaign in 2010, aiming to promote local businesses with roots in Nevada and directing consumers to shop at these businesses.
However, Asher felt the movement was misrepresenting its original intention. Too many companies had become associated with the movement had offices or locations in the area, but had headquarters in other states. Asher was adamant about tailoring the organization strictly to represent those companies with roots in Nevada, even those who have grown to other locations.
Asher ultimately rebranded “Buy Local” as the “Nevada Based Business Network” to reflect the organization’s mission. As a part of the rebranding, he is also rolling out campaigns to assist the networks’ businesses.
He is promoting business-to-business networking breakfasts at Jack’s Café, promotion of the new website and phone app, working with the governor’s office to promote smaller companies for contracts with the state government, as well as the expansion of the Nevada First Gift Shop in Reno Town Mall.
The gift shop, which opened in October 2014, is adding 20,000 square feet to its existing 4,000 square feet of space at the mall, which is in the process of a major renovation project. The gift shop sells products from Nevada-based businesses, including jewelry, books, food and clothing.
Asher hopes to see the movement grow throughout the state and additional gift shops opening in Carson City, Fallon, Elko and even Las Vegas.
Another tool Asher is using to generate more buzz is the Nevada Business Directory, including a free listing on the website, http://www.BuyNevadaFirst.com, along with a new phone app. The site and app offer resources such as registering a Nevada business for the directory and advantages such as online business recommendations.
“It’s the only campaign in the country that offers free listings for every Nevada business,” Asher said.
Other member benefits include a call center operating five days a week that assists businesses with promoting their product or other questions. The call center will also contact a member business if there has been no interaction for at least 90 days.
A software package program is available to assist members with questions such as social media.
“Its hard for a lot of these mom and pop businesses to get found on Google or smartphones,” Asher said. “These mom and pops need all the help they can get. We want to help them get noticed.”
Asher has added Joshua Shelton as a membership director to visit every Nevada-based business in the state to promote the Nevada Based Business Network and the Nevada Business Directory. Asher admits its an undertaking and estimates will take 3-5 years to accomplish.
“In Nevada, we’re hoping for 10 percent shift in our GDP (gross domestic product),” Asher said. “We have $350 million circulating in our state. We’re spending the money anyway, why not shift those dollars from the chain stores to local shops? Let’s keep Nevada’s economy on the mend.”