New directors take over at Chamber, CEDA
Two new directors have come on to help the community at the Fallon Chamber of Commerce and the Churchill Economic Development Authority.
Nathan Strong became the new director at CEDA at the start of April and Lucy Carnahan for the chamber in mid-March.
Strong has been part of the Fallon community for 20 years. He originally took over directorship of CEDA as an interim position, having worked with the previous director and being recommended as a replacement.
Carnahan came to Fallon 30 years ago, first working with the chamber to create the community resource page; she became an interim director when Natalie Parish stepped down and was later offered the full position.
Strong said part of his long-term plan is to revitalize downtown Fallon and promote doing business there. He said the historic location and major traffic corridor make it a good place for businesses. Carnahan said this is an ongoing project of the chamber as well and noted there was already progress.
“There were at times many empty buildings down there, and now there’s only a few,” she said. “Keeping that full and revitalized … to keep those businesses happy and revitalized is huge.”
Carnahan said her main goal with the chamber is to keep the business growth in the community and keep people happy with the types of businesses offered. The chamber is also working to grow the business community in a sustainable way.
“Not only for the Chamber,” she said of the membership drives. “For some of our local nonprofits, we’re working closely with them as well to hopefully bring up memberships for all our community entities.”
Carnahan said she also wants to come up with grants for the chamber and community. She said one of her long-term goals is to foster the city’s growth, but also keep the small-town feel and closeness of the community.
“It’s all about keeping our members and our community happy,” she said.
CEDA also hopes to promote legacy businesses. Strong said these are businesses that have been in the area for a long time and change hands rather than closing when a proprietor retires — he said Country Health is a good example of this, where the original owner was ready to retire and someone younger went through the process to take things over.
“Those customers continue to be served by a business,” he said. “Country Health was here, Country Health is still here.”
Strong said, going forward, he hopes to increase rural development in Hazen and attract more business to the area — he said the cheaper initial costs could help bring people in before the area becomes more expensive to operate in. He added the assets of the area, railroad access and being located close to Interstate 80 as well as Highways 50 and 95, would be big selling points for some businesses.
“That’s our mission here, we attract, retain and develop,” Strong said. “If you aren’t here, I want to bring you in; if you are, I want to help you stay and develop.”
He said one of his long-term goals is to build up Fallon’s presence as the Highway 95 gateway. He said the goal was for people to look at Fallon and know where to go for help becoming established if they want to do business in the area.
“We’re at that strategic location for that group,” he said of the counties along I-80, Highway 95 and 50. “I think CEDA will definitely be the driver for that, economically speaking.”
Fallon’s proximity to the Tahoe/Reno Industrial Center is also a selling point Strong wants to use to bring people to the area. He said people would move to Fallon due to the commute to and from work.
Neither director has expressed plans to change much in how either group operates. Carnahan said Parish did a great job as director and she hopes to keep things running along a similar line.
Both organizations will be working closely together and there are several projects they are coordinating on for the community. They also work closely with the Downtown Merchants Association to bring in new businesses and improve or support the existing ones.