New taxi tops, new look for Reno
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Reno and Sparks will soon see new signage on some of its taxis. The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) has launched a marketing campaign in an effort to make the region more appealing to potential businesses.
Mike Kazmierski, who's the CEO of EDAWN, says the vast majority of Reno's economy is driven by industries that are not associated with gaming or gentlemen's clubs. But when visitors step out of the airport and look for a taxi, they would never know that.
"Our history is that we've been a visitor destination for decades. And that's wonderful, but, in that process, parts of that industry have pretty much cornered the market."
Of course, Kazmierski is talking about Reno's ubiquitous taxi tops, which display ads for the Mustang Ranch and other establishments that many people say do not give a wholesome image of the region. He says that's certainly the case for some business leaders who are considering relocating here.
In an effort to change that narrative, EDAWN has bought up space on more than 60 Whittlesea Checker cabs. At this point, about 75 percent are filled with ads from other kinds of businesses. Those companies include candy manufacturer Kimmie Candy Co. and Understand.com.
Kazmierski says traditionally it has been easy for taxi companies to sign one contract and fill up all their advertising space. He says many businesses never saw it as a feasible advertising option for them.
"People basically say that's something I've been meaning to do and you've given us the opportunity to access that advertising space."
Because EDAWN is a non-profit, it was able to buy up space and offer it to businesses, which can then make tax deductible contributions. He says right now the scope of the taxi campaign is limited to this first batch, but he hopes it could jump start a bigger movement in the business community.