Many small businesses in rural Nevada are changing how they operate as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. In Gardnerville, several small businesses are grappling with these challenges.
Small businesses are an important part of Gardnerville’s economy and each one is unique. Some are even as small as one person. Alycia Tanner is the owner of This & That Marketplace, which is a retail location that hosts many small businesses selling a variety of home goods, along with refurbished furniture and other items. Her storefront now faces problems without foot traffic.
“Our sales are way low,” said Tanner. “We are missing the opportunity to gain new customers. It’s hurt us a lot. My business is based on not just me. It’s based on 80 other businesses inside. So having to close our doors has affected not only my business but the business of 80 other people.”
In order to keep operating, Tanner has now had to move online, which has its own difficulties.
“It was adding more products to our online store, which has been very time consuming. As you can imagine, we have a huge store with 80 plus merchants and to have all of that stuff on there is very time consuming. So it's been a very slow process to get that up and running and it’s not done by any means.”
Meredith Fischer has also moved online. She is the owner of Eddy Street Vintage Market, which is a pop-up shop with themes that change every month.
“The longer this goes the more vacancies we are going to see in our downtown because they’re not going to be able to survive this,” said Fischer. “I think a lot of businesses live paycheck to paycheck and 30 days is one thing, but 60 days or 90 days starts to get really tricky for businesses to sustain that.”
The Main Street Gardnerville District is comprised of 80 businesses that operate as sponsors, and Fischer said they all rely on each other’s success to thrive.
“As a district, from a main street perspective, it’s so much better if we have a concentration of businesses. So we don’t want to see anybody go out," Fischer explained. "We’re hoping that everybody will be able to kind of weather the storm and then come out of this stronger.”
Along with looking out for neighboring businesses, owners also have their own employees to think about.
“I really feel awful for all of our staff,” said Lindsey Torres, the media manager at Carson Valley Dental Arts in Gardnerville. “I wish we could keep them getting paid and them working as much as they need to without cutting anything back.”
Her husband, Matthew Torres, owns the practice, which has opened its doors less than eight months ago. Currently it is still open because some of its procedures are considered essential.
“All the business owners know that the future is going to be a little bit different and we’re not afraid to modify what we do in order to operate,” said Matthew Torres. “We just want to operate and be able to do the things we want to do.”
For now, these small businesses are doing their best to overcome the obstacles in front of them.
Jayden Perez is a junior studying at the Reynolds School of Journalism.
Editor's note: The visual used in this story was misattributed when originally published. It has been updated to reflect the correct attribution on April 14 at 10:37 a.m.