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BUSINESS BRIEFS | June 10 - July 14, 2016

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New Mountain Biking Skills Program


Dylan Renn, a former head coach for Betterride, one of the top mountain biking programs in the U.S., is branching off to start a new skills program called A Singletrack Mind. Clinics — many of them in Tahoe/Truckee, as well as around the state — range from private to group to team, from downhill/gravity to skill-specific, from core fundamentals to women-only, and more. Renn’s coaching has been featured in Wired,, Dirt Rag, and others. Having conducted camps with Greg Minaar, the Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup Champion, Renn brings training with passion, 15 years of racing experience, and 3,000 hours of coaching to the table. Info:

JMA Acquires Homewood High & Dry Marina


Homewood High & Dry Marina was recently acquired by a JMA Ventures investment affiliate and Somera Capital Management. The move serves to create an integrated, year-round, peak-to-shore experience for visitors to Lake Tahoe’s West Shore offered by the marina, Homewood Mountain Resort, and West Shore Cafe. New and enhanced services resulting from this acquisition will start this summer. Long-time marina owner David Topol will remain responsible for day-to-day management as the marina director of operations. Info:

Squaw Embarks on First Ever Chinese-American Ski Resort Partnership


Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows announced May 27 a broad strategic alliance with China’s Genting Secret Garden Resort, located in the Dama Mountains northwest of Beijing, slated to host the freestyle and snowboarding events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The Genting partnership will include privileges for season pass holders, including five free days of skiing and exclusive discounts at the other resort plus cross-training of staff and management exchanges. Squaw/Alpine plans to create Chinese language signage and marketing materials, train staff on how to best cater to Chinese guests, and design specialized dining and amenities options geared toward the Chinese consumer. The resort also has plans to roll out a more robust Chinese language website.

According to the China Ski Association, the number of skiers in China has gone from about 200,000 in the year 2000 to about 12.5 million in 2015. California is currently the top U.S. destination for Chinese travelers, who spent $2.5 billion in the state in 2015.

Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program to Come Again


The first Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program in Truckee was completed in March, with 19 people participating in 12 hours of instruction over five workshop sessions, all free of cost. Taught by local artist Krista Tranquilla, the program covered topics such as photography, product descriptions, search engine optimization, and more. One participant reported:

“I had my Etsy shop open for a few years. It took a few years of failing and accomplishments to understand just the basics of Etsy. This class has taught me all the missing pieces and helped me refine my shop.”

The program, spearheaded by Sierra Business Council and the Sierra Small Business Development Center with funding provided by the Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund, is slated to happen again in the summer or fall. Organizers are also considering a bilingual or Spanish-led program. Info: Jessica Perry Carr,

Artist Loft Highlights Tahoe Art


Incline Village Visitors Center launched the Artist Loft in early June. Creators and artists Rob Retting, Monika Piper Johnson, and June Towill Brown feature Lake Tahoe from the disciplines of oil paintings, photography, and bronze sculpture. Info: 969 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village,


Startup Proposes Fundraising People’s Time, Not Money


Nevada-county based startup Take2 is a mashup between and Kickstarter, where people pledge minutes rather than money to campaigns. Backers choose from a menu of actions that fit their skills, desire, and available time. “The idea is that someone may be uninspired to spend even a minute on a petition to save the whales if they’re pretty sure it won’t work, whereas they would gladly devote half a day of their time and skills to it if they thought it would,” co-founder Kipchoge Spencer said. The company hopes to drive voter participation through Take2, with their sights set on impacting Measure W on the June 7 ballot. Info:

New Small-Batch Winery Opens Up


Illanta Wines (pronounced ‘Yahn-Ta’), a new, boutique wine brand based in North Lake Tahoe, officially launched for business this spring with the debut of their first vintage. Co-founded by Jessica Stanley and Allison Yonto, the company is a member of 1% for the Planet and will donate to the nonprofit Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships. A June 17 release party will be at Uncorked in Tahoe City from 6 to 8 p.m. Info:

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February 14, 2019