Tahoe Donner Hires Brinn Talbot

Tahoe Donner has hired Brinn Talbot as its new director of marketing and member services.

Talbot comes to Tahoe Donner with years of marketing and public relations experience. Before joining the Tahoe Donner team, Talbot directed all aspects of her own business, Switchback Public Relations + Marketing, Inc., which she started in 1999. In 2009, the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce awarded Talbot’s company “Best Small Business of the Year” and she has worked with clients such as Ski Lake Tahoe, Red Bull Snowthrill of Alaska, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Reno-Sparks Visitors Convention Bureau, and the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce. Switchback will continue with Talbot as the owner but her staff will be running the day-to-day operations.


Talbot owns and organizes the annual Downtown Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop, which is in its ninth year and brings more than 1,000 people downtown annually. In 2005 she was awarded the Gold Spike award by the Public Relations Society of America, which recognizes individuals who utilize their superior professional skills to better the social and economic well being of the community. Talbot also served as the president of Rotary Club of Truckee in 2010-2011.

As director of marketing and member services Talbot will be responsible for leading the development of strategic marketing campaigns, sales, public relations, communications, and member services activities for Tahoe Donner. Info: tahoedonner.com

JoJo Toeppner Hired as Royal Gorge General Manager

JoJo Toeppner, a veteran of cross-country ski instruction and resort management, has been hired by Sugar Bowl Resort to oversee the operation of Royal Gorge, the largest cross-country ski resort in the U.S.

Sugar Bowl Resort will operate Royal Gorge under an agreement with the Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land. The two conservation groups have agreed to purchase the iconic Donner Summit property after the previous owners defaulted on their loan.

Toeppner comes to Royal Gorge from Tahoe Donner Cross Country, where she worked for 20 years as an instructor, assistant manager, and manager. Toeppner has 31 years of experience in the Tahoe cross-country ski world, having also spent 11 years at Tahoe Nordic in Tahoe City (now called Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area).

Toeppner is an accomplished athlete, having won 10 championships as an outrigger canoe paddler and competed as a member of the U.S. World team for flatwater kayak sprints. After years of competing on the water, Toeppner moved to Tahoe and embraced the joys and aerobic challenges of cross-country skiing.

Toeppner said she will focus on impeccable cross-county ski trail grooming, excellent instruction, and attentive customer service at Royal Gorge.

“I am assembling a team that will bring Royal Gorge back to what it once was — one of North America’s most iconic cross-country ski areas,” said Toeppner “We will work hard to deliver a cross-country ski experience that everyone can enjoy.”

Toeppner will have two additional Bison grooming machines at her disposal this season, as Sugar Bowl Resort has invested more than $500,000 into upgrades at the cross-country ski resort, including changes to the resort’s lodge, Summit Station. Info: sugarbowl.com, royalgorge.com

InnerRhythms Introduces MiniMusic Classes

InnerRhythms Dance Centre now offers MiniMusic classes for students 3 to 4 years old with instructor Stephanie McMullin.

MiniMusic teaches the building blocks of music including rhythm, music concepts, terminology, and basic melody while creating a fun environment for students to sing and dance. Children will learn about music and dances from other countries in addition to getting instruction on playing with various instruments.

Stephanie McMullin has been teaching since 2008, and her experience includes working privately with voice students, group music classes with young children, and choreography for local productions. Stephanie studied at the University of Nevada, Reno for a music education degree focused on vocal performance and technique. Stephanie has been a local performer for nearly 11 years. All classes are held at InnerRhythms studios. Info: 12047 Donner Pass Rd, in Truckee, info@innerrhythms.org, (530) 550.8464

Chase Names Daniels Its New West Shore Manager

Chase International has appointed Jacqueline Daniels as the new regional sales manager of its West Shore offices. Daniels, who has been working as a broker associate in the Tahoe City office, will now oversee brokerage operations in the Truckee, Squaw Valley, and Tahoe City offices.

Prior to joining Chase International, Daniels was a regional sales manager at Procter & Gamble in the Bay Area and a business development manager at L’Oreal. Her philosophy as a broker is derived from her enthusiasm and consideration for her clients’ needs. Daniels’ availability and attention to her clients, as well her proficiency in Internet marketing and social media, have provided a high level of service to her clients.

“Jacque has a solid background in sales, great leadership skills, and a passion for her clients and the industry,” said Craig King, chief operating officer of Chase International.

Daniels graduated from Oregon State University and began her career in real estate in Portland before moving to San Francisco 1998. She lived in Tahoe City on a part-time basis for several years before moving there permanently in 2008. Info: (866) 470-8663, chaseinternational.com

Reno to Host Startup Weekend for Entrepreneurs

Startup Weekend, a national grassroots business-launching event, is coming to Reno for the first time on Feb. 22-24. Startup Weekend Reno will connect local entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and startup enthusiasts with mentors and resources for a weekend of sharing ideas, forming teams, and launching startups.

“Northern Nevada has a lot of talented entrepreneurs and this fast-paced startup proving-ground will help to propel them to action,” said Walt Borland, president and CEO of Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization, which has partnered with Startup Weekend to bring the event to Reno. “It’s exciting to see the dynamics when we bring together entrepreneurs, mentors, and supporters. Startup Weekends are full of energy and creativity all focused around a model of ‘build and test as you go.’”

On Friday night, attendees pitch their ideas in 60 seconds or less. The remainder of the weekend is spent in groups formulating the most popular ideas — often web and mobile applications — with the help of mentors and seasoned startup entrepreneurs. The weekend is a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. It culminates with presentations in front of entrepreneurial thought-leaders, bankers, venture capitalists, and marketing and sales gurus, who provide critical feedback.

Software developers and designers as well as individuals with business skills (i.e., marketing, PR, graphic design) are encouraged to sign up for Startup Weekend. Registration is open to everyone, though spots are limited to ensure a great experience. Info: reno@startupweekend.org, swreno.org, @SWReno on Twitter,  

North Tahoe Luxury Home Sales Jump 21 Percent

Luxury home sales in the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas jumped 21 percent in the third quarter of 2012, according to a new report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. The figures were derived from Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold in the region for more than $1 million during the most recent quarter.

A total of 41 homes sold for more than $1 million during the July-September period, up from 34 high-end sales during the same period last year. The upper end of the luxury market showed particular strength with 15 sales above $2 million from July through September.

Some other key findings from the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage luxury report for the latest quarter include:

• The most expensive sale in the Tahoe-Truckee region was a four-bedroom, five-bath West Shore home that sold for $4.6 million

• The Truckee area boasted the most million-dollar sales with 23, followed by the North Shore with 10 and the West Shore with eight

• Homes sold in an average of 198 days on the market compared to 166 days a year ago and 75 days the previous quarter

• Sellers received an average of 92 percent of their asking price, the same as a year ago but down from 95 percent the previous quarter. Info: californiamoves.com

O’Reilly Auto Parts to Open in Truckee

After almost two years of discussions and negotiations, a new 7,000-square-foot O’Reilly Auto Parts store will open in the Truckee Crossroads shopping center adjacent to Porters Tahoe Sports in early 2013.

To create space large enough to accommodate the new business, Subway and H & R Block are being relocated to other open spaces, according to commercial real estate broker James T. Macdonnell of Main Street Commercial Real Estate. The shopping center, which also includes the Save Mart grocery store, will also receive new parking lot pavement, curbs, and walkways prior to the O’Reilly Auto Parts opening.

“After studying the amount of local dollars spent on auto related purchases, I contacted O’Reilly’s corporate office two years ago about opening a store in Truckee,” said Macdonell. “After studying their internal customers’ zip code and purchase data, they agreed that a substantial number of Tahoe Truckee residents and business owners were driving to their stores in Reno or Carson to shop.”

O’Reilly Automotive, with more than 6,800 stores nationwide, is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment, and accessories in the United States, serving both professional service providers and do-it-yourself customers.

“The store will create more than 40 new local jobs and will retain automotive purchases, sales tax, and dollars in the local Truckee-Tahoe economy,” said Macdonell, who represents several area shopping centers. Info: mainstreet-commercial.com

Tahoe Music Institute Announces Fall Lineup

Tahoe Music Institute announced its 2012 fall schedule, including new jazz improvisation and youth choir classes in addition to group and private lessons. The local company accepts musicians of all ages, creating small ensembles lead by knowledgeable instructors.
Whether developing vocal skills, learning to improv, or diving into a new musical style or theory, Tahoe Music Institute students get the most out of their learning with performance-based instruction, which builds confidence and exposes students to ideas outside of the typical music lesson norm. Institute musicians and instructors have performed at events around Lake Tahoe ranging from holiday tree lightings to improv jazz concerts in the park. Tahoe Music Institute founder and executive director Shauna Righellis takes a proactive approach to inspiring her students.

“My goal is to create a school of music, not just teach lessons,” she said.

Righellis, who launched Tahoe Music Institute in 2010, holds both a bachelors and masters degree in music education and is a board member of the California Music Educators Association. After teaching music in local public schools as well as adult lessons, she channeled her craft into creating the institute. Info: (530) 581-0618, tahoemusicinstitute.com

Lake Tahoe Book Offers Holiday Pricing

“Lake Tahoe: A Fragile Beauty,” a book of fine art contemporary landscape photography, will be offering a quantity discount this holiday season. The best-selling book on Lake Tahoe is being offered at $12 for a single case (14 books) and at $8 for larger quantities to allow local retailers to compete with online discounters on price.

“Lake Tahoe: A Fragile Beauty” includes an introduction by preeminent Tahoe research scientist Dr. Charles Goldman, a poem by former U.S. Poet Laureate and 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass, and historical content by literary icon Mark Twain and 19th century photographer Carleton Watkins. Info: thomasbachand.com/tahoe


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