A group of 50 community leaders recently gathered for a Truckee Tomorrow meeting to discuss economic development strategies. The meeting was facilitated by Ryan Sharp, Director of the Center for Strategic Economic Research (CSER), an economic research and consulting group. CSER is affiliated with SACTO (Sacramento Area Commerce & Trade Organization) a widely respected non-profit and the leading facilitator of economic development for the Sacramento region, of which Truckee Tomorrow is a member.

Participants were guided through a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to identify key opportunities and challenges for economic development in Truckee. Results of the group exercise identified:


•  Top strength to leverage was proximity to outdoor recreational opportunities.

•  Top weakness to be aware of was cost of living and misalignment with wage structure.

•  Access to Sacramento, Reno, and San Francisco Bay Area market for visitors, services, and workforce is a key opportunity.

•  The perception of anti-business and anti-growth is a threat that should be mitigated.

The group was presented four economic strategies to discuss and prioritize. The top two economic development strategies selected include place marketing and branding campaign for Truckee spanning talent, tourism, and business; and the creation of a local community/economic development corporation to facilitate real estate development and manage economic development programs and services.

Place branding is the process of image communication to a target market with the purpose of turning a city or town from a location into a destination. Successful branding can turn a city or town into a place where people want to live, work and visit. Participants were shown an example of Golden, British Columbia (

“Since its inception, we believe Truckee Tomorrow has created a foundation, established relationships, and provided a context for economic development-related activities and discussion,” said Robb Etnyre, Chair of the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “While many businesses and organizations are involved and contribute daily toward economic development, the missing element has been the lack of dedicated resources and commitment to the vision of a cohesive, community-wide effort.”

Based on input from the meeting, CSER will be producing an Action Plan that will provide the community with a clear plan to implementing the identified strategies. It is anticipated that CSER will have a draft Action Plan by the end of March.

Truckee Tomorrow is a collaborative economic development initiative in partnership with the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, Town of Truckee, Truckee Downtown Merchants Association, and Nevada County. The current phase of Truckee Tomorrow, including the work being done by CSER, is being funded by Nevada County.

The Truckee Tomorrow initiative began in November of 2010 with a series of four facilitated community meetings to begin the dialogue of working together as a region to identify economic opportunities, challenges, and projects. At that time, the participants identified four priority areas to focus economic development efforts including: downtown Truckee improvements; enhanced marketing of Truckee; business retention and recruitment; and transportation.

A core group of leaders have continued to move economic development activity forward including: monthly business retention meetings; ongoing partnerships with organizations that provide technical assistance such as SBDC and One-Stop Business & Career Center; downtown Truckee parking district changes, branding campaign, and public outreach; over $3.8 million invested in downtown improvements in 2010 and 2011, made through public-private partnerships and with redevelopment funds, that enhance the pedestrian and parking experience in downtown Truckee; ongoing dialogue and involvement in regional events such as the upcoming Ironman Lake Tahoe event this September; downtown Truckee events such as Truckee Thursdays produced by the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association; and the development and eventual launch by TNT-TMA (Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association) of the Free Ski Shuttle Program.

Info: Lynn Saunders, Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, lynn at, (530) 587-2757

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