Those photos we see every day of container ships waiting for days to unload at American ports make us aware of how supply chains for many major retailers stretch clear across the globe.
And the problems with those long supply chains are likely to become even more real for many of us as we begin shopping for holiday gifts. Shelves in many large stores simply won’t be overflowing this year.
But while managers of major chain stores watch in frustration as their holiday merchandise waits on cargo ships, many smaller stores across the Reno-Sparks are particularly well-stocked.
The reason: Locally owned stores often rely on supply chains that are much shorter and more dependable.
Think for a moment of Nevada First Gift Shop at Reno Town Mall. Its suppliers aren’t leasing containers for shipments across the ocean. Instead, they’re driving over from their workshops just across town, delivering boxes of well-crafted gift items.
Wide Variety of Gifts Available In Our Region
The recent spectacular growth of manufacturing activity in our region means a wide variety of gifts can be ordered from just a few miles away.
The selection of gifts made by local companies covers everyone on your shopping list: Skis and mountain gear from Coalition Snow of Reno or Moment Skis in Sparks. Adventure flasks from Truckee’s Hibear. Tahoe Trail Bars or Rowdy Bars to fuel great adventures. Trainer Road systems to improve the performance of the cyclist in your life.
Or maybe an ultralight yoga mat from Yogo of Reno, special underwear from Panty Drop, a gorgeous bikini from Strange Bikinis, or a pair of vintage-styled shoes or boots ordered from American Duchess in Reno — all four of them woman-owned.
How about rugged scents of the West ordered from Outlaw Soaps of Sparks? Custom furniture created with the help of Minden’s Semi-Exact? Batteries to live off the grid (or in an RV) manufactured in Reno by Battle Born Batteries? A HIDEit Mount (made in Reno) to spruce up the looks of your home electronics? Or why not go big, big, big this holiday season with a custom-built luxury expedition camper from TruckHouse in Sparks? (Just don’t ask us how to wrap it or hide it under the tree!)
Looking further? Made In Nevada, a program of the Nevada Small Business Development Center at UNR, spotlights dozens of intriguing products — from honey straws to stackable grow pots for home gardens — manufactured by firms not far from your home in Nevada.
Helping to tie it all together are the locally-owned retailers who combine their extensive knowledge of marketplaces and suppliers with their ability to listen closely to the needs of shoppers in the Reno-Sparks region. Their success depends on their ability to offer precisely what local shoppers are looking for, and they have been working hard for months to build inventories for what’s projected to be an exceptionally strong holiday season.
This year, as never before, we all value the companies large and small that create exceptional products in Northern Nevada. When global supply chains are clogged, it turns out that buying local really is best.
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Author Bryan McArdle is vice president for entrepreneurial development at the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.