Relocating to Northern Nevada: New developments add to Reno’s retail charm
Special to the NNBV
RENO/SPARKS, Nev. — Northern Nevada’s booming economy has led to an explosion of new retailers in the region, and several large-scale development projects are poised to further increase the already diverse retail offerings in Reno and Sparks.
There was a time when back-to-school shopping meant taking a day trip over the Sierra to hit the large malls in Sacramento or the outlets in Vacaville. But the retail scene in Reno-Sparks has long since come of age, and newcomers to the region should find plenty of shopping options.
Meadowood Mall at South Virginia Street and South McCarran Boulevard has been a regional retail anchor since opening in the late 1970s. The mall underwent a wide-scale interior modernization in 2013.
Other large regional retail centers in Reno-Sparks include The Summit Reno at 13925 S. Virginia St. and Outlets at Legends in Sparks at 1310 Scheels Dr. Both retail centers were constructed during the construction boom of the mid 2000s.
Nowhere is Reno’s surging economy more evident than the massive construction efforts taking place at the site of the former Park Lane Mall at Plumb Lane and South Virginia Street and Rancharrah at the south end of Kietzke Lane.
The Village at Rancharrah is a planned mixed-use boutique retail and office development that should be ready for tenants late this year or early 2020. The center features 60,000 square feet of upscale retail shops that includes boutique clothiers, health and beauty, and food and beverage establishments.
Deals already have been inked for popular local eateries such as Süp, Centro and Coffeebar; retailers Chez Vous and Rancharrah Clothing Company; and Dolce Vita Wellness Spa, among others.
The master-planned Park Lane project, meanwhile, is a mix of residential, hotel and retail. The iconic mall that once stood there was demolished in 2007, and the forlorn site stood vacant for a decade. Reno Land Inc. and Lyon Living are in the midst of constructing hundreds of apartments, as well as a boutique hotel and new retail center at the site.
Small retailers are flourishing as well. Ann Silver, chief executive officer of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, is wearing holes in the soles of her shoes attending the many ribbon cuttings taking place across the Truckee Meadows.
“We are seeing a proliferation of small businesses of 50 and under employees,” Silver says. “They are opening every single day. Whether they are being opened by young people, retirees or people who have relocated to the region, they are all finding that Reno-Sparks is a great place to do business.
“We have announced this area as diverse friendly — whether it’s a coffee shop, a new bar or restaurant, or some sort of boutique retail, we have become diverse community of businesses. That wasn’t always the case. People see Reno-Sparks as a multi-faceted community with all sorts of tastes and styles and interests, and that is good for small business.”
Retail has been one of the slowest sectors to rebound from the recession, and a spate of corporate bankruptcies or store closures over the past few years — most notably, Toys “R” Us, Fallas Discount Stores, Payless ShoeSource and Sears — left hundreds of thousands of regional retail space vacant.
But that’s been countered by a wave of new store openings, such as Harbor Freight Tools, Sprouts Farmers Market and Urban Air adventure park, among many others.
Silver says approximately 300 new businesses have joined the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce in the past 12 months.
“Money should stay in our local community, and we have businesses that offer something for everyone,” Silver says. “Whether it’s retail shopping, dining or entertainment, we are now on the map as a city that can handle a diverse range of interests. No one has to leave the area to find what they need.
“We are a place to recreate, shop and play, and that’s part of the overall economic development boom that has seen its way to our community. We couldn’t be happier to see commerce thrive in this community.”
The flight test in Kansas was conducted in November by Iris Automation, a Bay Area-based startup company that in 2018 selected Reno and the Innevation Center as home base for its flight-operations team.