When the Reno area was ranked this week as the best small-city in the nation by Resonance Consultancy, the news was more than yet another source of pride for area residents.
Top national rankings are “incredibly important” to attracting top companies and skilled workers to keep the region’s economy humming, says Mike Kazmierski, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
Because the Best Small Cities rankings come from an impartial third-party source, they provide strong support to the marketing efforts of EDAWN and other groups focused on creating jobs and a thriving economy.
“These rankings help us overcome the old brand of Reno that, in the past, has caused businesses and talent to just eliminate our region outright,” Kazmierski says. “Given the exodus of businesses and talent from the Bay Area and considering their longstanding and less-than-positive view of our region, these rankings really do make a difference.”
Already, the region’s economic growth plays an important role creating its top national ranking.
While its relatively low household income and so-so performance as a headquarters for big companies act as a drag on the rankings developed by Resonance Consultancy, that’s changing rapidly.
About 15,000 new jobs have been generated by Tesla, Google and other tech giants, as well the corporate headquarters and entrepreneurial companies that are drawn by the low costs and attractive business climate of northern Nevada.
“The presence of the growing corporate offices and their workforce are giving new energy to the local economy, which is good news for everyone from homebuilders to street artists to whoever wants to sell you, um, supplies for Burning Man,” wrote the analysts for Resonance Consulting.
(The consulting firm, with offices in New York City and Canada’s Vancouver, works with government agencies across the world to develop economic strategies.)
The researchers also gave high marks to the region’s outdoor recreation, Reno’s Midtown scene and the area’s restaurants, although they noted that COVID-19 is creating havoc for entertainment and dining venues.
Despite the current bump in the road, the researchers said the Reno area continues to provide an exciting mix.
“A casino town goes all in on art, culture and innovation. Is it any wonder that young talent is pouring in?” the Resonance analysts wrote.
And publicity surrounding the rankings is important within the Reno-Sparks community as well.
“It is important for people in the region to see that our efforts to grow and diversify our economy have positive impacts on our community as viewed through the lens of outside sources that are comparing us to other communities,” says Kazmierski. “It should be a real sense of pride to our citizens and our community leaders and a testament to the community-wide efforts to make Reno-Sparks even better.”
John Seelmeyer is a business writer and editor in Reno. In his 40-year career, he has edited publications in Nevada, Colorado and California and written several thousand published articles about business and finance.