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New employers bring jobs, technology and higher pay to Reno region


Two of the newest companies headed to Reno further solidify one of the cornerstones of the region’s economy — the distribution sector.

Two other new companies, meanwhile, are expected by the region’s economic leaders to provide further momentum to the fast-growing technology sector.

And three out of the four new companies announced by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada on Wednesday also are moving their headquarters to Reno — a key step toward building a base of higher-pay, higher-skilled employment in the region.

The four new companies, which are expected to generate a combined total of about 600 new jobs in coming years, include:

  • Mary Kay Inc., the international cosmetics brand, which is launching a West Coast distribution center in Reno.  The 72,000-square-foot facility will employ about 50 people. (Bryan Gardner of Reno Property Management helped bring the Mary Kay facility to town.)
  • theBalm Cosmetics, which is moving its headquarters to Reno from Alameda, California. It’s also investing about $5 million as it launches manufacturing and distribution operations in northern Nevada. It expects to employ about 200 people — including 50 that it’s hiring in the next couple of months. (Shawn Jaenson of the Kidder Mathews real estate brokerage helped land the company in Reno.)
  • Discover Podium, a technology outfit that helps job seekers navigate the complicated world of career advancement.  It’s moving its headquarters to Reno and expects to employ about 300 people at an average annual wage of $80,000 within the next five years.
  • Unstoppable Domains Inc., a venture-funded startup that launches domain names on blockchain technology — a step toward making cybercurrencies easier to use.  Funded by Draper Associates, a top venture-capital firm, Unstoppable Domains expects to hire more than 70 people for its new headquarters in Reno.

Executives of the new companies said they were drawn to Reno for the usual reasons — an outdoors-oriented lifestyle, a hassle-free business climate and dramatically lower business costs than those in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In an economy shocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, those lower operating costs proved to be particularly important, said Jacob Warwick, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Discover Podium.

“Had we not been here in Reno, I don’t know that we would have survived,” Warwick said.

But even while citing the usual reasons to move to Reno, several executives of the new companies said a simple human spirit — a feeling that they were welcome in northern Nevada — also played a surprisingly large role in their decisions.

Mike Kazmierski, the president and CEO of EDAWN, noted that the new jobs come at a time that more than 20,000 people are looking for work in the Reno-Sparks area.  About 35,000 jobs were lost in the region this spring as a result of the pandemic, and Kazmierski said officials now worry that a substantial portion of those jobs may not come back anytime soon.

John Seelmeyer
John Seelmeyer
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.