Locals have ways to get by
At Tahoe, the acronym could stand for “Locate Other Cash At Large.”
Whether it’s trading a snowboard tuneup for a six-pack of beer, or letting a friend crash on a couch for a favor to be announced, residents learn how to endure tight times at Tahoe.
It could be a casino happy hour or no cover charge at a club that enables a night out. Or a free pass from a friend that allows a day of riding. Residents also tap bargains available to locals such as a $10 decrease in a roundtrip fare on the airport shuttle or discounts at retail stores.
Tahoe Sports Ltd., an outdoors store with two locations in South Lake Tahoe, offers residents 10 percent off merchandise that’s not on sale.
“It’s a small town. We want to do the local customer right so we see them over and over again,” said Mark Coverdale, general sales and service employee. “It’s worth keeping business on the hill.”
The store does not post its discount, but residents still get it.
“If they don’t mention it, we try to discreetly bring it up,” Coverdale said. “Being a tourist town, we can’t post it because everybody in the world would say ‘Hey, I’m a local.’ But it’s a small enough town to do it by word-of-mouth and not too many locals get passed over.”
Discounts come in the form of punch-it cards, too. Buy enough coffee, pizza or burgers and some more food comes for free. And there’s the rental car fee, a $4.75 charge that goes for the environment, that residents don’t have to pay.
Last but not least is the S. Lake Tahoe Super Saver Card. Businesses on the card offer discounts, such as a free soda or 10 percent off a check.
“They pay to go on the card,” said Jim Gibbons, owner of Varsity Press in Grass Valley, which prints the cards. “A lot of businesses have been on it for years and years.”
Money raised from Super Saver Cards, which every community in Northern California has, goes to Friday Night Live, a support network for adolescents.
“We probably get more locals (using it) than tourists, but tourists pick it up at Kmart or Raleys,” said Shaun Michael, owner of Toy Maniacs, which offers a 10 percent discount on regularly priced toys.
“We get asked for local discounts all the time. They are looking for a break for living in Tahoe. They figure if they support the community instead of going off the hill, they ought to get something out of it.”
— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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