Some business leaders have questions |

Some business leaders have questions

Sally J. Taylor

Not everyone attending Tuesday’s alternative marketing meeting supported the contention that existing organizations did not market Tahoe in the best interests of small businesses.

“Are you saying (the plan of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority) is not enough for me and we should go around it and create another group?” asked Pat Ronan, general manager of Lakeland Village, referring to meetings that began in October to develop a strategic plan for the LTVA.

That plan was accepted by the LTVA Board of Directors on Thursday. The process of developing specific plans and programs around the strategic plan is just beginning.

“Very few of these people (at the Tuesday meeting) attended those meetings,” Ronan said. “We’ve already done this.”

Ronan, a board member of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association, was one of between six to 10 people at the morning meeting who represented existing business and marketing organizations.

Persson reiterated that she was looking for strategies to help small business owners, many of whom are close to closing.

“I’m not saying we should create another group. We’re having this meeting to look for positive solutions,” Persson said, adding that her questions about how the plan would help small business owners had not been answered.

“We’re trying to come up with different ideas by going through a different process,” said her son, Eric Persson, a Bay Area marketing specialist who helped direct the meetings.

Other’s echoed the feeling that the meetings detracted from the success of previous brainstorming sessions, including the city and chamber-sponsored Shared Economic Visioning process.

According to Duane Wallace, the executive director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, the visioning sessions were accessible to anyone who wanted to participate in finding answers to the economic woes of the city.

“There’s a lot more going on in this city,” Wallace said. “Don’t throw away what we have. Add to it (with positive things such as a business improvement district), but don’t throw it away.”

Many of the business owners and interested citizens at the meeting felt the solutions offered by the city and LTVA were too little, too late.

“They are thinking about long range plans,” said Jim Rein, owner of the Rip Van Winkle motel. “I, maybe, don’t have that much time. I need something today to help me through this junk economy.”

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