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Western Lithium – Getting To The Next Stage

In a press release outlined here,  Western Lithium, which has a large, budding project here in Northern Nevada (as well as having a base of U.S. operations in Reno),  has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.   This means another move towards commercialization of lithium carbonate from the Company’s Kings Valley Lithium Project which is located in Humboldt County, Nevada.

The idea is that batteries can be made–batteries that can power cars and other things we might like to use some day, every day.

A quote from the release:

“Purity is critical for battery-grade materials such as lithium carbonate, which is the precursor material in lithium battery technologies,” said Argonne scientist Ilias Belharouak, who will lead a team of researchers on the Western Lithium project. “Our team will work with Western Lithium to develop a battery specification for lithium carbonate produced from the Company’s Kings Valley clay. This research will enhance the pilot study work that has already been completed.”

Get Nevada working, I always say, because we need it!



Never Ender – The Little Shop That Could

In my continuation on MidTown places to check out, as I mentioned in the Classic Skate Shop article, the Never Ender boutique required a mention.  For one, the Classic Skate Shop exists neatly inside the store, and gives a stark contrast to what the Never Ender provides—-while the gals can peruse locally-made accessories and cute shirts, the guys they bring along can find a little respite checking out some skate gear.

Yet the Never Ender isn’t exclusively a “girlie shop,” either.  There’s a racks of just guys shirts from American Apparel and Threadless, shirts with some very unique prints and attitude.  I have a couple in my own collection, since I like weird and unique shirts anyway.  Trust me, you won’t find these shirt elsewhere in town.

Melanie Crane’s special shop started about six years ago when her daughter, Amber, put together the original Never Ender over on W. Liberty Street.  With a few changes and some presence online for a couple years, Melanie later opened at 26 Cheney Street a year ago on July 29, 2010.   Originally about half art gallery and half boutique, it isn’t too much different from what I gather, as they feature up-and-coming local artists,  art, and locally-made things, filled in with creations from California, Alaska, and even as far away as the U.K.—-just a little more focus on “wearables” and other gift-type items.  The store is open, bright, and chock-full of things to check out.

Melanie herself is from New Zealand originally, but has spent the last 25 years here in Reno.  She’s always wanted to have a contribution to the fashion world, as her family is also a part of it.  This store is her way of offering the latest and most interesting tidbits of fashion and art, as she undoubtedly has a good eye for.   With a background of foreign exchange, travel and transport, she’s been here and there, and picked up some skills and experience along the way to help her with the store.  From the first time I talked to Melanie, I’ve enjoyed her company.  Her sense of humor, helpfulness and natural connection with people make her as much a part of the inviting nature of the store as the store is itself.

I couldn’t really keep track of all of the unique things that she offers, from necklaces, bracelets, cards, clothing, decorations—-there’s a little bit of everything in there!  Not a local?  No problem.  You can go to the conveniently-placed link at the bottom of this article to their website, and check out their online store, too!

The Never Ender is another way to be able to spend a MidTown afternoon or weekend.  Since they’re right by The Hub, just down the street from the SÜP restaurant, Craft and other good MidTown specialties, be sure to stop by when you’re in the neighborhood.  If you don’t happen to be in this neighborhood, make it a point to come down!  There’s frequently art openings, Art Walks and all sorts of whimsical goings-on which usually include the Never Ender.

Never Ender is located:

26 Cheney Street (with Classic Skate Shop)
Website: Never Ender
Facebook: Never Ender Reno

Classic Skate Shop – The Biggest Little Skate Shop in Reno

It’s no secret, really, I love MidTown Reno.   What is MidTown, you ask?  Roughly between California Ave to Plumb Lane, between Forest Street and Wells Avenue.   There’s places to eat, drink, shop, and hang out.   It’s a real neighborhood, and has everything from trashy to quasi-upscale.  With a little help, even more great tenants moving in, some sidewalk re-doing and some lights, it’s Reno’s most bustling place for local, new business.   I can’t wait to see what happens to it in the next few years—-it is going to be a model of what Reno can be.

So what makes MidTown?  MidTown, like most places, is uniquely the sum of its parts.

One of its parts, is the Classic Skate Shop, tucked neatly in the back of the Never Ender boutique on Cheney Street.   Situated just doors down from The Hub Coffee Company, I had never gone into the Never Ender because I heard it was a “chick store.”  No sooner did I enter in there and discover I was wrong, I eventually explored further and found Eric Lantto sitting in his skate shop.  Introductions and appreciation from my end turned into a long conversation, and lo, what went from a little exploration on my part turned into a great appreciation for a laid-back, business-savvy and cool guy.

Open since December of last year, on the wall are tiled pictures of skaters old and new inside this tiny shop, and when I say tiny, I mean it.  Use of space is remarkable.   It has no shortage of products, mind you, if you’re an active skateboarder, everything is there that you need:  decks, trucks, bearings, wheels, stickers, shirts, hats and more.   No bigger than a bedroom, Eric’s approach to his skate shop is to not be a “fashion shop” for skater lifestyle (hence, he doesn’t want to deal with bulky inventory such as shoes), but to be a shop where a skateboarder can come and buy gear to…skateboard.

Eric started skating in roughly 1984, and growing up in Fallon, his hobby wasn’t always an easy thing to do.  With no skate parks, friends would build ramps, word would get out, and soon skaters from farther away (even Gardnerville and Lake Tahoe) would stop by.   As Eric grew, he realized he’d always be intrinsically involved with skateboarding, and eventually landed in the business side of it.   He’d do everything from punk-style fliers for local skate contests for sponsorships to reviewing videos and working for outfits like Fish Lips, Gold Wing/Entity Skateboards, DC Shoes, and currently, Street League, where he helps as a stage director when his skaters need to be involved with events covered by ESPN.

The uniqueness and vibe from Eric’s shop is evident, even for non-skaters like myself.   A lot of it has to do with Eric’s cool approach, but his knowledge and clean shop, filled with only the brands and lines he backs 100%, speak for themselves.   He’ll size up and match parts to beginners, building their first skateboard from scratch, or just sell the parts more experienced skaters need to keep them rolling forward.   As Eric says, “There are no rules to skateboarding.”

Eric loves what he does, and does what he loves involving skateboarding.  When I stopped in to talk to him the other day for this article, one thing he said hit me:  “This has never been a job for me.”   No wonder he loves it, and hence, is very good at it.  With a second store in his hometown of Fallon first open in May of 2009, he makes the commute quite frequently between here and Reno, and really enjoys having the smaller stores.  With a quickly growing clientele as word gets around, local skaters have a rock-solid local choice of where to go for the stuff they need.

I enjoyed talking with Eric, and am growing to be friends with a great guy, yet another reason why I can’t speak enough about MidTown Reno.  These shops, restaurants, coffee places and bars are owned by some of the best of Reno, what makes Reno….Reno.   Fun, quirky, different, and totally different than downtown proper or whatever strip mall might be in the area.   Next time, I’ll be talking about the Never Ender where Classic Skate Shop is located, because you really can’t have one without the other!

Classic Skate Shop is located…

In Reno:

26 Cheney St, inside Never Ender, south of Maytan Music, west of The Hub
775-348-9440    Facebook: Classic Skate Shop

In Fallon:

Their new location will be:  270 S. Main Street, inside Hazel’s Fashion

The End of Borders, Bookstore That Is.

The Borders bookstore in Reno, NV on 7/19/2011, a day after the liquidation announcement.

Borders is finally liquidating and going out of business. It was already in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy since February, but now they’re clearing out their stock (probably starting Friday, July 22), laying off 10,700 of their employees, and closing all their stores across the US. This was announced on Monday at the end of the business day, at their headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here’s the letter from Border’s CEO to his employees about the current situation.I’ve been waiting for this to happen for the last year and a half, and now it has. Another chain bookstore gone from the US and now fewer places for people to buy books new. So what?

Now that Borders is closing, there’s just going to be less opportunity to get to books for many people. Sure, you can get books in Wal-Mart or Target, but most of those are the “best sellers” with a few religious books, some current non-fiction, novels of various genres, and juvenile and children’s books. Bookstores have more than just the best-sellers and safe books- they even have books that could elicit thought and other dangerous activities. What activities? Like having a conversation with other people not on a computer; buying a calendar that’s not fuzzy kitties or of historic lighthouses; browsing through stacks of books to find something you didn’t know that you really needed; being able to buy foreign magazines and newspapers, and just newspapers and magazines in general (in Reno, Borders had the best newsstand in town); and being able to go somewhere and have coffee and read and spend an afternoon in a relaxing, quiet place.

There is a solution to this dilemma. The thing to do is to support local bookstores more now and buy book from them. Reno has a great independent new bookstore, Sundance Books, and several good used bookstores, Zephyr Books and even Grassroots Books. Sure- there’s the Internet and buying books online, which I do. But, if you can find a book locally, why not buy it and keep your money where it can circulate in your own community and do more. Keep buying books locally and keep reading, and thinking.

The strangest thing for me is this: I went over to Borders to take some pictures of the outside for this piece and it looked like it’s always been since it opened: with people sitting in the café drinking coffee, meeting and reading, media bought and sold, and people milling around and going here and there. There are no notes, banners, signs, or anything to tell customers that Borders will soon be out of business.

Mining Tax Cap Elimination Gains Support and Another “Claim Tax” Deemed Unconstitutional

The Nevada mining and minerals industry is really on a roller coaster these days.

Those in Nevada opposed to the elimination of the tax cap put on state net proceeds of mines (Constitutionally at 5% currently) are likely none too happy with state Senators Ben Kieckhefer (R) of Reno and Michael Roberson of Las Vegas (R) as they cross party lines and join the Democrats in support to amend the Nevada State Constitution.  The movement partially-known as the “Fair Mining Tax,” soon, it will be going to the State Assembly for a vote: we’ll just have to wait and see what turns out. If voted in-favor, it would be required to be approved by State Legislature in 2013, and then put on the election ballot in 2014. Incidentally, the two main groups behind changing the constitution to eliminate caps on mining taxation are the Nevada Teachers’ Association and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. It’s another polarized political push in the name of perceived “good.”

Why is this happening in such a fiery manner? The unthinkable has perhaps happened: Casinos are failing, and we’re going broke. We got too used to one industry padding our system here in Nevada, and with few to choose from, we’re asking old ideas to work with a different industry rather than fixing the problem.

It’s true, I’m one of those none too happy, as someone who makes a living doing geotechnical assistance for minerals exploration in this state, it means one of two things to me. The first being that these tax-cap percentages are now unhindered, and mining opponents, the kind of people who apparently dislike working Nevadans, have access to push through taxation on Nevada’s best job opportunities and state growth potentials. Taxes are almost never lowered, they’re re-named (as I’ll go into on another subject below) and raised, often without representation, but usually they just get higher, usually due to increased spending, thus, more hands get held out. The second being what those taxes actually mean to the producing mines (who they are intended to penalize—-and I choose that word carefully) and what that means on down the chain of economics in Nevada. Workers get thinned out, hours cut, benefits reconsidered, less possibility of mine (and then job) expansion, etc. That’s just at the surface. Likely, the workers will then blame the company (they’re not accountants, nor would they want to be), possibly form unions because they’re “being treated badly,” and force what they once had, further buckle the company…okay, that’s extreme. It’s also how these things can happen.

Back on my side of the fence, if larger companies can’t invest in us little guys because they’re paying taxes, well, we don’t get the clients, we don’t get hired, and then we don’t pay our taxes, and then we go out of business and collect unemployment. Again, extreme, but that’s a timeline of possibility. Even half of those in my fine hyperbole might be a bad thing, and certainly isn’t good for a shaky economy, statewide or even nationally. This is just my opinion.

On the other hand, wouldn’t more taxes for Nevada be good? It’s my argument and understanding that a tax dollar is a tax dollar. It can come from anywhere if we put our minds to it. Usually, our simple minds look at simple numbers, say, the price of gold, and immediately (and seemingly sensibly) put two and two together: Our state mines, gold is at an all-time high. Sure, the big production companies are doing well. Will they in 10 years? Gold has a bad habit of not staying the same in price: that’s why the Mining Law of 1872 and helpful things like 5% caps on mining taxes in Nevada are there. If gold goes back down to $200/oz, Nevada will be stuck paying 8%, 10%, 25% taxes on production: which means, we’d be broke either way, if we’re as broke as we are now AND suddenly gold takes a dump. It won’t support us, and it will punish our industry. What a wonderful thing if you just happen be anti-mining ala Bob Fulkerson.  Masquerading as solutions equates fanatical success–don’t let spun, misleading pie charts fool you.  What mines pay in other taxes and fees outside production is WHY the taxes are what they are.

In good news, in an emergency session last year, not known much by the public, known to the chagrin of mining claims holders, a “fee” on all mining claims in the State of Nevada.  This has recently been deemed unconstitutional by a Carson City judge. What is this “fee” you ask? It happened to be a fee of as low as $70 and as high as $195 per mining claim filed with the BLM, handled by the county, and piped right into the state’s “general fund.” That’s right, it was a tax that was dodged by use of wording (aka, “fee”), was not voted on whatsoever, and blew right past everyone to become law. The only repercussion of not paying this fee was…yep, more fees. It was really causing havoc with the counties (as they were responsible for collecting the money and doing the paperwork…the state just sat back and watched the unconstitutional tax money roll in) and the smaller mining companies.  They had no idea who was in charge of what, or what would happen if they were late, or didn’t file. Ah, but finally enough protest and uproar from the counties and claim owners went to court, and now these taxes are on hold until further notice. My question is now, what about the money they collected unconstitutionally? When will we be seeing that returned?

Mines are expensive to run. It is not the same as oil producing, log cutting or any of the other industries that produce raw materials that come from the earth. Profit gained based upon money spent by said company is usually not in favor of the industry, with exception to rare times like we’re in currently. It’s a bust or boom industry, it always has been: fat or famine. Mining, as an industry, are among the most environmentally-scrutinized, safety-necessary and harrowing jobs out there. They indeed can be clean, profitable and beneficial, especially to our state.  It’s the only industry that actually cleans up other old mines, sets aside wildlife sanctuaries and wetlands, and makes an attempt to give back (…casinos don’t even do that!). This is why we have to be very careful about what are “fees” and “taxes,” and why they are there.

I believe we as Nevadans owe it to mining to scrutinize our politicians and the obstructionists that would like nothing more than for mining to just pack up shop and head to China, make sure we know what their real angles are, look beyond the words “Fair!”  “It’s for Nevada!”   “It’s for the people!”   “It’s for the earth!”    Mantras that have been used as leverage for years.  We need Nevada MAKING something again—-something besides tax laws: we all know how great California’s doing. Traveling this truly vast state,  I know there is plenty of Nevada for all of us, as citizens, nature-lovers and industry folk alike (which to my reckoning is all of us), and we can, in fact, get state revenue without punishing someone else.

(info from mineweb.com — a great resource for all news Nevada mining)

(image WSJ)

Sundance Books Moves During Memorial Day Weekend

The Levy Mansion and soon, the new home of Sundance Books.

The Levy Mansion and soon, the new home of Sundance Books.

Moving a bookstore is very hard work, I know it from firsthand experience, having done it three times. The first time was when I worked at Black & White Books and we moved from Wells Avenue to Lakeside in the Moana West shopping center. The second and third time was when I moved my own bookstore, Truckee River Books, from one house to another. I once heard of a man moving an entire bookstore from Zurich, Switzerland to Dayton, Nevada and it was an amazing old bookstore with incunabula, antique and rare books, and old maps. In general, moving books, or at least a lot of books is an arduous and difficult process. Moving a bookstore is awesome achievement and it means that you, as a bookseller are able to continue. So, to be able to move an entire bookstore in two weeks, like Sundance Books intends to do is a very awesome thing indeed.

Sundance intends to close up their store on Keystone during Memorial Day weekend and be open on June 1st in their new location, the Levy House at the corner of Sierra and California, near the Nevada Museum of Art. The Levy House is a fine old mansion that will be a great place for a bookstore. Not only that, it puts Sundance Books downtown, in a good place that’s not so out of the way for most people. I know I’ll be there for the grand opening and I hope that this will be a great new chapter in Sundance Book’s history. Let’s buy some books and make sure they stay there for a long, long time.

A Casual Walkthrough Of The New Siena

So, I coursed through the Siena last night, and it was…interesting to say the least. Downtown Reno was bustling with activity. On a warm summer Friday night, why wouldn’t it be? A friend and I had some walking and wandering to do, and I figured I’d see what the new Siena looked like. The only reason why I’m writing this is just as a snapshot experience, I have no idea what the amenities are of this hotel, as I’m likely not going to sleep there, I’m not a gambler, and I it’s only possible I may have a meal there. I’m not generally a fan of casinos.

It was about 11:00pm, the place was largely empty, there was a stereotypical casino cover band band called “Steel Breeze,” upstairs.  Nice folks, bad music.   People working there were so bored they were practically doing anything just please the few people who were drunk and wandering in or folks like us, trying to get a feel for the place. They tried really hard to get us to grab a bit to eat. Who could blame them? Much of the looks on everyone else was “watch checking,” (…is my shift over, yet?) and/or just begging for people to cater to.

I saw the quasi-food court area they had going on, and to be honest, it’s set up terribly. It’s really almost an afterthought, too small, and the pathway they sectioned off to go to the northwest doors was, in my eyes, a mistake. The lighting is not very flattering to the place at night: super blue, cold, bouncing off the slightly-brighter-than battleship gray paint…which is unfortunate, because the art in there is really, really cool. The name “River View,” is misleading–you can’t see the river very well as it is.  Maybe in the daytime?   The sushi place is set up a little better, a littler “warmer” feeling.  The menu selection was basic, and quite expensive at River View, but the Asian side had a few more tempting offers. We weren’t there to eat, sadly.

The casino floor, the area holding the least amount of interest to me, had a mixture of innovative LED arrays mixed with the same old Siena.  The carpet is still the same, the “Tuscany” rock-face walls clash with the contemporary lights—-badly. There are weird “close encounters of the third kind” lights over the gaming tables are far, far, far too bright, and being fluorescent, make it look like an institution (think DMV or hospital). Again,  almost no one was in there.

“The Loft,” upstairs is set up kind of cool, but again, totally wrong lighting. The spillover heat, sound and light from the too-bright casino is totally off-putting for an “intimate show space,” area. The bar is tucked way in the back, the furniture is extremely small, and not very comfortable. Great dance floor/stage area, though.

DaVinci’s looks neat, but it was closed. Is it a bar, or a restaurant?  Is the wine cellar still downstairs the same?  Does it exist?  I couldn’t tell. Either way, it should be open on a warm Friday night.

The lobby is the most impressive part of the place, properly-tuned light, furniture arrangement, good marble work, fountains, and artwork. It looked more like a boutique hotel I’d find in San Francisco or New York. I’m surprised they didn’t try harder to make this a feature throughout the rest of the casino.

Again, this was just a preliminary walk-through on my part. I have overheard and read a lot of mixed reviews about the place since it has re-opened, and I’m getting the feeling why. It’s not a very inviting hotel/casino, except the lobby. Overall, the lighting is bad, it’s disjointed and has no “theme,” and is greatly suffering from the “herd syndrome,” which means, there’s no people there, so why be there? People off the street are not usually drawn in by empty buildings, being clannish and skittish creatures.

For another point of view and some pictures, hit up Downtownmakeover.com’s recent look at the Siena.

I’m not a casino guy, never have been, never will be. Maybe I just “don’t get it.” A business is a business, however, and theme, poise, invitation, lighting, location, presence, offerings and value are no exception here. It lacks restaurant space, vibe and uniqueness.   There’s too much “old Siena,” clashing with obviously expensive new ideas.  Obviously, the new owners have a vision, and future change is capable of fixing all of this. The Siena, at a glance, I hope isn’t finished, because it has a long way to go in the short time before their May 20 grand opening.  This better had not be a “finished product,” because this hotel was a bargain-basement auction grab, and it’ll do Reno better to make it into something that’s worth it.

Lithium Mining – Nevada’s New Green

Western Lithium Reno

Yep, did that one on purpose…I love catchy double-meaning titles, don’t you?

Well, Nevada needs the money kind of green, as in taxes, revenue and jobs, and there’s likely room for there being some of the movement known as “green,” too. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find a way to establish another actual industry for Nevada? While at the same time supporting one of the existing ones?

Lithium has long been a source for battery production. In fact, the chances of you yourself using some lithium in a battery is almost assured. Have an iPod? A cell phone? A laptop?  Thinking larger, how about hybrid or electric vehicles that are becoming so popular and important?   That’s just the beginning.  There’s already some interest in making Nevada a lithium mining hub, which would beg for new, green sources of power gathering (such as solar), which then would naturally need a way to hold such power… batteries?  Gold and silver production are already one of Nevada’s great products and active industries, perhaps lithium mining would fit right in.

According to this article in the New York Times, some developers would like to bill Nevada as the next place to really consider for some lithium mining, all while using new techniques to extract lithium from the earth.   Western Lithium,  which has an office here in Reno, is already drumming up some business interest and capital for the project.  Named King’s Valley (at the extreme middle-north end of the state), years of lithium mining and production there could open Nevada up to an entirely new industry.   One hurdle, the capital to be raised is quite lofty ($250M), because this new process to extract the lithium, which as to do with heating clay and making the lithium water-leachable,  is quite expensive–hopefully not too expensive in the current economic climate.   More locally though, perhaps more importantly to those here, this project’s location will mean even more to Northern Nevada for jobs and other potential.

The other issue they’re going to face is  on Capitol Hill.  Like most new mining operations, there are miles of red tape, permits, and process one must go through in order to get something like this going.   There’s a lot of people out there that don’t like mining or view it as solely destructive, that could hinder an already arduous task to get to production with all the politics, people, ideals, and other speed bumps.   Hopefully they find a few friends over there in Washington D.C.

If the hurdles can be cleared, we (as Nevada AND the USA) could be on the forefront of production, competing with China, Chile and Argentina–and doing something our country isn’t doing a lot of by comparison to other countries:  making something.  90% of the world’s lithium is supplied from outside North America, too.   Lithium demand and prices are both high, and this could be a gold rush without the gold.  Especially if those at Western Lithium and us Nevadans play our cards right.  I think the biggest selling point to naysayers and politically is the less environmentally-invasive mining techniques–this could keep the political, possibly pointless, obstructions to a minimum.   The Kings Valley project holds the fifth largest known lithium deposit in the world… no small potatoes.   This means good things for “green,”  job seekers, and tax revenue for the state.

For Nevada, this, again, could provide a HUGE opportunity.  California has Silicon Valley, Detroit has Motor City, Texas has oil– I can easily see Nevada being Battery Alley.   Or something to that degree.  They just need to get started with mining at Kings Valley in 2014, which isn’t far away.

A hopeful possibility, I wish the King’s Valley project, Western Lithium and all who are working towards it the best of luck:  you have my support!

(information courtesy Western Lithium and the New York Times – image courtesy WLC)


Reno Council Delays Decision on Fitz Garage

imageToday the Reno City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency Board, voted to delay a decision on transferring the former Fitzgerald’s Hotel-Casino garage to the Redevelopment Agency and approving a lease option with the CommRow project to collect $165,000 rent per year from CommRow, with a purchase option after two years.

In testimony before the Council, CommRow developer Fernando Leal said that his project is currently moving a “snail’s pace”, indicating that his project will be put on hold until an agreement with the City can be worked out on the parking garage.

In other CommRow related news, the opening dates that were being bandied about for that project were August, and apparently the climbing wall won’t actually be installed this summer, but possibly in the fall, depending on the availability of labor to build the wall.

The City Council is in an unenviable position right now.  Many of the decisions they have made hastily over the years, including the current situation with the Fitzgerald’s garage, have come back to bite them later in the financial crisis, leading to general fund revenues being spent to repay redevelopment bonds which were supposed to be paid out of dedicated revenue streams.  Today, the City’s actions with private developers downtown are under a new level of scrutiny, and public sentiment is against further subsidies for new business downtown.

The CommRow project is vital to the future success of downtown.  It would be an exaggeration to say that CommRow will “transform” downtown, but having the currently closed Fitzgerald’s hotel open with the entertainment venues CommRow will offer attracting customers, will make a huge difference especially considering its keystone location right next to the Reno Arch.

The City Council should not delay this project any further.  At their May 11 meeting, they should approve transfer of the garage to the RDA and the lease option with CommRow.  For his part, Leal needs to show that he is serious about his project, and display a little bit of faith that the parking garage situation will be straightened out.  People in Reno have noticed that the renovation at CommRow doesn’t exactly appear to be going gangbusters.  The public is ready for and excited about CommRow and showing that it’s really going to happen will help rally that public support to persuade the council to do the right thing.

King Ranch Becomes Marketon

The Marketon market logo.
The Marketon market logo

A few weeks ago, the former King Ranch Market on 1500 South Wells Avenue (which was an IGA and long before that Raley’s) became a Marketon Market. I live in the Wells Avenue area and I liked King Ranch for its many quirks, decent produce, passible chorizo, and great deli. Kyle, back in the days of GHR, made a great review of King Ranch as it was.  Since it changed names in that time, I thought I’d write an update of sorts, after all.  With the new name things might have totally changed, right?

A few things have changed over at Marketon, and most of them have been positive. The produce is still mostly good and there are seasonal fruits and vegetables such as calabash (a great thing to cook in anyway) and persimmon that can only be found there and at other Asian markets like 168 Mart over at Gentry and Virginia. The meat counter is still the same, and seems good. I’ve bought a lot of stuff there and for the price, it’s not bad at all. The bakery is like it was: great cakes, good Mexican pastries, tasty French Bread and rolls. You can also get fresh tortillas that they make in store: they’re cheap and they’re good. The deli case is still great- and if you want to try out some of the more esoteric Mexican food, you can do it there. The prices haven’t changed and the same people work there. They’ve added a rack of inexpensive DVDs in Spanish and English, and that seems to be the major noticeable change.

The best thing about Marketon is that you can get all kinds of Mexican foods and spices at good prices. Look for the most interesting stuff in the stacks right behind the produce section, next to the religious candles, you can find all kinds of stuff. And, if you look hard enough, you can find the spices to make tacos just like they do at your favorite taqueria. Give Marketon a try some time you need groceries, it’s one of the more unique and interesting shopping experiences here in Reno.