Only the best

Our annual readers’ poll, the Biggest Little Best Of Northern Nevada, requires a Herculean effort on the part of editors, sales and designers—and voting readers. But it’s not just big because we have a lot of categories. It’s big because there is such a breadth and variety of “best” things here in Northern Nevada.

But, as editors occasionally noted while tallying results, some of the enterprises that readers called the “best” have gone out of business since the economy turned south. And that’s a damned shame.

It’s not news to anyone that Northern Nevada has suffered more from the down economy than almost any other area of the country—primarily due to the onslaughts against our tourism and construction economies and our high foreclosure rate. The cascading loss of jobs and disposable income undeniably had an effect on the fortunes of many businesses hereabouts, not just the ones that readers declared “best.”

But look around. We still live in a place with a beautiful environment, sophisticated arts amenities, active business community, and thriving local culture. It’s easy to see that we all support each others’ efforts when we can. But we should do more because our city’s sustainable future lies in becoming a place where locals shop at local businesses, support local arts communities, and participate in local social efforts. Our future will not be based, at least to the degree it is now, on what out-of-town developers, chain retailers, and gambling tourists can import into our community, because in the vast majority of cases, what they export is money.

Many people will keep the Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada around for the next year, a resource in which to look for inspiration when they think they’ve tried all the possibilities for great places to eat, to shop, to catch a show, to enjoy the outdoors. We’d like humbly to suggest that anyone who’s interested in keeping Northern Nevada the best that it can be during these rough times also follow this strategy.

You want to ensure that your favorite watering hole is still around in a year? Spend some money there. You want to be able to pick up plants that are chosen because they’re likely to survive in this environment? Shop at a locally owned garden nursery. Want to ensure that your favorite local band is still playing on Northern Nevada stages next year, instead of moving to some other area where local music is supported by local audiences? Catch a local act in a locally owned venue.

It really is as simple as this. Make the bulk of your spending decisions based on the idea that you want to keep the depth and breadth of local culture deep and wide. Change your habits, just a little. Supporting the best in Northern Nevada now will ensure that when the economy recovers, instead of rebuilding the high end, we’ll have a higher average standard of quality.