Reno’s brain drain

Stefanie Terry

Photo by D. Brian Burghart

When the luminaries of Reno discuss the reasons our college graduates leave town just when they reach an adequate educational level to be useful here, it’s pretty easy to figure out why other places are so attractive—they just look good in comparison. Stefanie Terry, who has one more year to complete her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at the University of Nevada, Reno, is the 21-year-old manager of a fashion boutique on West First Street, Venus Envy. She expects she’ll move on to a city with more cultural amenities for young people. Oddly, in the store, there are copies of the RN&R Streetalk feature hanging on the wall.

How did you get involved with Venus Envy?

A friend of mine owns it. A few years ago, I was working and suffering at Starbucks. I hated it. She needed some help, so I started working at the store when it was still on South Virginia Street.

Why should people shop here?

You’ll get something that not everyone else is wearing. You’ll be supporting small business, which is something that Reno should do more of. Instead of going to Wal-Mart, people should come down here and support all of us downtown merchants.

What attracts you to this kind of store?

It’s nice to see something like this in Reno. Reno is really conservative and needs more fun shops. This whole riverwalk merchants area is nice. There is lots of stuff that you don’t usually see in Reno—the different stores that sell clothes like people around here don’t usually wear, not so mall, not so mainstream. It’s more like San Francisco, like the shop across the street with the cool furniture, the coffee shop, the salon next door. Reno is really boring and needs something like that.

Why do you think Reno is boring?

It’s weird. It’s conservative, but there’s gambling and whorehouses. People are really conservative. It’s really a 21-and-over town. It’s mostly for tourists.

When did you turn 21?

May 1st.

Now that you’re 21, do you still feel like Reno’s a 21-and-over town?

I’ve been gambling and to the bars. I book shows and stuff here. You have to book shows at the bars here. It’s weird, it’s like the city doesn’t like people who are under 21. Now that I’m 21, it’s still important to me. I have friends who are under 21. People who run all-ages places have such problems here. Bars and casinos never have problems like they do.

Where did you go when you were a teenager?

There was the skatepark, the Rollers Edge, on Keystone. Before that there was the Fallout Shelter and the Ice House and Casa Margaritas, but I wasn’t old enough to go to shows then. I started going to Rollers Edge and FSU when they did shows.

Where do you see yourself going from here?

I’m almost done with school. I want to go to graduate school in Seattle or something. I want to travel. I’ve never lived on my own anywhere but here. I want to go try out the big city life. I want to do criminology or criminal psychology or forensic psychology. I’ve thought about the FBI, profiling, that kind of stuff. I’m reading a book on the Zodiac Killer right now.

Are you going to hang this interview on the wall?

My wall of fame? Sure.

Are you on there somewhere?

That’s me, and that’s my dog. Those other people are my friends.