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Member Profile – Happy Tiers Bakery

November 15, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

Incline Village’s newest café, Happy Tiers, is finally up and running after overcoming various forms of adversity. Its brick-and-mortar location in the Christmas Tree Village serves up delectable cinnamon rolls, quiches, coffee, slices of cake, Doughboys doughnuts, and more every day of the week. 

Its owners Jason and Andrea Jurss are passionate when talking about their journey from whipping up cake batter in their kitchen to finally opening a physical café, that just continues to get better and better. 

“During covid we had 86 weddings cancel on us; it nearly killed the business because we gave all those deposits back since we knew that was the right thing to do,” Jason says. 

In March of 2020, Happy Tiers realized that they had to pivot quickly to stay afloat, and Andrea started making breakfast items and creative desserts like hot chocolate bombs to sell online and to her regular customers. 

“The idea to open a café came about at the start of the pandemic. I laid in bed and thought, no one’s working, there’s no cakes to make, there’s nothing to do. So, Jason said, ‘go make those breakfast items you like’. I did these breakfast packs for local clients for Christmas and Thanksgiving and Jason delivered them,” Andrea says.

However, Andrea knew her clients so well that telling Jason where to go was a little bit of a humorous challenge. “Jason would be delivering, and he’d say, ‘Where do I go?’ and I’d reply, ‘Go down Donna and find that brown door second from the left with the wreath on it’ because I didn’t know anyone’s addresses,” she smiles. 

Jason explains that Andrea would do these big pan quiches that feed a dozen people, then smaller groups who were here for a brief time requested personal ones that could go in a microwave or oven, ideal for vacation rentals. At the mention of it, Jason grabs a personal-sized crustless quiche for breakfast, the eggs fluffy and perfect, filled with slices of bell pepper and perhaps other veggies. Happy Tiers café also recently started serving crustless, gluten free and dairy free desserts and snacks.  

The process of getting a café open in Incline Village took the Jurss’s to their limits, though, despite the experience they had in running successful businesses in Florida where Jason is from. 

Both being from the East Coast, the couple met in 2010, the same year that Andrea’s parents Patrick and Patricia moved to Incline Village. Patrick (Andrea’s dad) had been coming to Lake Tahoe every winter since he was 16 to take a ski vacation. They spent their winters in Florida, which is where Andrea met Jason. Then when Andrea’s grandparents passed away, Pat and Pat decided to pick up and move Incline. Andrea followed her parents and moved to Incline with her kids in 2011, while keeping a long-distance relationship with Jason. 

In 2015, Andrea started making cakes for friends out of her home kitchen and word quickly spread about the quality, creativeness, and delicious concoctions that she made for the North Lake Tahoe community. She formed a solid relationship with the Chateau, who often refers their customers to Happy Tiers in their event planning process. Then in 2017, Andrea moved to Florida to be with Jason and design a high-end dessert menu for Jason’s restaurant called Artisan. However, she kept getting calls from clients in the Lake Tahoe area wanting her to do their cakes. It was a different clientele out there in the Sunshine State, and Jason saw more of an opportunity for growth in Incline Village. 

“When people flew Andrea out here to do their weddings (she did two at the Chateau while she was living in Florida), that opened my eyes to the possibility here,” Jason says. 

The couple moved back here in late 2018, Jason’s own dad and brother eventually following. 

“They all gravitate to us; we’re the nucleus of the family,” Andrea smiles. And grandparents on both sides love being closer to their grandkids who are in middle school and high school here. 

They planned to do winters in Florida and summers here for both businesses (Happy Tiers and Artisan) but then the pandemic hit. 

“I built nine multimillion-dollar concepts from the ground up. Andrea was going to do cakes and our goal was to wholesale. We were doing all the desserts for Granlibakken and local restaurants. Then covid stopped us in our tracks and we realized that we needed a direct-to-consumer concept,” Jason says. 

They found a spot to open a physical café in Christmas Tree Village, signed the lease in spring of 2022, built out the space, hired staff, and did a soft opening in April, and then it all came to a grinding halt. They were forced to shut their doors on June 10th. They were closed for the next 70 days, believing that they probably lost $3,000 in revenue per day that they could’ve made over the summer. 

“We were within eight days of closing for good and moving back to Florida, because everything we owned was invested in this business,” the couple says. 

Jason explains that here they were paying rent, but various county and local government entities were telling them different things about what they needed to be properly permitted, causing them to throw money against the wall while trying to appease them. During the process of trying to get reopened, Happy Tiers lost seven baristas, four bakers, and two dishwashers that the Jurss’s had hired and trained. 

“It’s like what Winston Churchill said, ‘If you don’t take change by the hand then it will take you by the throat.’ And Incline was taking us by the throat,” Jason says.

However, the couple is not the type to give up, and fortunately with weddings and events coming back on the scene, their clients and community saved them. 

“There was no telling me I was closing the business; I worked too hard to build it,” Jason says, crediting Andrea for being the driving force and talent while he is more of the behind-the-scenes operations manager. The couple saved money for payroll, bought a new oven, rehired staff, and is now fully open once again providing products at every price point from $1.50 biscotti to $4,000 wedding cakes. 

Jason says they are now focused on what is in the café’s four walls, building out their wedding design studio, putting art up on the walls, and working on their menus. They would also like to convert a corner of the café into an ice cream parlor and call it Happy Cones. 

“My parents [Pat and Pat], the community, and our VIPs helped this business tremendously,” Andrea says. 

“Incline’s our home, this is where we’ll live and retire. Andrea’s parents live here, my family moved here from Florida. It’s a relief that we’re open, and optimistic for the future,” Jason says. 

Happy Tiers Café is hosting its official grand opening party and first annual “Black Pie day” (a play off Black Friday a week before Thanksgiving) on November 17th. From 7:30am – noon get $6 off every pie! Happy Tiers is also offering open enrollment for its VIP program from Black Pie day up until the holidays.

Visit https://www.happytiersbakery.com/ for more information or visit Happy Tiers in person at the Christmas Tree Village. 

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Member Profile – Bowl Incline

November 10, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

Originally published in the Holiday Issue of the LIVE.WORK.PLAY magazine, view it here.

On a midday Friday afternoon, the two giant bowling pins in a 4-10 split line the entrance of Bowl Incline. Inside, the Ohana Diner (featuring a menu designed by renowned chef Sam Choy) serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in front of bowling lanes that are bright and welcoming, everything outfitted in a modern retro motif. Flat screen LED TVs throughout the alley show the latest sports games and are perfect screens, meaning it’s the best resolution you will find. One room has three pool tables, another has an arcade with crane machines, basketball hoops, and floor-to-ceiling PAC-MAN. Outside on the main floor is another open-air bar, an enclosed patio with community-engraved pavers, with bocce ball and cornhole. The newly retrofitted Bowl Incline also has a second floor now holding another bar, original quality Henry Miller tables imported from England, and two axe-throwing lanes.

Saddling up to the bar, the amicable bartender says that the most popular cocktails are the Sour Strike, “it’s like a flavored vapor”, and any of the Ballers are good as well as the Double Wood margarita because of the Li Hing Mui salted rim.

While talking about the drinks, owner Steve Tomkovicz warmly greets me and gives me a tour.

The Tomkoviczes have had a house in Incline Village for 12 years, moving here full time during the pandemic from the Bay Area. “The restrictions weren’t as bad here; we could take walks on the golf course,” he says. He and his wife Tracy rebuilt Bowl Incline, gutting the interior, tearing off the roof, getting new bowling equipment, furniture, and basically modernizing the space. The only thing they kept was the name.

Steve launched his first business when he was 10 years old, selling flowers on freeway offramps in East LA to support his mom. He went to colleges on football and rugby scholarships, always working three jobs. In 1983 he started an industrial supply company, and it took off; he had 350 employees and 10 locations across the country, doing $240 million in sales.

Then four years ago, his doctor told him that he had an enlarged aorta that could rupture at any time. Knowing that his life could be cut short at any moment, Steve reevaluated his priorities and thus sold his company to move to Lake Tahoe.

However, Tomkovicz isn’t the kind of man to sit around and wait for his heart to burst. He has been a hard worker his entire life and loves to be involved in his community and build teams. When his family moved to Incline, he saw a “For Sale” sign in front of Bowl Incline and decided that this would be his new passion project (although he admits that he’s still sad that he sold the industrial supply company that he built out of a pickup truck).

He emphasizes that money is not the driver in this venture, that he wants to provide a place for families and friends to go to disconnect from technology and connect with each other.

“We need to change how we de-stress, how we connect,” he says.

A spiritual man, Steve embodies Bowl Incline’s motto, “Peace. Love. Bowl.”, which is found on staff shirts and signs throughout the alley.

“Everyone has to treat everyone well in here. I’m a pretty simple person but complex in how I do business because everyone has to treat each other with love and respect,” he says.

The property included an apartment complex across the street, too, and they could’ve knocked down the bowling alley and built more housing but felt like if they did that then they’d be losing a huge community asset. Local businesses rent out the upstairs area for private parties, they regularly have live music, and their bowling leagues filled up fast. 

Steve loves dancing and says that he envisions hosting community events up in the lounge. He’d like to do a Frank Sinatra birthday celebration, invite people up to do some swing or dancing.

“This is a community space. Up here (in Incline Village) when the lights go out, there’s nowhere to go. Most places close at 8 or 9pm,” he says. 

Bowl Incline supports charity nights, hospital events, and provides another place to celebrate besides the Chateau and the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. Kids from the Incline schools even come clean the parking lot in exchange for bowling sessions. 

“We’re always thinking about how to give this community a center to celebrate life.”

And it truly is a family affair; Steve’s daughter Allison runs events, his son-in-law Josh runs the bars, and his wife Tracy is the financial wizard/operations manager. Throughout our tour, his son Steven is down on the first-floor bowling.

“Everything is new and it’s exciting for us. This is a place where you feel loved; and we have love for the Tahoe area. If we can create all that love between families and team members, this will be successful.

“I’m proud of what we’re doing. I’m 68 with a bum ticker and if I get to live around this and help people connect and practice kindness, then I’m good. Hopefully, we’re building a vision of love, excitement, and an escape from life but not each other,” Steve adds. 

For more information about Bowl Incline, go to www.bowlincline.com or visit the alley in person at 920 Southwood Boulevard in Incline Village.

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Business Profile: Tahoe Family Solutions

October 7, 2022 | Mike Danahey

Along with offering resources and enhancing skills for area residents, the nonprofit Tahoe Family Solutions provides rewarding opportunities for those looking to give back to the community.

One of those opportunities would be tutoring students as part of Tahoe Family Solutions’ Homework Help Club at Incline Elementary School.

“We always need more volunteers,” said Leslie Blunden, program director for Tahoe Family Solutions. Now in its 17th school year, the Homework Club currently has three volunteers and two TFS staff members working with 22 students this semester, Blunden said.

For Homework Club, teachers assign students who are struggling and do not have resources at home to help with homework. 

Volunteers must be cleared by the Washoe County School District prior to working with children, but no training is needed to tutor with Homework Club.

Tutors help first through fifth grade students with reading and math. Sessions last 75 minutes and are held immediately after school, Monday through Thursday. Incline Elementary lets out at 3:20 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and at 2:35 p.m. Wednesdays.

Blunden said the tutoring focuses on what’s being taught in the classroom. A challenge is that with Covid, most of the first graders getting help are very far behind. “Many don’t know letter sounds or what numbers look like. With these students, we assist with homework, but our main emphasis is on learning the basics so they can begin to read,” she said.

Homework Club Students “are probably like any given group pulled from a classroom. A few are excited every day, a few drag their feet, but all are proud of themselves for accomplishing something they’ve had trouble with before,” Blunden said.

The hope for Homework Club is that it gets young students back on track for greater success in school. 

“The National Research Council has determined that high school graduation and success in the workplace can be predicted by reading scores at the end of third grade. Students who are not proficient in reading by that time are unlikely to graduate high school,” Blunden said. “So we test the students at the beginning and end of the program with the Fountas & Pinnell Reading Assessment.”  

Blunden said Tahoe Family Solutions wasn’t able to hold sessions from March 2020 to September 2021, during the school lockdown phase of the pandemic, in large part because of computer access use issues at homes. These days, all participants wear masks and use copious amounts of hand sanitizer.  

Getting volunteers is challenging, Blunden said, due to the afternoon times the tutoring sessions meet and the time commitment involved. Typically, volunteers are retirees or high school students, who Blunden said are dedicated, patient, and enthusiastic about helping children learn.
Volunteers have told her they’ve learned patience, a love for tutoring and how to do division problems 20 different ways as core curriculum changes. Also rewarding, Blunden said, is that the program gets 8-10 high school students a year who come back to thank those involved with Homework Club for helping them in elementary school.

TFS helps adults too.
The nonprofit provides adult support via language, tax prep and mental health programs. Adult ESL classes are currently held via Zoom, with the hope to be face-to-face again sometime this year. And since it’s tax season, TFS is also offering free tax preparation service Wednesday and Thursday evenings, from 4 to 8 p.m., by appointment.

Tahoe Family Solutions also offers mental health programs, which includes therapy and psychiatry. With the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blunden said that they have seen a huge rise in the number of community members seeking services. 

“Anxiety and depression surrounding financial instability due to the pandemic has risen dramatically nationwide,” she said.

To help fund all of these efforts, TFS operates a thrift shop at 797 Southwood Blvd.  It had to close for six weeks in 2020 when all non-essential services were ordered to do so, but has been operating normally since then. 

“In this economy, thrift stores are the ideal place to purchase needed items for affordable prices,” Blunden said. There has been a wide variety in donations, from t-shirts and socks to Italian marble tables, rare artwork and one time, even a deactivated hand grenade. 

“Truly something for everyone,” she said.

To become a Homework Club tutor and for more information on Incline Village-based Tahoe Family Solutions, see tahoefamily.org or call 775-413-5145.

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Business Profile: Shahri Masters

October 7, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

IN 2014, ONE MIGHT HAVE DESCRIBED SHAHRI MASTERS as a passionate and driven mover and a shaker, an ambitious Lake Tahoe real estate agent witha no-nonsense attitude and a 26-year track record of success; moving houses, making sales, always networking and working nonstop. And then, she wasn’t. Behind the scenes, her now late husband was battling cancer, her daughter needed her mom, and her mental and physical health were slipping. She was at a crossroad, career or quality of life. She opted for the latter, stepped off the hamster wheel, and focused on her family. It was the best decision she ever made.

Taking a step back allowed Shahri to be present, to advocate for her husband, and to embrace being a mom. She also immersed herself in her many talents and interests. She is an accomplished artist and author, and during her sabbatical she wrote and published her third book, “Me and the Other Women – Stories of Female Relationships That Shape our Lives,” which spent some time on the Amazon bestseller list. During her hiatus she also started sharing her minimalist philosophy with others by helping people clear clutter from their homes, their hearts, and their minds. She taught English as a second language, worked in retail, as a ghostwriter, a babysitter, business coach, construction manager, and more. For over five years she explored, dabbled in new and old hobbies, connected with others, and her inner self. And then, she was back!

Her countless interests, talents, and opportunities could not deafen the call to return to real estate. In May of 2019, with fresh perspective, Shahri, with the helpof a friend, opened her own brokerage firm, Masters of Tahoe Incline Real Estate. Shahri now leverages her own experience and knowledge as a 50-year resident of Lake Tahoe to help her clients truly immerse themselves in Lake Tahoe living. “The many hats I wore and experiences I had during my sabbatical made me more well-rounded and more capable of truly connecting with my clients. It gave me a broader perspective on life and it’s no longer about the ‘sale.’ My priority is meeting my clients’ needs in a deeper, more personal way.” Shahri’s story teaches many lessons about courage, connection, and the value of work-life balance. On the surface it may appear that Shahri Masters long and successful career has been all about real estate. Not completely. Once you dig a little deeper, whether by reading her writing, studying her art, or listening to her talk about her community and her favorite people in it, it is easy to discover that her career has always been focused on people. Her people-centric focus is what makes her so successful and also such a valuable asset to the Incline community.

Learn more about Shahri – visit Masters of Tahoe Incline Real Estate online. 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 edition of LIVE.WORK.PLAY. Read it and past issues here.

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Business Profile: Nevada Jane

September 7, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

Incline’s newest eatery and cocktail lounge called Nevada Jane (formerly known as Gus’ Open Pit Barbecue) is now open, and welcoming people to try its quality street food-inspired cuisine and upscale drinks that are sure to tantalize the palate.

Jonas and Nellie Saia bought the restaurant in late August of last year and kept it open as Gus’ to keep the staff employed as they prepared for this transition. Nevada Jane is the couple’s fourth restaurant in Incline Village, first acquiring Austin’s in 2014, then Tomaato’s in 2016 (and reopening it as Fumo in 2019), and then Cool Mess – a coffee shop/ice cream parlor behind Austin’s. 

Jonas has been in Incline Village for 19 years, working for almost a decade of that as a bartender at Lone Eagle Grille and attending Sierra Nevada University. He eventually got a job as a business broker which gave him the opportunity to learn how to successfully take over and run a restaurant in a unique place like Incline Village. Last August, Jonas’s former boss at the business brokerage told him that there was a business for sale in Lake Tahoe but wouldn’t tell him what or where in the Basin it was. 

After signing the NDA agreements and learning that the business for sale was Gus,’ the Saias became thrilled about the prospect of obtaining it.

“We were very excited…it was close to our other restaurants, and we were looking for another investment,” Jonas says. The Saias took over Gus’ in October of 2021 and converted it into Nevada Jane just a few weeks ago.

Jonas had collaborated with chef Henry Nol, who he met through his brother, who focused on sustainable seafood and bringing interesting street food into a restaurant setting. Nol helped the Saias with the transition of their other restaurants and launch Fumo and is now on a more permanent basis with Nevada Jane. Jonas loves buying restaurants but credits his wife Nellie for coming up with the menus and managing the frontline work.

Jonas himself has worked in restaurants since he was 14 years old, and he loves barbeque, but he didn’t want to own just another average BBQ joint…the couple wanted to bring a new twist to southern cooking and put their own branding on it. When they go on vacation, they get inspired by street food and distinct cultures, and work to fold that vibe back into their dining establishments. 

“It’s been good; we changed the furniture, added late night food, and we’re now open until midnight on Friday and Saturdays,” Jonas says. The fact that they are open so late on the weekends is huge, as most places in North Lake Tahoe are closed by 8 or 9pm. 

They also brought in tasty cocktails over from Fumo. Just ask Nevada Jane’s office manager Lisa about the restaurant’s jalapeno-infused tequila with citrus and muddled strawberry signature cocktail. 

“The cocktails there remind me of some of the best ones I’ve had in San Francisco,” she says. 

“It’s a fun drink to try. And after going to the city and coming back and having a place to go later in the evening is so nice,” Lisa adds.

“People want to get dinner later now, and we want Nevada Jane’s to be more of a restaurant/lounge,” adds Jonas. 

Lisa, Jonas, and I start sharing stories about the former iterations of Nevada Jane’s (back when it was the Mexican restaurant Esmeralda’s and what locals called the dark and spooky bar upstairs), that is also supposedly haunted. 

“We burned a lot of sage to get rid of the ghosts,” Jonas chuckles. 

“Nevada Jane has great potential. This energy…” Lisa says, giving us both an air hug in the room as we laugh and share in nostalgia, “…is what we want there. It’s a local’s place, but it’s for everybody else, too. There are good things going on there and I hope people will embrace this change. There’s a lot of excitement and energy put into this. And Jonas and Nellie do a good job of bringing in the right vibe.” 

“We’ve been working on this for nine months. Fumo was a fun project and this one will be even better,” Jonas adds. 

When asked why they enjoy being members of the IVCBA, they reply, “It’s a collaboration. We participated in the Sip & Shop and Northern Lights events with all our businesses (Gus’/Nevada Jane, Fumo, Austin’s, and Cool Mess), and it’s great to keep up with what’s going on and have the support of the Association,” Lisa says. 

“It’s nice to see things happening here, and everyone come back after covid,” Jonas says.

Visit Nevada Jane in person at 930 Tahoe Blvd in the Raley’s Center or online

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Business Profile: Elko James

July 7, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

THERE ARE FEW PEOPLE that exemplify the Tahoe region and the reasons so many people are drawn to it in the way that Aaron James does. Aaron, or as he is far better known, Elko, is an accidental namesake of the rural town in Nevada which he grew up near. Elko moved to Tahoe in the fall of ‘98 to attend Sierra Nevada College. Upon moving here, he was almost exclusively referred to as the kid from Elko and the name stuck. He was studying ski resort management and also coaching the SNC ski team. Skiing was, and still is absolutely his ‘thing’, but school was less so. Given that, Elko left school and began working for the golf course in the summer, continued coaching skiing in the winter, and also began working for Village Ski Loft. Today, Elko is part owner of Village Ski Loft and is involved in many community projects and development related to the recreational opportunities that Village Ski Loft supports through their retail store. 

Elko and the staff at Village Ski Loft know and understand their customers’ needs on skis and bikes because they are passionate about the sports themselves. Elko is adamant that Village Ski Loft has experienced such longevity in Incline because of the quality of their tech work and the knowledge that every team member has related to the sports they promote and all of the equipment that they sell. For instance, when he is not working at the store, Elko ‘practices what he preaches’ or in this case what he sells at the store. Elko is a very avid and talented skier and mountain biker. He first skied when he was only 7 or 8 years old when his mom introduced him to the sport that would forever change his life. His favorite pastimes are shared with his two young daughters, 11 and 14, who started on snow at even younger ages. Both Daisy and Ashlyn are competitive athletes on the mountain year-round, in the winter in the snow on their skis, and in the summer on their bikes in the dirt. Elko’s wife, Feather, is a pharmacy tech in Kings Beach and also participates in all of the family recreational hobbies. 

While Village Ski Loft does more business and serves more clients in the winter, Elko himself has done a lot for the local mountain bike community. Elko is a former member of the TAMBA Mountain Bike Board and the store is an adopter of a section of the Tyrolean downhill trail. Additionally, Elko was one of the founding members of the Incline Bike Project which, with the help of various community entities and individuals, helped raise the funds for the Incline Bike Park which opened in 2017. Today, Elko is still a member of the Incline Tahoe Foundation. 

Twenty years have now come and gone for Elko at Village Ski Loft. He has seen a lot of changes with possibly more on the forefront. No matter how our town changes, Elko is certain that the stores commitment to its customers and ability to build and maintain relationships so residents can enjoy the recreation that brought and kept him here, is a commitment that not only won’t change, it will continue to differentiate Village Ski Loft from other retailers. 

Visit Village Ski Loft in person (Tahoe Blvd & Southwood) or online at villageskiloft.com 

*This article was originally published in the summer 2022 issue of IVCBA’s magazine, LIVE.WORK.PLAY. You can view the current issue as well as past issues at https://issuu.com/justimagine/stacks/595665ce24e24423b787c94c1f982deb

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Business Profile: Tahoe Fresh Co./Tahoe BBQ Gives Back

May 25, 2022 | Mike Danahey

If you’ve dined out in Incline Village, chances are you’ve stopped by Austin’s for some comfort food, FUMO for breakfast or dinner and drinks, Cool Mess for ice cream or coffee or Gus’ Open Pit Barbecue for some smoky Santa Maria-style deliciousness.

Those spots are all part of Nellie and Jonas Saia’s Tahoe Fresh Co./Tahoe BBQ business. By supporting them, patrons keep their dining dollars local while satisfying their appetites.

They also help nourish Incline’s young minds, as Tahoe Fresh Co./Tahoe BBQ frequently lends support in a number of ways to Incline’s public schools.

“We continue to be thankful for the support of the community and want to be a part in helping make this community strong,” Tahoe Fresh Co./Tahoe BBQ Office Manager Lisa Richards said.

In February, the company’s various spots donated gift cards for the Incline Elementary School Mardi Gras fundraiser. For the auction at Incline High’s Annual Crab Feed March 19, Tahoe Fresh Co./Tahoe BBQ is offering a NCAA March Madness Sweet 16 package, a private party for up to 50 guests March 24 at Gus’s, with some special guests and food included.

Tahoe Fresh Co./Tahoe BBQ restaurants have also provided eats for celebrations like Teacher Appreciation Week. Cool Mess donated gift cards to be used in the public schools’ positive behavior rewards program.

“The business has encouraged guests to give via a QR code at the tables in its restaurants,” Richards said. “We also tried to assist the Incline Education Fund with a Dollars for Scholars promotion late last year.”

“We are eager to see what opportunities there are to participate in future IEF giving campaigns,” Richards said. “They do such great work for all our schools, and we are happy to assist their efforts.”

Tahoe Fresh Co./Tahoe BBQ restaurants also provide jobs for a handful of Incline High students to give them real world work experience.

Richards said, “Many of our team members have attended Incline schools, come to work for us during summers, or to support themselves once they graduate and are attending local colleges. The Sais’s have two children of their own attending IES, “who were blessed to be born and raised here,” Richards said.

Visit the restaurants online

Austin’s  Cool Mess FUMO Nevada Jane

**This article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of LIVE.WORK.PLAY., IVCBA’s magazine. See it and read other stories and issues here.

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Business Profile: Rockwood Tree Service 

May 4, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

In business since 1986, Rockwood is a full-service tree care and removal company specializing in stump grinding,

tree trimming/pruning, tree removal, and defensible space compliance. Owner Beth Moxley says that there has been a lot going on lately with wildfire danger which is why collaborating with people on their defensible space is a priority for them. 

“The most important thing is to rake all your pine needles once a year in the spring for defensible space and contact the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District and have a defensible space inspection done. There’s a $1,000 rebate available, and each year they choose a specific area. Each homeowner is eligible for that $1,000 rebate in that area,” Moxley explains. Inspections through the NLTFPD are free, and the fire department is very helpful and accommodating. 

Moxley says it’s also important to clear any dead or diseased trees, as Incline Village has a big bark beetle problem right now. 

“The red turpentine bark beetle is aggressive. The top of the pine tree goes first, and if you don’t take care of that, then you’ll lose all your other pines around it. 

She adds that there’s a lot to do in the spring, and the best way to get your property ready is to get a jump on those pine needles and consider talking to your neighbors and ordering a 30-cubic-yard dropbox from Empire Contractors. You want to rake your entire property and keep a 30-ft. clearance around your home year-round. 

“I believe it’s $565 for a dropbox, and they drop it off in your neighborhood. All your neighbors can rake and load the dropbox and share the cost and they come to pick it up, and they take it to the dump. It’s a very cost-effective way and encourages your neighbors to get compliant with defensible space. The more neighbors that comply the safer your neighborhood will be. 

“We want people to take the opportunity to educate themselves about wildfire danger, especially when it comes to bonfires and firepits,” Moxley adds. 

Visit Rockwood Tree Service online: www.rockwoodtreeserviceca.com

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Business Profile: Ninja Tree Care

April 27, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

In 2016, Kathrine “Sunshine” Rieger started Ninja Tree Care in Incline Village and has been helping residents with their tree removal and yard cleanups in the IV/CB community ever since. Living in Incline for 17 years, she has experience in firefighting, working for other local tree companies, and climbing towers with NV Energy to get more climbing experience before opening her own business. 

Sunshine likes showing people how to take care of their own trees and creating defensible space to keep things more affordable for them, stepping in and doing a job only when necessary. 

“I explain to people what the fire department is exactly looking for on taking care of those trees and how to remove branches safely without damaging them. You’re looking to create defensible space in the first 30 feet next to your house. Pine needles can be done year-round; keep in mind that the fire department is looking for that fine flammable forest fuel next to your home to be cleared. It’s about protecting your house from the forest and protecting the forest from your house.”

She says it’s ideal to look at the property when the snow is melted out, especially for new homeowners because they may not know what’s underneath. The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District is also a valuable resource for how to create defensible space. 

“The more houses we get in compliance then the better it is for all of us. It doesn’t matter if you use us or another tree company, the most important thing is we’re getting defensible space done on every house in the community,” she says. 

For more information on Ninja Tree Care, call 775-629-2687 or visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ninjatreecare.

*This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of LIVE.WORK.PLAY.* Read all issues here: https://inclinevillagecrystalbay.com/about-us/communications

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Business Profile: High Community Gardens Nursery

April 27, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

With more than three decades of experience in landscape design, High Sierra Gardens owner Dan Yori has learned a thing or two about helping people freshen up their homes, yards, and gardens to impress their friends and neighbors and keep things blooming regularly throughout the summer. He has worked on more than a thousand homes in Incline Village over the years, from Lakeshore Boulevard up to Upper Tyner. 

Yori bought High Sierra Gardens in 1984 and when asked what his advice is for people getting their home ready for summer, he replies, “Number one: don’t do anything until the snow melts. Heavy snowstorms this past winter caused a lot of small bushes and shrubbery to break. You want to evaluate what you’ll need to do to fix that but, in the meantime, anticipate more storms.”

His main advice is to just be patient. 

“I’ve had the nursery for 39 years and people are coming in asking when we’ll get things in. I learned my lesson by bringing things in too early and having to move all plants inside when temperatures drop, or it snows again. There are so many new people here who come in and want to buy plants now, but they don’t know the mountain climate; what grows when, where, why, and how.”

Visit High Sierra Gardens Nursery at 866 Tahoe Boulevard or online: https://www.highsierragardens.net

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