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Governor’s tourism conference cites 3 Valley businesses

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

Three Carson Valley businesses were recognized for their part in creating new jobs in the Nevada tourism industry at the 17th annual Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism.

Two of the businesses – The Corley Ranch and the Historian Inn – are new to the Carson Valley and first-time award winners.

n “Old” hotel. The third award recipient, the Carson Valley Inn, has received the award four or five times, according to Bill Henderson, director of sales and marketing.

“The Nevada Commission on Tourism has always been exceptional at recognizing Carson Valley businesses of any size for increasing tourism in the area,” he said. “We submitted an application this year because we added Job’s Perk (a gourmet coffee bar), and the award is actually targeted at creating new jobs in the tourism industry.”

The Carson Valley Inn, located at 1627 Highway 395 in Minden, employs 550 people, with five of those at Job’s Perk, which opened in January.

The Minden resort was built in 1983 by Jeane and Patrick Mulreany. Since then, expansions and improvements have taken place almost every year, with the last major remodel taking place in 1993.

A $3.2 million expansion is currently underway, adding 16,000 square feet to the resort, including a second-story swimming pool, a new Cabaret Lounge, consolidated office space, increased casino area by 50 percent, and a state-of-the-art ventilation system.

“This is something our customers have really asked for,” Mulreany said.

The final tally on the remodel will be $6 million, adding in furniture and other costs, she said.

n Working ranch. The Corley Ranch is a 288-acre destination working guest ranch located at 859 Highway 395 S., Gardnerville. It was opened in 1999 by owners Paula and Jon Corley. From the beginning, the Corleys have strived to attract tourists to the Carson Valley.

“We want to bring tourists here and show them that this can be a nice big package with Virginia City, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Reno,” Paula said. “We had several buses here this summer on ‘fam’ (familiarization) tours, and the feedback we got was great. We also appreciate the positive feedback we’ve gotten from this community.”

The Corley Ranch employs six people and is open from May to November for weddings, parties, conventions, retreats, community gatherings and more. The Corleys have also hosted educational tours for area school groups, teaching students about the history of the old sheep ranch as well as the details of a working cattle and hay business.

“Our sheep shed has a carving of 1883 on it, so we know they were running sheep here that far back,” Paula said.

Receiving the tourism award from the governor’s office at a luncheon in Reno Dec. 6 was an unexpected thrill, she said.

“It was a very nice event,” Paula said. “The theme was ‘managing change in the new economy,’ and we were all honored with a small paragraph in a book that everyone received – it’s very good advertising for our Valley. We were especially honored because we’re just a ‘mom and pop’ operation and there were big corporations, tour companies and airlines also receiving the same award.”

Corley said Gov. Kenny Guinn was not at the luncheon because he was working on the state’s budget, but Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, chair of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, made the formal presentations.

n New hotel. The Historian Inn is located at 1427 Highway 395 in Gardnerville, opened in April and employs 11 people. The 35-room historic-themed inn is owned by Nevada Johnson Ventures, Inc. which includes brothers Greg and Kirk Johnson and their wives, Jeannie and Gina, respectively.

“I was extremely surprised that we received the award,” Jeannie said. “I didn’t think we’d get something like that so soon, but we’re very pleased.”

Historian Inn customer service representative Nikol Agnason accepted the award in Reno.

“We got a plaque and they are sending us a picture, so we’ll be displaying the award in the front lobby,” Jeannie said.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism awards recognize businesses that have contributed to the growth and improvement of Nevada’s resort hotels and casinos, retail shopping, outdoor recreation, transportation, entertainment, cultural and historic sites as well as many other attractions.

The awards are given out yearly to Nevada businesses and organizations.

“The award winners have demonstrated ingenuity and determination,” Hunt said. “Besides making our tourism product more attractive, these businesses have helped to strengthen Nevada’s economy by adding 12,993 jobs.”