Four Companies Bringing 600 Jobs to Reno - Mary Kay was one of several companies announced by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
The four companies show the region's continued viability as a place to do business even as COVID-19 continues to hamper the overall economy, said Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of EDAWN.

"Here are four companies that have pulled the trigger and are coming here or already here and launching operations," Kazmierski said. "Good things are still happening in the middle of this pandemic."

None of the companies received incentives from the state, according to EDAWN.

The arrival of companies such as Mary Kay reflects continued efforts by the region since the Great Recession to diversify an economy that was once overly reliant on tourism and gaming - sectors that are especially susceptible to economic downturns.

Since then, Northern Nevada has welcomed several new companies, including big names such as Tesla and Google, to the region. Such diversification efforts have helped cushion the shock from COVID-19 as Northern Nevada has developed other robust sectors such as logistics and advanced manufacturing over the years, according to Kazmierksi.

Mary Kay described its new, nearly 72,000-square-foot distribution center in Reno as a "critical piece" for its distribution plans in the West Coast. The facility is expected to have 50 employees at build-out and should be operational by September. Mark Kay touted the technology being used in its distribution center.

"We're particularly excited about the facility's forklift battery technology, which will allow for more safety and efficiency in our distribution process," said Nathan Moore, president of the North American region of Mary Kay. "We're thrilled to officially be part of the growing Reno business community."

Two technology companies pick Reno for Headquarters

Discover Podium, which helps customers with career advancement and transition opportunities, expects to grow its business to 300 employees within five years at an average wage of $80,000. The company was founded in Incline Village before it moved to Reno.

Discover Podium assists its customers by going beyond the typical resume and helping them craft a story that's better tailored to the job and industry that they desire, even if it might be different than the work that they have done, said CEO Jacob Warwick.

"A resume says what you've done but it doesn't necessarily show where you're going," Warwick said. "We're not resume writers, we're storytellers and we help people better market themselves so they can better manage their career."

Another company is startup Unstoppable Domains, which uses blockchain technology to secure domain names for their customers. The company's service is akin to domain registration providers such as GoDaddy, Verisign or Shopify, except its service is anchored by blockchains. The technology, which works like a digital ledger, is best known for its use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin but has also been used for other applications such as creating secure, digital versions of marriage certificates in Washoe County, for example.

The company started in 2018 and went through a San Francisco-based accelerator program. It also received funding from U.S venture capital firm Draper Associates. Unstoppable Domains, which moved to Reno within the last month, cited the city's proximity to the Bay Area and its lower cost of living and taxes as major reasons for the relocation. The company has since grown from five guys with laptops to reach 20 employees in March and plans to hire around 50 people within the next year.

As a software company that is able to operate remotely, Unstoppable Domains has managed to continue growing even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're actually doing better now than we were before the coronavirus hit," said Matthew Gould, founder and CEO. "We haven't taken any (Paycheck Protection Program) loans or anything like that, so we're just very fortunate that we've continued to grow through the crisis."

Cosmetics company moves in from California - The fourth company that was announced was another cosmetics-based business, theBalm.

Founded around 20 years ago in a kitchen in San Francisco, the premium cosmetics company decided to move its headquarters from California to the Biggest Little City, said chief operating officer Heather Lourie. The company also plans to hire 250 people for its new Reno distribution facility within the next three years and also noted $5 million in capital expenditure investment.

"We've been in California for many years and now we're expanding and bringing in a lot of manufacturing into our business," Lourie said. "We believe Reno is a great environment to do that."

Expect more announcements of companies moving or expanding into the region in the coming months, Kazmierski said. Although COVID-19 has been a bane to the local economy, the resulting increase in the jobless rate also had the unintended consequence of making the area more attractive to prospective companies. When the area was around 3% unemployment prior to the pandemic, for example, some companies that were interested in Reno expressed concern about the availability of workers, Kazmierski said. That is no longer an issue today. 
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