These Silver State Businesses Will Make Your Friends and Family Gush
By Eric Cachinero & Amy Vigen
Whether you’re shopping for a picky spouse, hard-to-impress boss, or friend that seems to already have everything, Nevada’s assortment of unique, locally made products is sure to please.
Your hard-to-buy-for husband will swoon over his own homebrew kit from Just Brew It, an assortment of teas from Davidson’s Organics will remind your boss on stressful days of what a thoughtful—and valuable—employee you are, and that friend with everything almost certainly doesn’t have an original piece from Windzart or Jan Rollenhagen.
Black Rock Mud
“People say, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ Well, life gave us mud so we’re selling cosmetic mud!” That’s Shelly Egbert’s motto. She and Summer Powelson created Black Rock Mud Company two years ago. The mud comes from Egbert’s property in Gerlach, on the edge of the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada. Her father, a falconer, originally purchased the property 12 years ago as a place to teach baby falcons to fly.
While relaxing in the property’s hot springs, the family discovered a buttery, green, odorless mud that they smeared over their skin. They found that the mud helped clear acne and eczema and made their skin smooth. Egbert and Powelson decided to make a business of it. With the determination to be green, organic, recyclable, and made-in-America, Egbert set out to find packaging companies that met this standard. And after a middle-of-the-night inspirational idea, Egbert decided to package the mudpots in wildflower paper boxes that recipients can plant and watch grow.
In order to sustain a prolonged supply of mud and protect the environment, the mud is only harvested twice a year—in spring and fall. The mudpots, $59 per four-ounce jar, can be purchased online and in several Northern Nevada spas, such as Spa Toscana at Reno’s Peppermill Resort Spa Casino.—Amy Vigen
Black Rock Mud Company
500 State Route 34, Gerlach, NV 89412
Davidson's Organics (Tea)
“You’d be amazed at all you can do with tea,” says Promilla Mohan, co-owner of Davidson’s Organics. With more than 200 blends, Davidson’s prides itself on flavorful teas imported from India, South Africa, China, and Egypt—but blended and packaged in Nevada. Mohan, a third-generation tea farmer from India, grew up watching her father and grandfather work on tea farms.
After moving to Reno, Mohan and her husband, Kunall Patel, were determined to create their own business. They formed a strategic alliance in 2007 between some of the oldest organic tea farms in India and the Davidson family, who were organic tea manufacturers in Reno. With tea blends ranging from Vanilla Cream Spice and Mandarin Chai to Caramel Peach with Coconut, Davidson’s teas are sure to please tea connoisseurs. Prices range from $2.95 for an eight-pack of tea bags, $5.50 for a 25-pack, and $14 for 100 bags. Tea is also sold loose, and both types can be found at Davidson’s Organics outlet store, Whole Foods, and local cafés and restaurants.—Amy Vigen
700 E. Glendale Ave., Sparks, NV 89431
Eclipse Technologies Inc.
From blocking the scorching sun on a blistering summer day, to keeping insects and other pests out of your home, Carson City’s Eclipse Technologies’ retractable awnings and screens, custom built by Minden’s Valley Door Works, offer a stylish and sensible addition to your home. Founded in 1999, Eclipse Technologies aims to provide customers with exceptional retractable door and window screens and motorized screens that appeal to the eye and are simple to use.
The company’s motorized retractable awnings are not only elegant and effortless to operate, they also block 100 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays and are available in 16 designer fabric options. Conventional screen doors are often noisy and unsightly; however, the retractable screen offers a comfortable alternative that is fashionable and virtually silent while opening and closing. Eclipse Technologies’ screens can fit practically any opening, including options for boats and RVs.—Eric Cachinero
Eclipse Technologies INC. (VALLEY DOOR WORKS)
1180 Angel Crescent, Ste., 105, Minden, NV 89423
Fisher Space Pen
Gaining its esteem during its use on the Apollo 7 mission in 1968, the Fisher Space Pen has withstood the test of time. Selected by NASA as the first trusted pen in space, the original AG-7 Space Pen has since evolved to include many new designs and styles. Since moving its manufacturing facility in Boulder City in 1976, the Fisher Space Pen has been used by President Ronald Regan and taken on a Mount Everest ski expedition. Using nitrogen-filled ink cartridges, the pen can write in the harshest conditions, including zero gravity, underwater, over wet and greasy paper, and at any angle. The Space Pen can also withstand extreme temperatures from minus-30 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.—Eric Cachinero
Fisher Space Pen
711 Yucca St. Boulder City, NV 89005
Fire Puck matchless fire starter’s revolutionary design allows users to harness the power of fire in their hands anytime and anywhere. Whether quickly igniting a campfire or lighting barbecue coals, the Fire Puck’s blend of eight materials creates the perfect fire every time with its easy-to-use design. To ignite, simply remove the tamperproof label, lift off the cap, and strike the cap on the starter button of the Fire Puck. Using 65 percent organic materials, the Fire Puck will burn for about two to three minutes at 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit and is able to withstand winds up to 35 mph. It can also ignite in rainy and freezing conditions. Weighing in at 60 grams, the Fire Puck is perfect for hunting, fishing, camping, and in a survival kit.—Eric Cachinero
2248 Meridian Blvd. Ste. H, Minden, NV 89423
To some, gourds are just plants. To Jan Rollenhagen, they are canvases for her unique artwork. For more than 15 years, Rollenhagen has been designing gourds in a time-consuming process that includes allowing them to dry—which makes them wood-like—and sometimes wood-burning them, which allows her to give the gourds a patterned design. Previously a fashion designer and artist, Rollenhagen decided to transition from making cast paper sculptures to designing a cheaper-to-ship object—gourds.
While western-themed gourds are her biggest sellers in Nevada, she also makes gourds with coastal and whimsical designs and Christmas ornament gourds. Designs range from those clad in 22-karat gold, to baubles adorned with pinecones and pine needles. Rollenhagen’s gourds vary in size from the four-inch ornament to 30 inches high, and prices range from $35 to $250. The gourds can be purchased online or at the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas and Lone Tree Gallery in Minden. Rollenhagen also takes special orders.—Amy Vigen
Just Brew It
Located in the heart of Carson City, Just Brew It is a family-owned business that is sure to have you sipping your own delicious bottle of beer in no time. Catering to the curiosity of beer-loving beginners and the tried-and-true recipes perfected by seasoned brew masters, Just Brew It has all the supplies, ingredients, and advice to ensure that your homebrewing experience is a pleasurable one. From unique beers such as Blackberry Porter to standard American Pale Ale, its selection of more than 30 beer recipes is guaranteed to spark interest in a wide range of beer lovers. Just Brew It also offers winemaking kits, and equipment and ingredients to make cheese and soda.—Eric Cachinero
Just Brew It
1210 N. Carson St., Carson City, NV 89701
Kimmie Candy Company
Kimmie Candy Company is not your average candy store; from chocolate-covered sunflower kernels to edible chocolate “rocks,” it’s sure to surprise and satisfy one’s sweet tooth with its unique products. Joe Dutra, president of Kimmie Candy, brought the Sacramento-based company to Reno in 2004, and it has been a hit ever since. Dutra calls it “the biggest little candy factory in the world.”
The company prides itself on its Nevada-made products and also offers candies that are gluten-free, peanut-free, and kosher. Along with Choco Rocks and Boulders, Kimmie Candy offers Choco Almonds, Kettle Corn Nuggets, and their newest product, DateMe’s: candy-coated and chocolate-covered date pieces. If you have a taste for something new and out of the ordinary, try the Habañero Kettle Corn Nuggets: a unique sweet and spicy combination. Kimmie Candy products can be purchased at its factory in Reno, Winco stores, Sweet Factory inside Meadowood Mall, and at the ASUN Bookstore Pack Pit Stop on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.—Amy Vigen
Kimmie Candy Company
525 Reactor Way, Reno, NV 89502
The Reno eNVy trailer has become the iconic symbol for the Reno/Tahoe clothing company that locals have come to know and love. The company made its mark in spring 2005 while testing its product at the Reno River Festival. After sales of the company’s original shirt were a great success, owner Scott Dunseath decided to start selling clothing fulltime. He has since expanded the product line to include Reno eNVy sweatshirts, tank tops, glassware, and even toddler and infant clothing. In addition to a website, Reno eNVy clothing can be purchased at three retail locations, including the Reno eNVy Store in downtown Reno (which doubles as a visitors center). The company also offers any three Reno eNVy shirts for $50 during the Riverwalk Merchants Association’s Wine Walk on the third Saturday of each month.—Eric Cachinero
135 N. Sierra St., Reno, NV 89501
Roger Bracco started his Windzart Company in 2003, making stainless steel kinetic figures that spin and twirl in the wind. As his art caught the attention of neighbors, Bracco started selling his pieces and creating new designs. He uses new stainless steel sheets for his pieces and shapes them in a backyard shop, focusing on creating unique, attention-grabbing pieces. In addition to adding some excitement to backyards, Bracco’s art also shows the direction and speed of the wind. Bracco is currently working on lifelike sculptures for the yard; metal chickens with feathers of purple, green, and blue hues that are baked on in a convection oven. He plans to expand his stationary art with different animal designs to accompany the chickens. His art can be seen and purchased at Greenhouse Garden Center in Carson City.