Whether it is learning where to eat or finding a carpet-cleaning service, moving into a new location comes with many challenges.
But Welcome Newcomers seeks to offer its assistance to new arrivals by providing them with an array of options on setting up their lives as Southern Nevadans.
“We are looking for people who have been here three months or less,” said Jean Herzog, founder of Welcome Newcomers. “It’s not if you moved to another area of town. You’re already established by that point, even if you move from Summerlin to Anthem.”
While living on the East Coast, Herzog worked for the Welcome Wagon, a similar concept to help new arrivals. But Herzog hasn’t seen anything like that in this area.
“I know the model works,” she said.
Herzog, a Henderson resident, has been gathering prospective businesses around town and hiring greeters who are expected to promote those companies firsthand.
She hopes to have Welcome Newcomers rolled out in the next few months.
Equipped with baskets filled with various businesses’ information, Herzog said her greeters would set up one-on-one sessions with people and go through the highlights of each business.
Bettina Steinhauer, one of the greeters, loves the concept.
“I am a social person,” she said. “I love meeting new people.”
In addition to giving them information about local businesses, Steinhauer said it is nice for people to know a friendly face in the area.
“And now they have a buddy,” she added. “They can keep in touch and even call if they have a burning question.”
Mary Kolesar, another greeter, said she was surprised the area didn’t have something such as this.
“It would have been nice to have this when I moved to town,” she said.
Herzog said companies pay a lot of money to put advertisements around town that don’t guarantee that people will notice or choose their business.
“(With Welcome Newcomers) you can guarantee businesses you’ll give face-to-face presentations to people,” she said.
Instead of paying thousands of dollars for one ad, Herzog said Welcome Newcomers will charge businesses $3 per visit made on their behalf.
She added she strives to have a variety of businesses and wants to have up to three businesses per category.
“If you have just one business, it’s called steering,” she said.
With three options to choose from, whether it’s three carpet cleaners or three dentists, the greeters aren’t influencing the people they pitch to.
“Just giving them options,” Herzog said.
Herzog is reaching out to real estate agencies, newcomer groups and local Chambers of Commerce to find new residents.
She is still acquiring businesses to add to the basket.
“My goal is to have at least 30 merchants in the basket,” she said. “If we have 60, that’s fine. The girls will sit (with new arrivals) as long as it takes.”
The business was started to be a fundraiser for Herzog’s nonprofit For Kids Now, which helps children with autism. Money raised through Welcome Newcomers, other than the proceeds the greeters make, is expected to into the organization.
Some of the greeters are donating their proceeds to For Kids Now.
“I’m just looking for a way to help with autism,” Kolesar said. “It’s really close to my heart.”
Herzog is still working on a website for Welcome Newcomers.
For more information, visit forkidsnow.org.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.