weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Digital tech in rural businesses could grow Nevada’s workforce

From her small business in Pahrump, Jessica DeJarnett does it all.

The owner of Cakes, Cookies and Creations, DeJarnett started the business in November, a move that allowed her to simultaneously work from home and watch over her 1-year-old son, Everett. It’s a one-man show, with DeJarnett promoting, baking, decorating and delivering the sweets herself.

Her business is taking off in Pahrump, but her deliveries also include hour-long treks to Henderson and Las Vegas, something she chalks up to her online presence. She estimated about 80 percent of her customers find her through social media.

“Everybody is digital,” she said. “On Facebook and Instagram, they’re able to see how passionate I am.”

According to a recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Amazon, technology is playing an increasing role in economic growth. The report found rural small businesses in Nevada could increase sales enough to add more than 9,800 jobs to the state over the next three years if they utilize more digital tools.

The future of growth

The March report, “Unlocking the Digital Potential of Rural America,” found the use of digital tools, including access to high-speed internet and social media, are gaining traction in rural areas, and can help expand business’ customer base.

“Technology is important everywhere, whether it’s a town of 1,000 or 1 million. It’s the future of growth for every size of business,” said Tim Day, the senior vice president for the chamber of commerce’s Chamber Technology Engagement Center.

The survey found online tools boost sales for nearly 55 percent of rural small businesses across the U.S., and nearly 20 percent of those businesses generate most of their revenue through online sales.

Overall, technology and digital tools boosted rural small business’ gross sales 17 percent over the last three years, contributing $38 billion to the annual U.S. GDP and creating nearly 300,000 full-time jobs.

And there’s still room to grow, according to the report.

“We still see a great untapped economic opportunity ahead, especially for businesses in rural America,” an Amazon spokesperson told the Review-Journal.

Lack of tools in rural America

DeJarnett said she doesn’t face many rural-related challenges with her business, although she’s used to losing cell service as she runs deliveries.

“It’s usually when I’m going over the pass to Vegas,” she said.

Pahrump has decent mobile and internet service, said Paul Miller, the executive director of the Nye County and Esmeralda County Regional Economic Development Authority. But he said there are other rural communities in his region that aren’t as lucky.

Internet connection is an “asset we can’t afford not to have anymore,” Miller said. “If there’s no broadband or no fiber and they have to rely on satellite, it can be expensive. … it would make it difficult for a business to compete.”

According to the report, high-speed internet and mobile phone connectivity are “crucial” for small, rural businesses.

Raj Tumber, a business mentor for nonprofit business advising company SCORE, said rural areas often lack infrastructure, technology and accessibility to resources and education compared to cities.

“Living in the middle of nowhere, that’s always going to be a disadvantage,” he said.

The report found rural residents make up 15 percent of the U.S. adult population, but 27 percent of rural residents still don’t have access to high-speed internet. Additionally, many rural areas lack skilled IT professionals.

Importance of technology

Tumber said that by incorporating more technology, businesses can increase their sales and revenue and, in turn, hire more people.

“Technology keeps evolving constantly. If you don’t catch up with it, you’ll fall behind,” he said.

Day said he hopes the report’s findings push local, state and federal leaders to advocate for more access to digital tools in rural America.

We want to “educate people across the country on what can be afforded to businesses if they have the right technology in place,” he said. “There’s a real need, and the ability for that growth is important.”

Miller said the state is already moving toward implementing more broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

“Technology is a great asset to the rural and what I call the frontier communities,” he said. “Without it, they would have a more difficult time being in business.”

DeJarnett said she hopes that, in time, she’ll be able to expand her business. She has dreams of opening a storefront that includes a child care facility, so her employees won’t face the same challenges she did as a working single mother.

“I want to build something from the ground-up,” she said. “That’s my big dream.”

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Billboard industry robust in Las Vegas

Back in the late ‘60s, Jonathan Fine’s grandfather was the valley’s second largest billboard owner. Today, Fine and his partner Jonathan Gudai are working to change the out-of-home advertising space.

Innosance aims to attract foreign entrepreneurs to Las Vegas

Sarper “Sharp” Celenk and John Unal are working to introduce entrepreneurs — most of whom are based in other countries — to mentors and investors through their startup incubator Innosance, named after a mash-up of “innovation” and “renaissance.”

Entrepreneur Q&A: Thompson Tee co-founders say ‘cash is king’

Last August, co-founders Billy Thompson and Randy Choi moved the e-commerce company from California to Las Vegas for its friendly business climate, and said they haven’t looked back since. Thompson Tee is now nearing its 1 millionth T-shirt sold.

Henderson-based Xtreme Cubes sees growing industry

The local company builds modular street structures they describe as “giant, prefabricated Legos.” The blocks come in a range of sizes and can be interlocked and used for things like offices, residential buildings, retail buildings and remote work sites.