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Business Beat: Love for town yields discounts for tourists

One woman’s passion and love for the town will benefit residents, tourists and businesses alike.

This summer Rail Explorers Las Vegas, which is based out of the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City, is offering its guests the Red Rider Wristband Summer of Livin’ It Up in Boulder City, which provides an assortment of discounts at various businesses in town.

The program is the brainchild of Heather Abel, division manager of Railroad Explorers in Boulder City. It’s a natural extension of her support for local businesses.

When she started with the company two years ago, she worked diligently to seek local vendors to provide services for the adventure tourism company. Additionally, Abel said she and her staff regularly tout local businesses to those who come to ride the rail bikes.

“We all know the city and what it offers,” she said. “It’s important to keep people in Boulder City.”

The need to support each other became even more evident during the pandemic, she said.

In 2021, the rail bikes brought in 55,000 people to the community. However most of them, according to Abel, came, rode the bikes and then turned around and headed back to Las Vegas.

So she started thinking about ways to entice them to visit the community she loves.

Her first partnership was with Fox Smokehouse BBQ. The restaurant created a special sandwich, the Messy REX pulled pork sandwich, and offered it at buy one, get one 50 percent off for those who took a rail bike tour. Then, they added a specialty cocktail.

“Anything we can do to get business into Boulder,” said Matt Fox of Fox Smokehouse BBQ of the reason for starting the partnership, adding that riding the rail bikes is “real fun.”

Fox said the partnership was beneficial to both businesses since they rely on tourism equally. If people stop by the restaurant and ask staff about things to do in town, the rail bike tours is always one of their top suggestions, he said. Now, with the partnership, guests are referred to visit the restaurant.

“People come in all the time. Normally it’s their first time to both places. They’ve worked up an appetite, come in and become fat and happy and become regulars,” Fox said.

“It was fun,” Abel said of the collaboration with the barbecue restaurant. “Then I started planting seeds.”

Those seeds sprouted into the Red Rider program.

Each guest of Rail Explorers receives a red wristband, which, when shown to participating businesses, provides exclusive discounts on dining, retail and outdoor recreation.

Current participants include Fox Smokehouse BBQ, Cleveland’s Lounge, SIP inside the Boulder City Company Store, Chilly Jilly’z, Soda at the Nest, Evolution Expeditions, Beer Zombies and Somethin’ to Taco Bout.

The discounts are only valid on the day of tour and are limited to one discount per person; they cannot be combined with other offers.

Abel said she hopes to expand the program to include combination tours with other outdoor adventure companies and possibly the creation of a passport with a map and places to visit.

The Las Vegas division is the only one of the company’s five locations to operate year-round. Abel said to keep it interesting and deal with weather conditions, she is constantly coming up with unique tours, such as its sunrise ride and “Southwest Summer Soaker” ride during which guests find themselves doused with giant squirt guns.

Rail Explorers offers tandem and quad rail bike tours. They can be booked at www.railexplorers.net or by phone at 877-833-8588.

Pair aims to keep their cool

The owner of one of Boulder City’s newest cool treats said she is excited for the community to experience it.

Catherine Call recently started the Boulder City Shaved Ice Company after moving to town and realizing there wasn’t a local snow cone shack.

“I worked at a snow cone shack in St. George (Utah) and loved it,” she said.

Call said she and her husband, Taylor, started looking and saw that a shaved ice company in Pahrump was for sale with all the necessary equipment. So they bought it.

Currently, they offer 30 flavors of snow cones.

At the June 15 Planning Commission meeting, the Calls were granted a conditional use permit to set up their snow cone trailer at 443 Nevada Way. It is now open from noon to 8 p.m. every day except Sunday.

Additionally, they participate in festivals like Spring Jamboree or the Best Dam Barbecue Challenge. Call said they also do private events every day except Sunday.

“Snow cones are a fun family thing,” she said. “I just want to see families enjoying them during the summer.”

For more information, contact the Boulder City Shaved Ice Company at bouldercityshavedice@gmail.com.

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