Reno businesses cash in on Burning Man

Photo: BLM Nevada / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Reno businesses are cashing in as more than 65,000 burners make their way through Northern Nevada.

The official start of Burning Man is Sunday, August 28, but thousands of people are hitting the aisles of Reno shops and grocery stores to stock up on last-minute needs before they leave for Black Rock Desert.

"We came into Reno last night and we spent thousands of dollars," said Ben Hitchins, who traveled from Australia for Burning Man.

At Midtown's Melting Pot World Emporium, Burning Man brings in about a quarter of the business' annual revenue, according to owner Eric Baron.

"I liken this to a tsunami, and it's like a tsunami of burner business hitting us," said Baron. "It's making landfall now."

The Melting Pot has extended their house to make sure no burner is turned away.

"It's mind blowing. This is the 'burniest' burner shop of them all," said Cassandra Hoffman, who also traveled from Australia for Burning Man.

Some Reno marijuana dispensaries also say they are seeing an uptick in business, even though possession is still illegal under federal law.

Mikel Alvarez, director of retail at Blum, says they've seen an increase in about 75 customers per day the last several days.

Alvarez says they are not running out of pot yet, because they stocked up heavily in anticipation of Burning Man.

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