CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -- Tahoe Supply Company started because of an unpaid bar tab.
Its origins begin in the fall of 1967 when Dominic Spallone opened the Rams Head Bar in Incline Village at 881 Tahoe Boulevard in the same building now used by Woodstove Distributors.
His son Nick Spallone, who is now the CEO of Tahoe Supply Company, remembers walking to his father's business after school.
"That was day care for me for several years... I'd hang out and watch people playing cards and just help roll coins. Do what is needed to be done and a lot of dish washing," Nick said.
In time, his father Dominic grew tired of the 24-hour demands and that's when when another opportunity fell at his feet.
A customer named Kevin Vail (his friends called him Boomer) offered up a part of his struggling business because he could not pay his bar tab. Dominic accepted the payment and walked away from his life as a bar owner.
The two men became partners in the spring of 1980 and called their business Rams Head Cleaning. It was sold two months later, but Dominic opened the Tahoe Supply Company on his own in August 1980.
The original building remains standing at 872 Oriole Way in Incline Village, where Tahoe Supply Company products are sold to this day.
Nick was 10 years old when he first stepped inside. "Smelling the soaps and the different formals," he recalls.
"We were manufacturing a lot of our own chemicals and I would go in and help put the caps on the bottles," said Nick.
The business has grown to two 20,000-square-foot warehouses. One is in Carson City and the other is in Las Vegas. There are also three satellite offices in Incline Village (the original building), along with Truckee and Sparks.
Nick says he is proud of his Carson City facility at 3315 Research Way. "511 is one of our best-selling products. We ship it all over the country... we sell it from gallons to 275-gallon totes," he said.
It was created by a chemist, but strengthened and modified over the years by Dominic.
Sales are booming. They jumped by $2 million in 2018, Nick says. New businesses moving to northern Nevada are driving this growth.
Half the sales are made by hotels and casinos. The hospitality industry makes up 50 percent of sales, followed by local schools and universities. The general public is also a customer.
The products are a major reason the business is thriving. Walking through the hallways of his Carson City facility, Nick stopped and picked up a small bottle of laundry detergent. "What's really great about their system. It's a solid. They've melted out all the water and liquids. This is equivalent to a five-gallon pail," Nick said.
The idea is to reduce shipping costs and to reduce the overall price for the customer.
Another popular cleaning product is called Microban. "The floors continually kill bacteria whether you clean it or not," said Nick.
Workout muscle cleaner is also a big hit, especially on some city streets. "It's a heavy duty cleaner that will remove graffiti. It's like a power cleaner, but what's great it doesn't use some of the harsh chemicals a lot of companies use."
Machines are also big business at Tahoe Supply Company. "A lot of these machines here are part of our rental fleet. People need stuff temporarily and so we accommodate them with rentals," Nick said.
The equipment includes carpet cleaners, vacuums, and hard floor cleaners. The costs range from $20 a day to several hundred in that same time frame.
When you buy one of these products, your money stays local boosting our local economy.
Tahoe Supply Company keeps 45 people employed across Nevada and California and once hired, employees stay an average of 15 years, Nick says. The northern Nevada Company is hiring. It's looking for delivery drivers, repair people, and accountants.
Nick's employees say he is one of the founders of the North Lake Tahoe Boys and Girls Club.