Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Boulder City History
by Roseanne Shoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel

Glass Ceilings

Despite discrimination, and in spite of what has become known as the “glass ceiling,” Boulder City has always provided opportunities for enterprising women wishing to succeed in the world of business.

Ida Browder was the first such woman. She not only was granted the first quick-claim deed for commercial property located on Nevada Way, but she also constructed Browder’s Lunch Café, which served the dam workers and their families. Her story is well known to many Boulder City residents. However, throughout Boulder City’s 76-year history, many other female entrepreneurs have built successful enterprises.

One lesser-known flourishing female entrepreneur was a woman by the name of Rena Vannier. This creative woman, as a single mother, packed up her 4 children and moved across the country from Florida to Boulder City in 1979 to become yet another successful venture capitalist.

Vannier’s most successful business venture was to purchase failing restaurants throughout town and turn them into profit generating businesses. Once her restaurant was a thriving success she would then sell the place and begin the venture again with another ailing business.

The first restaurant Vannier purchased was Harry’s Café located on Nevada Way, where the Coffee Cup stands today. Harry’s then became Happy Days, which was a ‘50s themed diner with an old time soda fountain. After successfully turning Happy Days into a profit center this amazing woman sold the place and once again began the grueling process of starting over recreating yet another restaurant. Located on Nevada Highway, she bought and sold Tex’s Fixin’-n-Chicken. And lastly, she created the Old Town Depot restaurant, which was a themed railroad restaurant tucked behind the Boulder Dam Hotel.

Since Ida Browder’s early success, Boulder City has opened her arms to many successful businesswomen. Not only have these successful women reaped the profits of their labor, but they have also given back to the community with their tireless hours of non-profit fundraising, and by volunteering both time and expertise. There has never been a glass ceiling in Boulder City for energetic, business-minded, philanthropic women.

On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.

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