started out in the mid-90s in a cabin on the Truckee River
meadow on the edge of the forest...
...just outside the town of South Lake Tahoe,
where your hosts Tom and Mary Kay Aufrance of Aufrance Associates
did business in their loft with a high speed phone connection,
several Web servers and a batch of phone lines to provide full
Internet services, including local dial-in acounts and email as
well as Web sites. It was quite a sight to see the enormous bundle
of phone wires that was strung from the phone pole to our rustic
remote chalet in those days!
"We couldn't start our business in a garage,
because we didn't have a garage!" laughs Mary Kay.
The banner on top of every page on the site,
with a rainbow shining in front of the ridge up to Mt. Tallac,
was taken from a photo she snapped from the deck of the cabin.
She took the photo at 6:30AM one morning with an old 70's era
pre-digital Minolta SLR camera and digitized it for the Web site
by using a big old flat-bed scanner hooked up to a Mac Quadra
650. Those were the early days of the Internet.
With that beautiful view of the meadow, mountains
and wildlife, plus an appreciation for outdoor activities, the
Aufrances embarked on several Internet ventures.
"We wrote seven software products in that first
year, and we sold them worldwide. We also created a lot of web
sites for Lake Tahoe and Truckee businesses and orgainzations.
Then, pretty soon we could afford a garage!" adds Mary Kay.
From the loft of their Tahoe cabin to the world,
the Aufrances web site became the first site in the entire world
to have its own search for real estate, because it was the beta
site for the their software product: Real Estate Internet™.
REI was the first Internet Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and
it is still in use on TahoeHighSierra.com as well as elsewhere
worldwide. Today, the TahoeHighSierra.com real estate and lodging
search includes all listings from all the local realty board MLSes
as well as additional hotel and motel properties, making it unique
and very popular among Lake Tahoe visitors and residents.
Back to those early days of the Web - instead
of going big time and seeking out venture capital to ride the
Internet boom roller coaster, Tom and Mary Kay were happy to invest
their business efforts into developing software services and a
business that they could run as their own small and independent
sole proprietorship. Today, they still enjoy the benefits of running
things on their own, and TahoeHighSierra.com is full of search
engines and wizards and other spiffy features that they created
together. Also, the Aufrances are still enjoying doing business
and living in the Sierra Nevadas, just 20 min. down the road from
Lake Tahoe's Spooner Summit.
we have grown out of the little loft with skylights where we viewed
many a starry Tahoe night while developing Web sites and software,
we still enjoy getting out there to hike, run or bike the trails,
ski in the Winter and more. We have many customers who, like us,
started on the Web in the mid-90s and are still with us! We're
grateful for the business relationships and friends that TahoeHighSierra.com
has prospered! Thank you for using TahoeHighSierra.com"
Tom and Mary Kay