DVA Member Profiles – Cathy Brooks – April 2019

DVA Member Profiles – Cathy Brooks – April 2019


Cathy Brooks, Chief Human Officer of the Hydrant Club, and her 70-pound Labradoodle came to Las Vegas on vacation in the summer of 2012. She answers a few questions about her subsequent move:

Where are you from originally, and how did you land in Las Vegas?
I like to say I’m genetically bi-coastal. I was born and raised outside of Philadelphia, PA but spent the majority of my life in San Francisco, CA. In the summer of 2012, I came here on vacation, invited by my friend, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, to check out what was then the very nascent efforts of the Downtown Project to revitalize the Fremont East section of downtown Las Vegas. When I came on that vacation in the summer of 2012, I wasn’t alone. I brought my 70-pound Labradoodle, Truman, with me. Over the course of my 10 days here, I had no fewer than 3-4 conversations a day about the role of a dog community in this fascinating landscape of downtown. By the end of my trip I’d committed to submitting a business plan for what now exists at The Hydrant Club.

What led you to create the Hydrant club and why did you choose downtown Las Vegas for the location?
To go a bit further into the story. Though my previous “life” was primarily as a communication consultant in Silicon Valley, for a number of years I’d been working on the side as what I describe as a lay dog trainer. I had several clients with whom I worked on basic obedience and behavioral stabilization training. In 2001, after testifying in a murder trial where a woman had been brutally torn apart by two dogs that lived in her apartment building, I deepened my engagement on the topic of dog behavior and more importantly the evolution of the domestic dog and most importantly how to be responsible stewards of dogs in urban environments.

This was my passion and “hobby” work from about 2001 until my vacation to Vegas in the summer of 2012. On that trip, the magic of serendipity pulled together a perfect storm of opportunities – seeing a market with an enormous need for education – both for dogs and people; the need for a safe space where that learning could take place; and a redevelopment effort through the Downtown Project that was willing to invest in my idea. The location was largely due to my business partner (they already had the land on which to put the business) but more than that, the idea of having the opportunity to play a central role in revitalizing a neighborhood and helping bring together a community was too good to pass up.

Why did you join the Downtown Vegas Alliance and what do you hope to get out of membership?
As a small business owner, partnerships and alliances are crucial for the stability and growth of the business. When I first moved here, I thought most DVA members were located downtown to the West of Las Vegas Boulevard and in and around the Fremont Street Experience. In the last year or so I attended some functions and noticed that the DVA’s reach extended into Fremont East as well as the Arts District. In addition, there was a considerable growth of smaller businesses participating. Joining this group is as much about what I can give back into this community as well as what my business and I might enjoy in return. It has been an honor to be one of the first to lay groundwork in Fremont East and I’m excited to work with others – existing and new – to continue this growth.

What are your favorite locations / activities for a laid-back Sunday afternoon downtown?
Well, The Hydrant Club, of course! Fewer things are more lovely than laying in a thick carpet of green grass in the shade of an enormous tree with my dogs! If not here, I love Vesta Coffee Roasters and PublicUS for a snack. Always nice to sit on the patio at either Atomic Liquor or Three Sheets Craft Beer for a beverage with friends.


  • Dayvid Figler and Rae Lathrop

    DF: Downtown was great as a kid and it is even greater as an adult. I love all of downtown’s hidden gems, its vibrancy, history and sense of connection. Rae is relatively newer to Las Vegas, but just as passionate about downtown. Downtown lends itself to the shared experience, and as a couple we both love seeing this part of the city through each other's eyes. Photo: Lucky Wenzel


  • Rob Ponte

    Some of the best nights I’ve experienced started out with no plan other than walking around to check out what’s going on. The great thing about having so many bars and restaurants downtown is the ability to move around if you’re not feeling the vibe in one place. There are plenty of options just outside the door. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Brandon Wiegand

    The downtown Las Vegas of today has much to attract residents - a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene, growing diversity of businesses, and major centers of art and culture. Plus, living downtown I am easily within walking or biking distance of it all. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Hank Gordon, Chairman of Laurich Properties

    It is always a pleasure to deal with the city of Las Vegas’ economic development department. The staff is really interested in helping create a positive business environment to work with.

  • Jonathan Jenkins, Founder & CEO of OrderWithMe

    As our company continues its rapid growth, we quickly realized the need to set up a formal U.S. headquarters. We explored multiple cities and were about to make the move to San Francisco, and then we heard about the complete reinvention of downtown Las Vegas. Coming from China where things are booming and growing, we love that downtown Vegas now has a similar vibe of energy and change. Not only is there an exciting tech community here and much lower costs than the Bay Area, but we love the fact that almost every industry group brings their conventions to our front door once a year.

  • Andy Hsieh, Owner of Lux Delux

    We love the vibrancy and energy of Las Vegas, and downtown is at the heart of it all. That's why we've launched our mobile platform with a focus on downtown. This is an exciting time in Las Vegas history, where community, commerce and technology are all converging at once. Downtown is our city's hidden gem.

  • Ramesh Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Partnerships of SocialWellth

    We chose to relocate from the suburbs to downtown for several reasons. Our brand image and that of downtown’s mesh perfectly. The new downtown Las Vegas reflects a more hip, startup, social media-style image. Additionally, downtown’s emerging technology corridor, anchored by Zappos, is an environment that enhances our ability to recruit the types of technical skill sets required for our continued growth and success.

  • Mark Brandenburg, President of Golden Gate

    I think downtown Las Vegas is a unique blend of intimacy and great energy. Plus, in contrast to The Strip, it’s so easy to walk around…The Golden Gate has been here for over 100 years and with all the changes going on downtown, it feels like a new era. It truly is a renaissance—the rebirth of a classic.

  • Roberto Mendoza, Co-owner of Banger Brewing

    The city has been great in helping us with the licensing and procedures necessary to start a business. There hasn't been a brewery built in the city of Las Vegas for probably 10 years. So for them it hasn't been a typical ‘cut and paste’ thing. We're something different. It was a team work process to get us opened – a lot of talk and listening on both sides. And now the city started opening up the doors for other breweries once we were up and running. Good news for us and good news for the future. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)

  • Alexandra Epstein, Executive Vice President of El Cortez Casino Hotel

    This downtown area… is emerging and where many events are happening.

  • Meghan Mossler, Owner of Stitch Factory

    The city and the department of economic development have been very helpful to us and all the other downtown business owners. It’s such a community here, and everyone asks you what you need. That kind of help launching a business is amazing and priceless.

  • Pamela Dylag, Co-owner of Velveteen Rabbit

    The city is so supportive of new businesses. Things are popping up constantly. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)

  • Marc Abelman, CFO & Co-owner of Inside Style

    Downtown is becoming very much in demand…there’s a limited supply. Run fast, don’t walk.

  • Sam Cherry, CEO of Cherry Development

    For a while, downtown was one of the only places in the valley you would see cranes when you drove around. It was nice that city government stepped up and the private sector married with the public sector to create amazing projects that filled the gap. That was very important for us.

  • Johnny Jimenez, Owner of Toy Shack of Las Vegas

    Our business is booming amid the foot traffic on Fremont Street, and we’ve started to see how tourists are falling in love with downtown as they discover it. In the past year, we’re increasingly hearing things like, ‘Wow, next time we’ll stay downtown instead of on The Strip,’ or ‘We’ve visited downtown many times, but this is the first year we’ve actually stayed in a downtown hotel.’ They like that there is more to do within a smaller walking radius.

  • Rich Worthington, President and CEO of The Molasky Group of Companies

    Historically, downtown Las Vegas has not been a top destination for many locals, but in recent years… that trend is reversing itself. Given all the recent openings and progress, there’s much to explore and experience downtown.