A year after it opened its travel center, with success beyond original projections, Railroad Pass Casino is expanding.
Construction is underway to nearly double the size of the parking for semitrucks and add a helipad for tours to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. Additionally, owner Joe DeSimone said he is negotiating to add a branded hotel tower, such as a Holiday Inn Express, to the property.
“Every night we are full of trucks,” DeSimone said.
As a result, DeSimone said they are adding 72 truck parking spaces and 50 slot machines to accommodate the demand.
Currently, there are 110 parking spaces for trucks.
DeSimone said the combined income from the travel center and casino is more that what was projected, and they have seen two and a half times more business/traffic than before the travel center opened.
“The numbers so far are up and we can afford to do it.”
After a shaky first day — only $300 worth of fuel was sold — business has been steadily increasing. On a typical Friday, for example, the travel center sold more than 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel alone for an estimated $33,000, he said.
He credits much of the success to Vilma Navarro, manager of the travel center, who continually makes changes to keep their customers as satisfied as possible.
Navarro said the key is to offer products that appeal to travelers, and have a clean and friendly environment. One thing she has done is train her staff to greet each person as they walk in.
She said their goal was to get 1,000-plus customers a day inside the travel center by the end of the first year, which they accomplished three months early.
The convenience store inside the travel center is three times the size of a typical convenience center and carries a variety of products to suit most any need, she said.
Navarro added she also is very proud of their 100 percent scores from Chevron’s secret shoppers, who critique the facility to make sure it adheres to the company’s strict standards.
The first project that will be completed will be the helipad for partner Maverick Aviation Group to launch tours to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.
DeSimone said making all the changes is far less stressful than the lack of customers during the construction of Interstate 11, building the travel center and the first few days it was open.
“It was stressful when no one could get here,” he said.
He said it was hard on the employees, though he made an effort to keep everyone on board during the slow time.
Now, “the employees are really enjoying having their customers back.”
DeSimone said they are seeing the same or more number of residents from Boulder City at the casino since before the bypass opened and they are trying to increase that number daily.
“The whole new dynamic hasn’t hurt our regular visitors from Boulder City because they don’t have to deal with the trucks,” DeSimone said.
On the move
Distressed & Disorderly is taking its eclectic mix of accessories for the home to its new home in Oregon.
“I am sad to close the store but I’m glad we got to have the experience with the store and Boulder City,” said owner Kari Livingston, saying that she and her husband received some “pretty great offers to relocate back to Oregon.”
The store, at 1400 Wyoming St., Suite 3, will close in July.
Plans are to hold a mixer for the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce on July 10 that will double as its going away party. She said her favorite food truck, Dazzling Bistro, will be there for the festivities.
Those who don’t want to drive the distance for the store’s unique offerings can shop its new website, http://distressedanddisorderly.com. Additionally, she said they will return to Nevada once a year for Vintage Market Days in Summerlin.
“I love all of our amazing customers,” she said.
Sushi for lunch
Momo Sushi, 561 Hotel Plaza, is now open Sundays and for lunch.
The Japanese cuisine restaurant offers lunch specials including chicken teriyaki, salmon, beef and vegetarian plates as well as Bento boxes with a variety of sushi rolls and tempura fried vegetables. Sushi and sashimi combination plates are also available.
Momo’s lunch hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The restaurant is open for dinner from 4:30-9:30 p.m. those same days. It is closed Mondays.
New name, location
With its new location came a new name for Vinny’s Pizzeria. The Italian eatery is now Vinny’s Little Italy and located at 1312 Boulder City Parkway, Suite D.
The longtime Boulder City business has the same menu and hours at the new location. Additionally, it is still open for lunch Wednesday through Friday. The restaurant’s hours are 4-9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
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