Personality, Creativity Spark Las Vegas Bake Shop

This wonderful bake shop appears to have closed more than a year. The concept was great fun. Sad to see it go.

Taryn and Robyn of Pick Your Poison Bake Shop
Taryn and Robyn of Pick Your Poison Bake Shop

First Published, December 11, 2011: My Sunday ritual includes reading the Las Vegas Review Journal and Las Vegas Sun, cover-to-cover, accompanied by a whole wheat bagel and vanilla hazelnut coffee. Reading cover-to-cover can payoff.

Today, I caught a 1-column on page 2 of the Las Vegas Sun. The headline grabbed me: Cupcake Artists Bake With BoozeAfter reading the item, I jumped right to the website of Pick Your Poison Bake Shop. The two owners are ‘fun lovin’ gals’, Taryn and Robyn. And they might just be the Ben & Jerry’s of cupcakes.

Their flavors are creative concoctions, many of them, infused with booze. They don’t limit themselves to alcohol-inspiration. Also soda pop flavors, fruit creations, chocolate and more. One look at their cupcake array and you’ll want to jump on a flight to Las Vegas.

They’ve only been in business since March 2011, but they are competing, tonight, in an episode of Cupcake Wars on Food TV (check your local listing). Who knows whether they’ll use and established flavor or go off the chart and create a first-time-original-one-the-fly.

It’s people like Taryn and Robyn that make being diabetic, difficult. Maybe I can talk them into creating a one-off diabetes-friendly flavor, inspired by me. I can dream, anyway.

“Being ‘The Best’ is a passing fantasy. Being ‘Definitively Different’ is where it’s at. Pick Your Poison Bake Shop is the latter!

Cupcakes: Infused with Booze
Cupcakes: Infused with Booze

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Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Annie’s Gourmet Italian Restaurant Version 2.0

In the kitchen with Grandma Cungie and Annie
In the kitchen: Grandma Cungie & Annie

In late 2009, Annie Payton, CPCE, opened Annie’s Gourmet Italian in Henderson, Nevada. She did so, on the heels of being laid off at Reflection Bay, a golf and event venue… as Greater Las Vegas descended into considerable recession.

The cozy, home-style Italian restaurant had its share of successes and challenges. To move into a fresh success-cycle, Annie considered the options and decided to pursue a new location, doubling seating, upgrading from beer and wine to a full bar,  and adding gaming machines in the bar (The Lost Weekend Bar).

The Lake Las Vegas Marina continues to call on Annie’s as a preferred vendor for its weddings and parties on its yachts. This relationship provides a base of activity for Annie’s off-premise services.

Annie's Gourmet Italian

The pet-friendly patio was a highly-appreciated feature of the original Annie’s location. During regular business hours, customers were free to bring their 4-footed friends. The area was sufficiently large to accommodate special events, too.

In searching out a new location, Annie launched a new outdoor space, Ookie’s Garden Pet Friendly Patio.

Achieving Superhero Status

Pasta Primavera
Pasta Primavera

Anyone who has built out a business, from scratch, or expanded/remodeled their home, will tell you about running the gauntlet. In Annie’s case, she continued to operate her original location, while overseeing construction of the new location.

The confluence of contractors, inspectors, hiring and training new employees, and long work days were a taxing experiences. All of these while maintaining a going concern at the original restaurant location. Annie pushed on… 

With a seemingly unending string of ‘surprises,’ on all fronts, Annie pushed on.

The Grand Opening Has Arrived

Enjoy a cocktail! at Annie's Gourmet Italian
Enjoy a cocktail!

Monday, May 19th, is the Grand Opening of Version 2.0 of Annie’s Gourmet Italian. Ribbon cutting by Henderson Mayor, Andy Hafen, and dinner service, beginning at 4pm.

Beginning with the Grand Opening, Annie Payton will lead her staff and customers into a new era. Annie is a soft spoken and spirited leader. She lives in the present and future; for her employees and customers. And those qualities are the soul of her business.

If you live in Greater Las Vegas or have occasion to visit, make it a point to enjoy a meal at Annie’s. You’ll not only eat well and enjoy family-style surroundings, but see the end result of incredibly hard work from everyone involved.

 “La Vita e Bella!” (Life is Beautiful!)

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Google Plus SEO Power – "Sands Websites Hacked"

Google Plus SEOSands Websites Hacked were the first three words in the title of a post I wrote about three days ago. The were several reasons for writing that particular item.

  • Sands Corp. is not just a Las Vegas brand for Palazzo and Venetian. It is an international brand for nine properties.
  • Websites and all matters that affect them (design, marketing, and security) are important to all businesses, particularly our wedding and hospitality readers.
  • Successfully hacking the Sands website infrastructure, taking it offline for almost a week (as of this writing), is a siren call to ALL businesses.

Writing for Readers

Raw numbers of site visits are occasionally worth noting, but all clicks and all readers are not created equal. Different visitors, interested in specific content are drawn to websites for various topics. Writing compelling SEO-friendly headlines are the high-powered magnet for readership. If the story has value, then you’ve got something.

Sharing posts via Google + is just one part of promoting blog content. It is rocketing Wedding Marketing Blog content to the top of Google. I noticed a spike in site visits and traffic to the Sands-post, specifically. I ran Google searches for two, single words: Sands and Hacked. I was pleased and shocked to find that each of those search words found the post in the Top 10 Google Results.

More specifically, it was the Google + sharing of the post that drove the post Google’s PAGE ONE.

What does and does not work in SEO today

It’s not about link farms or keyword stuffing. Be precise, write compelling content for the reader, and algorithms will take care of their part.

Google Plus SEO

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon 
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Sands Websites HACKED – Hotel Offline since Tuesday

In a cautionary tale of global proportions, websites of Las Vegas – based Sands Corp. have been inaccessible for five days.  Wedding and event customers, hotel guests, management staff, employees…. everyone has been shut out by closure of its nine websites by hackers.

The welcome page for Sands Corp. looks like this (as of 2/15/14):


An Associated Press report, on the ABC News site begins as follows…

AP_logo_update_20130709“Websites for casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp. remained down for a fourth day on Friday, while company, state and federal investigators trace the origin and effect of a hacking intrusion.

The Internet sites of Sands properties including the flagship Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas and its Pennsylvania, Singapore and Macau resorts remained inoperative, and company spokesperson Ron Reese said officials were assessing which systems had been affected.

Sands took down websites for its properties on Tuesday morning, leaving a website-maintenance message and a checkerboard photo display of resort names and phone numbers for bookings and reservations. READ MORE

Hacking is not “routine maintenance.”

In fact, the occurrence was a ‘break-in, with vandalism’. The full extent of damage and motives for the hacking are not fully clear. And, it is not simply a matter of restoring the sites from a back=up. The security of the site(s) is at issue. It is necessary to determine how the systems were compromised, design a more robust defense, before repair and restoration occur. It’s difficult to project how long the sites will remain inaccessible.

Small Business Perspective

Your website or mine is more likely to be the target of a prank. Any website that utilizes e-commerce is a potential target for hacking. In the days ahead, I plan to publish a few posts about the safety of your site and its information.

These days, almost all inbound inquiries utilize your website. If your website is offline for any significant length of time, your inbound marketing stops, along with your sales.  None of us can afford to be in that situation.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon 
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog