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

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

Great Meeting Venues Draw Strong Las Vegas Crowds

Neon MuseumAssociation and Networking meetings draw great value from their chosen venue. Having attended and presented at hundreds of local and regional events in a business lifetime, it’s amazing how magnetic some venues are.

And when attendance starts to climb, it seems everyone wants to be there. Put together a few successes in a row, and the momentum builds, dramatically.

Last month, the Las Vegas Wedding Network held an event the Neon Boneyard Museum. It is the retirement gathering place for many of Las Vegas’ historical casino and hotel signs. The museum has been open for a couple of years, but only recently has it really taken shape and become an event venue… particularly in the evening.

The ingredients included: A theme, activities, variety of food and beverage vendors, contests, cool furniture, tours of the venue, Elvis, Sinatra, and color…. lots of color!

The results: People, interaction, energy, networking, and people who didn’t leave early!

This Tuesday, July 9th, the Las Vegas Wedding Network is going to have another success on its hand at The Mob Museum… or as its known in some circles, National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement.

The theme is: Crimes of the Heart

It doesn’t hurt to write pithy copy… either.

notable-namesLas Vegas Wedding Professionals will surely enjoy hanging out with their favorite Gangsters and Molls at The Mob Museum on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 at 6:30PM. This night is sure to be one you will not easily forget. The libations will be pouring with “Bride’s Bouquet and “Groom’s Last Chance” – a tasty concoctions that are sure to whet your appetite. Tasty “Mobster” munchies and yummy desserts will be served up. And oh ya don’t forget the music, put your “zoot” suit on and join the flappers while danc’in to some hopp’in Jazzy tunes.

Join all your industry friends who will be dressed up in Mobster and Moll attire. Don’t miss out on the fun spirited ”Line-up” Mixer Game , that will keep you guessing – who’s the good guy and who’s the snitch. Leave your guns behind that night because everything will be on the hush hush “quiet like” you know. If not a thorough shake-down will be given at the door.

Join your hostess Veronica “The Moll” Fendt from the Mob Museum and Arlene “The Doll” event planner from Semper Fi and the Bridal Spectacular Gang for an evening you’ll remember..if you survive. You will never say, “Fuggedaboutit!”

If you’re a Las Vegas local, or just want to fly in for the night… maybe for a sight inspection, heck, come see what all the fuss is about.

Find out all the details…

Later this week, I’ll be writing about an entirely different event, with an entirely different angles. If you are a leader in an association or networking group, it doesn’t hurt to look around. Every city, no matter how large or small, has interesting venues, particularly when the programs and participation are assembled with creativity and care.

The Mob Museum

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Wedding Marketing Fallout of ‘One Bad Apple’

wedding marketingFlashback!

On July 9th, I blogged about the fiasco of 7/7/07 weddings, perpetrated by the Las Vegas Garden of Love Wedding Chapel. At the end of August, there was an update, noting a lawsuit against the same chapel by MGM/Mirage & Bellagio.

Since then, there have been various updates in the Las Vegas newspapers and beyond. A couple of months ago, Las Vegas Garden of Love lost its license to do business. The chapel has closed up shop and its website is gone.

The impact of its misdoings and demise, still ripple through the Las Vegas wedding industry. Some inbound wedding couples, caught unaware by the closing, had to scramble to complete their vows. Former competitors of the Las Vegas Garden of Love have helped, in a big way, thereby preserving the good name of Las Vegas.

Despite that goodwill, the number of people coming to marry in Las Vegas is down for the third straight year. A recent article in the Las Vegas Review Journal, cites a number of factors, including the sagging economy. However, many people feel that Las Vegas weddings, and Las Vegas Wedding Chapels, in particular, have suffered wedding-marketing-fallout from industry in-fighting, fueled by the Las Vegas Garden of Love.

Some of the existing wedding chapels have hired former employees of Las Vegas Garden of Love. The results have been less than stellar. When one knows of the deficiencies of people, by direct observation or checking their history, it’s only prudent to believe the information and keep your distance.

The only thing more powerful than good public relations is bad public relations. The notion that “all publicity is good,” is foolish.

Who you choose to hire, and who you choose to associate with, outside your business, are critical decisions.

In this case, just one business with questionable ethics and practices, appears to have an impact on many businesses around it.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog