The Cannery celebrating its 11th anniversary this month

Jan 14, 2014 3:00 AM

The Cannery is celebrating its 11th anniversary this month using “the world’s most interesting approach” – from lifesize cardboard cut outs of the Dos Equis man everywhere to a movie theater experience unsurpassed.

Sorry to say I can’t elaborate right now. Management made me swear secrecy. They want their customers to be surprised and I have been assured that in a low key way there will be a bunc of surprises leading up to the Super Bowl.

“The tenth anniversary was big last year so for the 11th we want it to be a little understated while at the same time enjoyable and full of great surprises for our guests,” said Patrick Hughes general manager and part time leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17).

The company, owned by the two Bills (Paulos and Wortman), has a sister property on the Eastside (Boulder Highway near Trop). They also  and Meadows Racetrack some 40 minutes south of Pittsburgh. Over the next 10 years, look for expansion into other markets.

“We are a Vegas property,” Hughes said. “But when our other properties succeed, so do we.”

And that’s what has made Cannery work over the years. This is a people first property rather than everything running through corporate. Also, its somewhat isolated location ironically turned into a major advantage.

“We are completely surrounded by rooftops as compared to when it opened,” Hughes said. “I would say we were six months ahead of our time. Craig Road is brilliant for us. We are close to I-15, Nellis Air Force Base and the Speedway. They are great partners for us and we support them tremendously.”

Comfort is really stressed out here and employees are very much a part of the daily atmosphere, not just as a workforce but being right among the customers in sharing the casino experience.

“Our customers want to come here and enjoy themselves rather than stand in line through procedures.” Hughes said. “We think of initiatives from the player’s perspective. We send surveys to customers asking what merchandize they want over the next few months. We don’t sacrifice staff for better technology. We can have both.”

The proof is in the pudding so to speak. When walking into Cannery, the first thing that hits you is that giant-sized Dos Equis promotion with the world’s most interesting man acting as a sort of doorman to the entire experience.

“We have many surprises on the casino floor,” said Holly O’Brien, director of marketing and a former newspaper writer for New York Newsday. “Our drawings are very festive. Guests come here to be entertained and we have fun along with them.”

The company is especially proud of the improvements done to the race and sports book (now with upgraded kiosks), the mobile aps and that 16-screen movie theater with unmatched reclining chairs, which makes the venue seem like a living room.

“We have one of only two Galaxy theaters in the entire area,” O’Brien said. “We also serve beer and wine and run discounted prices during the week, including a special dollar off for seniors. We have popcorn promotions, great food and old-style marquees. Just a great atmosphere and why everyone here is so glad to be a part of Cannery.”

Cannery will never be MGM Grand in size, but it doesn’t want to and, more importantly, doesn’t need to. Its customer base is different and management is less on administrative and more on pleasure.

“We want to keep evolving over the next 10 years,” Hughes said. “North Las Vegas is five times the size of the troubled area people hear about. Our location is thriving, the city is affordable, real estate has bounced back. Things are upbeat and we’re headed in the right direction.”

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and billiard marketing expert, best known for inventing the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. In the year 2000, he created World Team Poker, the first professional league for poker. He has over 30 years experience in the gaming industry and is co-founder of Crown Digital Games. Twitter @thechipburnerRobert can be reached at [email protected].

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