Category Archives: Las Vegas Shopping

Gamblers General Store Moves to New Location

A longtime go-to shop for gambling-related products in downtown Las Vegas, Gamblers General Store, has pulled up stakes and moved to a new location.

Thankfully, the store has only move about 180 feet from its former location, so customers shouldn’t have too much trouble locating it.

Here’s a look a the new digs.

Gamblers General Store

Two words: Dice table felt. Take it home. Learn the game. Get back to Vegas and stick it to The Man. Not to be confused with the “stickman.” Different thing.

The new address for Gamblers General Store is 727 S. Main St., Las Vegas, NV 89101.

From what we hear, the rent got too high at the former location, so the business made a move.

Here’s a hastily-assembled video for a look inside.

At the former location, there were several attempts at a restaurant inside the store’s footprint, but the most recent (and most promising), Dough Dough’s Hawaiian Cafe, tanked.

The restaurant closed “temporarily,” but the operators never came back. It appears no restaurant is in the cards for the new Gamblers General Store location.

Gamblers General Store

If you like gambling, this is the place for you. If not, WTF is wrong with you?

Gamblers General Store has been in operation since 1984. The store boasts 15,000 gambling products, including not only cards, dice and chips, but also items with awesome names like “lammers.”

Beyond the retail shop, the company’s makes some bank with personalized custom chips. Gamblers General Store has made chips for TV shows and movies, including “The Sopranos,” “Ocean’s 11” and even “Casino.” Both Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and former Mayor Oscar Goodman get their promotional chips from Gamblers General Store, and that’s endorsement enough for us.

Our home is pretty much a hoarder’s paradise for items we’ve gotten from the Gamblers General Store, so check it out if you’re in the neighborhood.

Learn more at the official Web site.

Sprinkles Cupcakes to Close at Linq Promenade

The flagship location of Sprinkles Cupcakes is set to close at Linq promenade on July 5, 2019.

Sprinkles has been a fixture at the Linq shopping district since it opened in 2014. To its credit, Sprinkles lasted longer than many of the mall’s original tenants.

Sprinkles cupcakes

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because frosting.

According to a notice posted at Sprinkles, the store will expand to “two new locations on The Strip this fall.”

Sprinkles closed

Always look on the bright side of life. Thanks to James T. for the pic.

Sprinkles made headlines for its cupcake ATM. The Sprinkles cupcake ATM was touted as the world’s first.

Cupcake ATM

Cupcakes, direct to your face.

Sprinkles opened its original location in Beverly Hills in 2005. The company has more than 30 locations across the country.

The company was founded by Candace Nelson, who we took a photo of in 2014, because we’ve taken a photo of virtually everything.

Candace Nelson

We’re a big fan of scoop.

Yes, they served ice cream, too. And cookies. But it was really about the cupcakes.

While we didn’t visit Sprinkles too often, we’re a little sad to see it go. Because whenever a cupcake store closes, an angel loses its moobs. Or something.

Speaking of moobs.

Oh, sure. Now, you’re drooling. If you’d visited more, there would still be a Sprinkles at Linq!

It seems the Linq promenade has already found a replacement for Sprinkles, Icebar. Icebar opens in November 2019. Visit the official site.

Icebar

It’s hard to be broken up about liquor replacing baked goods, sorry.

Sprinkles is being tight-lipped about the two new Vegas locations, but we trust we’ll see the return of these master bakers soon.

Oh, like we were going to get through an entire story without a single “master baker” reference. Do you know this blog at all?

Update (7/7/19): Word on the street is Sprinkles has struck deals with MGM Resorts, and the most likely candidates for future Sprinkles locations are Aria and MGM Grand (Park MGM is also a contender). For the record, Sprinkles has officially said “no comment.” Cupcake scoop for the win.

What’s Next: Gift Shop at Excalibur Rolls Out Surge Pricing

It seems like we’re often the bearer of bad news, but somebody has to do it.

A guest of Excalibur has informed us the resort’s 24/7 gift and sundry shop is now using surge pricing. We stopped by to confirm, and it’s true.

Surge pricing, of course, is most closely associated with Uber, the rideshare service. At times when demand is highest, Uber bumps up their prices.

We’ve shared some Las Vegas restaurants and bars use surge pricing, but we’ve never heard about it happening at a hotel gift shop.

Excalibur 24/7 store

The last time we were at 24/7, we were admiring the tiaras. No, really.

There are virtually no prices on the items in Excalibur’s 24/7 sundry shop, including on things like toothpaste, sunscreen, bottled water, Pepto and snacks.

Guests are only informed of prices when they check out. Surprise!

We asked a cashier, “How do customers know how much things cost?” She replied, “They ask me and I tell them.”

No, really.

surge pricing Las Vegas

Enjoy gambling? That’s what you’re doing when you purchase these items, because you have no idea what they cost until check-out.

Employees at the store communicated to one customer prices are based upon demand, specifically, hotel occupancy. The higher the occupancy, the higher the prices.

From what we can tell, this reeks of bean counters (commonly referred to as “consultants”) and MGM 2020. MGM Resorts owns Excalibur, by the way.

MGM 2020 is a massive cost-saving initiative. The plan is supposed to save the company $200 million by 2020 and another $100 million by 2021. Dozens of top executives have left the company, and hundreds of managers and directors were recently laid off, with 1,000 more to be let go in the weeks to come. Read more.

We’ve also shared machines will be replacing service bartenders as part of MGM 2020.

MGM Resorts has been scrutinizing every aspect of its business to increase profits, and we suspect they’ve done market research showing tourists don’t particularly care if their sundry store dental floss is $3 or $4 when they’re on vacation. If they don’t seem to care, why commit yourself to the lower price when demand goes up? (Related: If people still play triple zero roulette, why not make it even more of a thing?)

Excalibur

Has anyone ever actually seen a sundry?

While incredibly annoying, we can’t really fault MGM Resorts for trying to increase revenue and profit, but there’s just something that seems wrong about surge pricing.

It feels like being nickel-and-dimed.

Resort convenience stores have always been a bit of a price gouge, and it compounds the frustration not knowing what you’ll be paying until you check out.

We’ve been beating the drum that visitor perceptions about nickel-and-diming are changing visitation patterns, and in combination with increased competition across the country, Las Vegas casinos are suffering.

It’s unknown if other gift shops at other MGM casinos will being implementing surge pricing (hint: they will).

Update (5/20/19): We’re hearing surge pricing is now common at resort gift shops both at MGM Resorts hotels and Caesars Entertainment. Two hotels mentioned specifically were Flamingo and Rio.

In Vegas at the moment, analytics drive everything. MGM Resorts has said MGM 2020 will include “key investments in technology” which will “lay the groundwork for the company’s digital transformation to drive revenue growth.”

Excalibur surge pricing

The name of this store could be 27/4 or 274, you just don’t know. Visual metaphors for the win!

Surge pricing is all about collecting data and determining what the market will bear, then adjusting prices based upon demand. “Dynamic pricing” is how MGM Resorts referred to this pricing in an earnings call.

It may be smart business, but it’s likely to be perceived as just another way Las Vegas is squeezing every penny from visitors.

There are glimmers of hope, of course. Wynn and Encore recently announced they’re rolling back paid parking (no validation needed). Other Las Vegas resorts are offering room packages that drop dreaded resort fees.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you find yourself in a casino gift shop with surge pricing, let us know.

Wynn Plaza Shopping Complex Opens Sans Hoopla

After months of keeping us in suspense, Wynn Las Vegas has opened its Wynn Plaza shopping promenade with virtually no fanfare.

The 70,000-square-foot Wynn Plaza made its under-the-radar debut on Oct. 11, 2018.

It’s a beauty.

Wynn Plaza

Wynn Plaza has been teasing us for months, now we finally get to be all up inside it.

Wynn Plaza boasts a new must-see piece of artwork, Smiling King Bear by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel.

Smiling King Bear is 16 feet tall and is done in the artist’s signature prismatic style, which is definitely something we didn’t just copy and paste from a news release.

Wynn Plaza

Do not try this at home. We just told you the thing is 16 feet tall.

While Wynn Plaza is slated to have about 25 tenants, it’s worth noting the shopping center opened with about half that number. We trust that’s the reason for months of delays, and the aforementioned lack of flair around the mall launch.

Remember, Wynn Plaza is part of Wynn Las Vegas.

Back in the day, the former CEO would’ve not only insisted all the stores be in place when the mall opened, he’d have arranged for fireworks or a parade or something over-the top to mark the occasion.

Back when Steve Wynn opened Mirage, there was an erupting volcano.

When he opened Bellagio, there were dancing fountains.

When he opened Wynn Las Vegas, the whole world was watching.

But times have changed. Steve Wynn is no longer at the helm of Wynn Las Vegas due to a cavalcade of sexual misconduct allegations, and not only that, Wynn Plaza isn’t even the sole owner of Wynn Las Vegas.

Wynn Resorts sold half (49.9%) the ownership of Wynn Plaza (and other retail space at Wynn and Encore) to Crown Acquisitions in late 2016.

Wynn Plaza

Vegas is so cool, even our shopping malls are a feast for the eyes.

Does the co-ownership or half occupancy explain why there was no celebration around the opening of Wynn Plaza? Who knows. We’re not even entirely sure we care. It’s shopping.

Still, we love shiny new things in Las Vegas, and Wynn Plaza is certainly that.

Wynn Plaza

There’s even a nod to the Parasol Up and Parasol Down bars inside Wynn. We have no idea if it’s a nod, but using the word “nod” serves to make us sound smarter.

Beyond the multi-colored bear, there’s another piece of high-profile art at the other end of the mall, Arrows and Flower Neon Sign by Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh.

Takashi Murakami is known, of course, for revitalizing traditional narratives of transcendence and enlightenment. The Internet, it seems, has a lifesaving news release for every occasion.

Wynn Plaza

Three million bucks! With that, you could get upwards of six handbags at Wynn Plaza.

The security guard said the artwork is valued at $3 million. We are clearly in the wrong line of work.

Did we mention it moves?


There are currently two dining options at Wynn Plaza, the highly-regarded Cipriani and Urth Caffe.

Wynn Plaza

Urth Caffe is a top, Cipriani is a bottom.

We can’t wait to give Cipriani restaurant and bar a try, not only because of the warm, welcoming decor, but also because they didn’t kick us out for taking photos of the place.

Wynn Plaza Cipriani

There’s a lot to love about Cipriani, and we didn’t even look at a menu.

Urth Caffe looks appealing as well, and not just because it has a metric ass-ton of desserts on display.

Wynn Plaza

Urth is described as a “European-style coffee shop,” which we assume means it doesn’t shave its legs.

We weren’t kidding about the desserts.

Wynn Plaza

When you’re wealthy, you can just order the calories to not adhere to your thighs.

Wynn Plaza has a number of luxury brands, approximately zero of which we’re the target audience of. To make things even more awkward, no one that shops at Wynn Plaza would ever end a sentence with a preposition.

Wynn Plaza also has an indoor cycling center, SoulCycle. Which is just sort of weird. Partially because it’s in a mall. But also because it sounds like people may voluntarily exercise.

The folks at Wynn Plaza have obviously taken a lot of time and care in both designing the space (credit for that goes to longtime Steve Wynn collaborator Roger Thomas) and selecting tenants.

Here’s an interview with the Wynn Las Vegas retail guy.

While we’re not a shopping person (we own a total of one blazer), we suspect affluent shoppers will appreciate the stunning design of Wynn Plaza as well as the brands offered, a number of which are new to Las Vegas.

Wynn Plaza

It’s not that Celine, but the brand confusion could work in the store’s favor.

Despite the fact half of the stores aren’t open yet, things should pick up moving into the holiday season, and Wynn Plaza is well worth a stop.

Eventually, people are going to notice if you only have one blazer.

Wynn Plaza

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Wynn Resorts Rights a Wrong, Rolls Back Paid Parking

Few saw it coming, but Wynn Resorts has bucked a trend by announcing it will give free parking to its hotel guests, as well as a way for us commoners to get free parking, too.

Your first question, of course: Las Vegas hotels make their own guests pay for parking?

Well, yes. Where have you been?

Currently, Wynn and Encore charge guests for self-park and valet, a trend that’s become the norm in Las Vegas, just as it is in other cities.

Self-park rates run $7 for the first 1-2 hours, $12 for 2-4 hours and $15 up to 24 hours. Valet charges currently run from $18 (up to two hours), to $27 for 24 hours.

Starting July 1, 2018, that all changes.

Wynn Encore

Wynn Resorts could use some positive buzz right about now. Free parking is a great place to start.

Guests of Wynn and Encore will be able to self-park or valet for free. Remember when free parking was a thing in Las Vegas?

Free parking for hotel guests will be included in their $39 resort fee. Wynn Resorts assures customers the resort fee won’t be increased to accommodate the new policy.

Don’t get us started about resort fees. That’s a fight for another day.

But wait, there’s more.

Non-hotel guests will also be able to park free, albeit with validation. Guests will be validated upon receipt of a $50 spend at Wynn or Encore.

That minimum can be spent at all the retail stores, restaurants, shows, nightclubs and lounges at either of the resorts.

Players will be pleased to hear even money spent gambling counts toward the $50 minimum spend to get free parking. The company hasn’t release details about how that will work, but we trust they’ll figure it out.

Wynn parasols

Sorry, gazing at the pretty things won’t get your parking validated. Buy a couple of drinks, though, and you’re good.

This change in paid parking policy is a pretty big deal in Las Vegas. Paid parking is an ongoing source of frustration for visitors, and many believe is has caused a shift in public perception of Las Vegas as a value destination.

We are one of those people.

So, what’s the motivation behind Wynn Resorts’ move?

Well, there’s the official answer, referred to as “horseshit” in public relations parlance.

Maurice Wooden, President of Wynn Las Vegas, said, “We have come to believe that charging additional parking fees is counter to the personalized service we provide. This new policy directly reflects the way we know our guests want and deserve to be treated.”

So, it suddenly dawned on them guests don’t like having to pay for parking? Right.

Wynn $5,000 machine

This machine at Wynn is $5,000 per spin. You’re covered on the parking.

Wynn Resorts has at least three reasons to change its paid parking policies.

First, its restaurants, shows and retail stores have taken a hit since paid parking was instituted. And it’s not just happening at Wynn and Encore, but at casinos all across Las Vegas.

Restaurants don’t receive the financial benefits of paid parking, at all, so they’re being hurt with nothing to show for it.

Increasingly, restaurants, shows and retail stores are letting their casino overlords know they’re suffering, and it appears Wynn Resorts is listening.

Second, it’s Wynn Resorts, so there’s an undeniable public image component.

Generously setting aside parking fees can’t hurt during a time when Wynn Resorts is trying to restore its tarnished reputation following the Steve Wynn sexual misconduct scandal.

Wynn Resorts is throwing everyone a bone. Which, come to think of it, is what got Steve Wynn in all that trouble in the first place.

We’ll wait.

Wynn funny chip

Oh, like we’d do a story about Wynn without including this chip. Do you know this blog at all?

Third, follow the money.

Wynn’s neighbors, Venetian and Palazzo, still offer free parking. That means many customers park at these competing casinos and walk to Wynn and Encore.

One of the cardinal rules of Las Vegas casinos: Don’t send customers to a competitor. Guests may intend to pass through Palazzo to gamble and dine at Wynn, but there are lots of distractions along the way.

So, the bottom line is Venetian and Palazzo deserve props for holding strong on free parking. If they’d rolled out paid parking, it’s unlikely Wynn Resorts would be changing its policies.

Palazzo

We all owe you a beer, Palazzo.

Along those same lines, let’s not forget another neighbor with free parking: Fashion Show Mall. You can bet there’s a collective sigh of relief at retail outlets inside Wynn and Encore right about now.

We can only hope the new parking program at Wynn and Encore is an acknowledgment by casinos that paid parking is an unnecessary annoyance to customers.

Paid parking is a short-sighted revenue play that hurts brands and, ultimately, Las Vegas.

Let’s hope the other big casino companies in Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts (which started this whole paid parking mess), see the light, too.

Las Vegas North Premium Outlets to Charge for Parking

Yes, we even break Las Vegas shopping mall news.

The Las Vegas North Premium Outlets mall will begin charging for parking on March 27, 2018.

Las Vegas North Outlet Malls paid parking

Remember guys, don’t tell your significant other you hate shopping. Tell them you’re taking a stand against paid parking policies!

The move follows in the footsteps of Las Vegas casinos, despite people actually being interested in casinos.

Here’s a letter from the mall’s management company, Simon Property Group, that spells out some of the details of the new paid parking policies at Las Vegas North Premium Outlets.

North Premium Outlets Las Vegas paid parking

Tenants be like, “How is this helping me, again?”

Nevada residents will continue to park free, as will employees of the mall and tour buses.

The cost of parking will be flat $5.

The 40-acre Las Vegas North Premium Outlets has about 175 designer and name-brand outlet stores. The mall touts the fact the stores offer savings of 25% to 65% off. Notable outlets include Coach, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tory Burch and others.

The mall opened in August 2003.

For better or worse, the dam has broken in Las Vegas when it comes to paid parking. And, by that, we mean “worse,” of course.

It’s likely Las Vegas North Premium Outlets is testing the waters with its new paid parking policy, with an eye toward evaluating the impact on tenants.

We continue to hold out hope that if businesses are negatively impacted by charging for parking, they’ll roll those fees back.

We’re delusional like that.