In the third annual Economic Business Preview, a crowd of approximately 120 residents listened to three of Mesquite’s most influential people; Corey Clemetson, co-owner of Wolf Creek Golf Course; Mesquite Mayor Al Litman; and Greg Lee, CEO of Eureka Casino Resort.
After a brief introduction on each speaker’s background by Jeff Powell, a CSN Business instructor and retired President and General Manager for Roberts Dairy Co., each gave their perspective on what has happened in the past year and where they are looking to for the future.
Litman began by recapping his State of the City address from the January 27 City Council Meeting, reiterating that Mesquite needs to do things carefully and decide what it wants to be, while accommodating the increasing population. “As Harry Truman said, ‘the buck stops here.” And that is my attitude at City Hall,” he said. “What we do now is going to impact us in the future. As the city goes, so do the businesses. As the businesses go, so does the city.”
He urged the community to work cooperatively to help things be more productive.
Litman mentioned the situation with the new Medical Marijuana facility that is being placed over by Fire Station 3 off of W Pioneer Boulevard. “It’s going to bring more good things to Mesquite, rather than bad things. We had a divide in the community about allowing it to be here, but it will be a good thing.”
To show how much Mesquite has changed, Litman noted that his first visit to Mesquite was back in 1964, when he was traveling from Minnesota to his future home in Los Angeles. “Mesquite was nothing; there was no freeway. There was only Old Highway 91 that went through town, and a truck stop at the end.”
Mesquite has made improvements by leaps and bounds since that point 50 years ago, now supporting most of its nearly 18,000 population.
Greg Lee began his presentation stating that according to reports from the Las Vegas CVA— Mesquite is on its way to get back to its rates and visitor stats from 2008, right before the big economic recession. “If you look at our numbers, you’ll see that they’re fairly stable,” he said. “But the big thing is that when you look back to 2008, you’ll see that we have 30% fewer rooms. We have that many fewer people.”
He continued by stating that the goal of the Eureka, and part of their plan, is to continue to target those that are most likely to come to Mesquite, the ‘Baby-Boomers’. “We look at what will entice them and we cater to that. We do what we can to bring as many of those outside-visitors to Mesquite, and partnering with Wolf Creek helps with that.”
Lee also noted that as common business sense, raising rates for rooms and golf and other amenities are necessary for any business to stay afloat.
Lee went on to discuss their intentions with the old Mesquite Star that sits across from Smith’s on N. Sandhill Boulevard. A couple of years ago, it was the spot that Flying J had intended on purchasing for a truck stop location. That idea was squashed by the community, citing monstrous traffic ordeals. The Eureka purchased the property soon after, with a clause from Mesquite Gaming that they would not have any gaming-related business within the property that would compete with other businesses in town.
“It’s realizing that for us, under the terms that we bought it, that it could not be gaming related,” he said. “We looked at other drivers that could benefit the hotel, and what other businesses we could bring in to partner with. While room rates are still low in Mesquite as from anywhere else, it’s hard to make that investment right now. You have to look at the growth potential. We need a boost to do that new project.”
Clemetson began by summarizing the progress of Wolf Creek’s new Kids for Sports Foundation, which had its first fundraiser on January 17, 2015 and raised a net $14,000 for the foundation, an epic amount for a first attempt by any local organization.
The goal or purpose of Kids for Sports is to assist low-income families in the Mesquite area with costs associated with sports, whether it is uniforms, gear or even transportation to competitions. “This whole community has really gotten behind it, and I really cannot thank you enough,” he said.
Moving on to Wolf Creek’s past year, Clemetson revisited the course’s darkest moment last February when he and his brother Chad decided to close the course due to deteriorating conditions. “People get used to a certain level of quality, and we weren’t able to provide that. We made the difficult decision to shut it down.” With the support from the community and other golf courses, Wolf Creek was able to work around the clock and open the course in time for the busy season.
“Right now, Wolf Creek is in about as good of condition as it has been in a long, long time,” he said.
Clemetson also cited the hiring of Darren Stanek, the newest General Manager of Wolf Creek and the golf industry’s constant struggle to survive in an ever-changing economy.
“Even in pre-recession, golfing was a rough industry. Post-recession, we’re still trying to figure out ways to stay afloat.”
He agreed with previous statements made by Litman and Lee that the costs of operations are continually increasing, proving that businesses, including the golf industries, need to think outside of the box to make ends meet and still provide the level of quality that has become expected from them.
Over the next year, several things will be influencing Clemetson’s businesses quite a bit. Everything from Obamacare to the proposed water rate hike. The two combined could raise expenses for Wolf Creek by $100,000 or more. As if that wasn’t enough, Governor Sandoval’s talk of changing Nevada’s education standards and taxes may take an even bigger bite out of the picture, creating even more walls to jump in order to survive.
These hardships won’t only be felt by Wolf Creek. These proposed rate increases, taxes and fees will affect everyone in the state, no matter if they are a common consumer or the owner of a small business.
Clemetson concluded with leaving the crowd on the edge of their seats that there will be a big announcement in the near future that will project Wolf Creek and Mesquite further than ever before. “Stay tuned,” he teased.
The forum went on with questions from Powell directed to all three speakers as well as several questions from the crowd directed towards the Mayor.