It is a tale as old as time with love stories fit for the big screen. Two families – Bills and Bagby – each operated their own movie theatre businesses and became fast friends working on nearby circuits. Of course spending so much time together resulted in their children, Bob Bagby and Bridget Bills, growing up together. They ended up falling in love and were later married. This union not only combined the families, but also united the two businesses, forming B&B Theatres. 

“We always joke that their marriage was arranged, but it wasn’t,” says Brittanie Bagby, the couple’s daughter and vice president of business affairs. “My parents grew up knowing each other, fell in love and got married. We are very proud of our history, and it’s a unique story with both sides of our family being in the theater business.” 

Westchester Country Club has been upgrading its facility to ensure it will accommodate the changing needs of its members and offer plenty of family oriented activities. “There has been a strong movement in the industry on valuing family, leaving the male-dominated golf clubs few and far between,” General Manager Bob James says. 

The Rye, N.Y.-based country club was founded in 1919 as a resort and country club that became a private club in 1929 when the property was sold to the members. Because Westchester Country Club began as a resort, the Main Club is unique in that it features 55 member apartments and 70 luxury suites and guest rooms. It also offers three dining rooms, two large banquet rooms, conference facilities, outdoor terrace dining and two golf course snack bars.

Known for his nature and panoramic landscape images, Peter Lik’s story began in his home country of Australia a few decades ago. Lik started four successful portfolio galleries, but he aimed to accomplish more as aphotographic artist. After making his way to the United States, he opened a gallery in San Francisco around the turn of the century. He soon decided that Hawaii was the perfect place to launch his U.S. businesses, opening LIK Lahaina in Maui in 2003. 

“It opened to an overwhelming reception, and he has never looked back,” CFO James Bevan says.

Strong Foundation

In 2005, Lik opened his first Las Vegas gallery at Caesars Palace and officially incorporated Peter Lik USA. Since the company’s incorporation, it has generated more than $450 million in gross revenue with more than 100,000 photographic artwork sold. Lik is also known for having hosted From the Edge with Peter Lik, a show that ran on The Weather Channel for one season.

Many people want to travel the world and experience unique cultures, but they are held back by limitations such as schedules. Kalahari Resorts & Conventions brings the culture of Africa stateside, through its locations in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., Sandusky, Ohio, and the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, the latter of which opens in summer 2015.

The resorts reflect the spirit of Africa, ranging “from the handcrafted artwork on the convention center walls, the artisanal furniture placed in guest rooms, recorded music from the streets of Cape Town echoing through the waterparks and authentic crafts for guest souvenirs,” Kalahari owner Todd Nelson explains. “It’s part of Kalahari’s commitment to bring guests a beyond-expectations experience.”

Resorts Casino Hotel was not alone when it began to feel the pressure of Atlantic City’s contracting gaming market. The region’s gaming industry once stood tall at $5.2 billion, the second-largest gaming market in the country. Today, that number has been cut in half as competition grew from surrounding states building up their own gaming markets. 

“The market could not support 12 casinos so four of them have gone out of business,” President and CEO Mark Giannantonio explains. “The goal at Resorts was to take a property that was losing a lot of money and make it profitable, and we’ve really laid the foundation to do that. 2014 will be the first year of positive gross operation profit since 2007.”

What’s the difference between playing blackjack in a Las Vegas casino vs. playing blackjack in a Monte Carlo casino? According to PURE Canadian Gaming Corp. President and CEO George Goldhoff, the answer to that question holds the secret to success in the gaming world. “In our business, casinos have the same products,” he says. “They have the same table games with the same limits and the same rules.”

Where casinos set themselves apart, Goldhoff continues, is not through the games but through the customer experience - atmosphere and amenities they offer their guests. Although many casinos approach this through gimmicks, PURE Canadian Gaming has taken an approach that Goldhoff says will create much more lasting effect and greater impact on its casinos’ guests. “The most sustained strategic way to do that is through company culture,” Goldhoff explains. 

The history of gaming in Mississippi may be dominated by images of majestic riverboats paddling their way up and down the mighty Mississippi River, but Pearl River Resort makes an excellent case that high-quality gaming in the state doesn’t have to involve a steam engine. Located in Choctaw, Miss., Pearl River Resort brings together a collection of world-class amenities to accompany its top-of-the-line casino and hotel facilities. President and CEO Holly Gagnon says the resort’s expansive properties and prime location make Pearl River Resort an experience unlike any other in the Southeast. 

“In the Southeast, where we stand out is that we are the only fully land-based resort in the state of Mississippi,” Gagnon says, adding that the resort’s location takes full advantage of the space as well as the breathtaking scenery that surrounds it. “It’s just beautiful geography here.”

The Orange County Convention Center is in the midst of a five-year $187 million capital improvement plan to upgrade its entire seven-million-square-foot complex. “Our mission is to continue our top-notch service to all of our clients during this renovation period,” Executive Director Kathie Canning says.

Since it first opened its doors in 1983, the Orange County Convention Center has grown from being a 150,000-square-foot event center serving its local community to one of the nation’s largest convention facilities. Today, the convention center, based in Orlando, Fla., offers more than 2 million square feet of exhibition space in two buildings and hosts more than 200 conventions, tradeshows, meetings,  banquets, consumer events and public-ticketed events annually.

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