Distinctly Vegas - Marshall Retail Group

OK - eyes up from the gambling, if only briefly.

During my recent visit to Caesars Palace, a friendly lady named Margo at the Total Rewards desk recommended Carina's, a clothing store inside Caesars, and (she promised), "Much cheaper than anything in the Forum Shops." Hey, I don't go to Vegas to shop, but why not?

I stopped in about 10 p.m. Intending to walk in and out, I stayed almost an hour delighting in the wide assortment of fun, very moderately priced clothes. I picked out a dress to give a friend who is going away for a spa weekend, I tried on some strappy gold sandals, and I picked out some lightweight, colorful blouses that were great in the heavily air conditioned casino. The top-notch staff really knew their inventory, which (as a kid of a retailing family) I truly admired. Turns out Carina is part of the Marshall Retail Group, and the sales staff (Debra and Cindy) had such great things to say about the company I came home and did a little research.

I'd seen Marshall-Russo stores for decades - most recently at Bally’s, Excalibur, Harrah’s, & McCarran International Airport. Cute clothes, cute shoes, and a pretty good place to pop into for moderate-priced presents to take home. It's not Vegas-themed t-shirts and tchochkes (for that go to Casino Royale or Imperial Palace). Still, the stores were mostly background scenery.

Maybe the stores were background to me, but this privately-held Vegas based company is a highly successful chain of retailers with stores in 70 casinos and resorts. The Marshall Retail Group owns dozens of brands - Carino, Shoooz, Along Came a Spider, among them. They also operate Harley-Davidson stores chock full of biker regalia, leather goods, and logo items (found at Bally's, MGM Grand, New York New York, Fremont Street and the Rio).

I'm emailing the company, asking for more info about the founders and philosophy - and will post what I get. In the meantime, the next time you're in Vegas, remember that not everything interesting in Vegas comes with neon. Here's a very nice, boutique-type company with eclectic inventory and friendly staff. It's a Vegas success story that you can enjoy away from the casino.

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