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Retail’s power players talk tactics at annual RECon convention

It was a sea of business suits at the Las Vegas Convention Center as 33,000 people traveled from around the world to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon Las Vegas from May 18 to 20.

Las Vegas companies such as The Howard Hughes Corp., Joshi &Associates, Moonbeam Capital Investments, Tivoli Village, Town Square and Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop were among the 1,100 exhibitors who sought to spread their company name, display their wares and seek retailers for development.

“This convention is all about egos, exposure and making new friends,” said Neonopolis owner Rohit Joshi of Joshi &Associates. “It’s so important because it’s where we all meet.”

Joshi wants to expand the food court at his Fremont Street building, which he has owned since 2006, and open up the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard by adding grassy areas and fountains.

“Downtown is a great market and downtown’s time has come,” Joshi said. “We have a lot more coming in downtown and we’ll keep pushing until we get it where it needs to be.”

Denny’s, Heart Attack Grill and Banger Brewing are some of Neonopolis’ businesses. Joshi said retail doesn’t thrive at his property, but food, beverage and entertainment do.

“With food and beverage, you can combine casual, fast, bizarre and theatrical dining,” Joshi said. “I want to shock people and give them a new experience to talk about.”

At Town Square, two stores will open soon. Cariloha, which features bamboo products, including towels, sheets, apparel, blankets, robes and socks, will open its second Las Vegas location in June. Also, fine and artisanal papers, invitations and greeting cards will be available in July as Paper Source debuts.

Also, Pot Liquor CAS, short for contemporary American smokehouse, will open in late August. Doug Bell and Flip Arbelaez created the new barbecue concept. Bell spent more than six weeks traveling through Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Missouri trying Texas brisket, Carolina pulled pork, Memphis dry rubbed spare ribs and Kansas City burnt ends.

“We believe barbecue is quickly becoming a national culinary trend and is one of the few true distinctive American cuisines,” Bell said.

The 6,622-square-foot restaurant will feature exposed-brick walls, wooden tables and communal seating.

Two stores will open by mid-June at the Linq, the outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment destination between The Quad and Flamingo, said Jackie Levy, executive vice president of operations for Caruso Affiliated, a Los Angeles-based company managing the property for Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Across from Brooklyn Bowl, F.A.M.E., which stands for food, art, music and entertainment, will feature cuisine from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, China and Malaysia along with art and live performances.

Next door to Sprinkle’s Cupcakes is the Twisted Kilt Pub &Eatery, a Celtic-themed sports bar that will offer burgers, pulled-pork sandwiches, pub pretzels with Guinness cheese sauce, wraps, wings, shepherd’s pie, pizza and extensive beer and spirits.

“We wanted to create a place where people enjoy being at, with great energy and service, as well as food, retail and entertainment,” Levy said. “I hope to see The Linq ranked among the top 15 shopping centers in the world.”

Contact Ann Friedman at afriedman@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0391. Follow @AnnFriedmanRJ on Twitter.

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