It’s time to vote … where is everybody?

At the most recent Clark County Zoning Commission meeting, at least one elected official was having a little fun with the lack of audience members in attendance.

While talking to the owner of the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings about the establishment’s 100th birthday, Commissioner Steve Sisolak couldn’t help himself.

“If you want to make an announcement, I’m sure there’s millions of viewers,” Sisolak joked.

Then, when the next item came up and it was time for public comment, Sisolak took another opportunity to jest.

“Anyone wishing to address this issue please line up single file down the rail,” he told the nonexistent crowd.

• • •

With a changing consumer and economy, comes changing business models.

The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc., a fondue restaurant franchise, has changed its menu to accommodate a diner who is more focused on budgeting.

“The Melting Pot’s guests have typically viewed the fondue dining experience as a four-course meal that lasts about two hours, often reserving it for special occasions,” The Melting Pot President Mike Lester said. “With consumers cutting back on spending and dining out less, we knew we had to change the way we present our dining experience to encourage guests to visit more often and dine with us in different ways.”

Brand research began in 2011 and included launching a consumer-insights study, which made it apparent that a menu re-engineering project was necessary. Resulting changes include a la carte menu items, per-person pricing and increased franchisee education.

The brand has 138 restaurants in North America, and 25 locations in development. The Melting Pot, founded in 1975, is an affiliate of Tampa, Fla.-headquartered Front Burner Brands, a restaurant management company.

• • •

March is the month of openings, it seems.

Early in the month, Lane Bryant opened a 5,000-square-foot store in Henderson at 525 N. Stephanie St.

Then, midmonth, USA Boutiques owners Ava and Richard Naft held a ribbon-cutting for their store featuring only products made in America at 9500 S. Eastern Ave.

Early next month, the Swarovski boutique at the Fashion Show mall is set to reopen with a new design.

And although already open, two other venues became a bit more permanent this month.

The OPEN Business Lounge inside the Las Vegas Convention Center was bustling during the Heli Expo with attendees avidly using the space. Created for American Express OPEN cardmembers, the lounge offers convention attendees a place to relax and also functions as a place for local businesses to promote their wares.

Janitorial and floral services are provided by A1 Janitorial and Gaia Flowers, Gifts, Art. Local artwork from the Brett Wesley Gallery is also featured in the lounge.

Finally, the Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Farmers Market has been operating under a temporary permit in Henderson the past couple months, but on March 14 the market was approved for its permanent permit from the Henderson Planning Commission.

• • •

U.S. citizens had an increased taste for international travel in 2012.

Compared with 2011, U.S. travel to overseas markets totaled 25.5 million, up 6 percent in 2012. The greatest number of Americans — 11.2 million — traveled to Europe than any other overseas market, resulting in a 4 percent increase for the region. The greatest percent change, though, went to both Central America and the Middle East, where travel for both regions was up 11 percent from 2011’s numbers. In 2012, 2.4 million Americans went to Central America and 1.5 million went to the Middle East.

U.S. travel to North American markets totaled 32.2 million, up 2 percent compared with 2011. Travel to Mexico increased 1 percent to 20.4 million Americans and travel to Canada increased by 2 percent to 11.9 million Americans in 2012.

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