How Broadacres was born
It’s like a traversable mirror of the past: the trailer park across the street.
That’s what this tract of land was before Broadacres.
It started with only four acres. Its name, dimensions and ownership have changed. But one thing hasn’t: This has always been a family business.
It began with the Bowmans. They were vendors themselves, opening Broadacres Swap Meet in 1977 as a place to sell their produce. They had never run a business. Yet soon they were buying additional land as Broadacres grew to 20 acres by the time they sold it to the Danz family in October 2007. With that, it became Broadacres Marketplace.
Current owner Greg Danz’s father helmed a series of swap meets in their native California. When Danz came to Las Vegas to oversee their new acquisition, he sought to transform Broadacres from a place where you went to shop to a place where you went to shop and then stayed awhile.
“We would study the traffic, and people were spending less than 30 minutes there,” Danz recalls. “They were just going, buying something and pretty much leaving. I walked on there, and I could see the potential of what they were missing.”
Broadacres was about to get a face-lift.
They purchased still more land, razing a nearby apartment complex to more than double in size. Then came a beer bar and an adjacent stage, the centerpiece of a small yet bustling amphitheater. Next they added lights, illuminating the grounds. Now Broadacres could host bands on Friday nights, staying open until 11.
They experimented with booking country music and tribute acts but soon found their niche in Latin music, with norteño and banda artists, among others, drawing large crowds.
“That’s what changed everything,” says Broadacres General Manager Yovana Alonso, who has seen all this develop firsthand. Alonso started here in 1993 at 15, pitching in at her aunt’s stand. Now she helps run the place.
She remembers when a stop at Broadacres was about getting what you needed and then getting to wherever you were going next.
“Back in the day, my father hated shopping, so he’d bring his list, rush and get out of here,” she recalls. “Now you bring him, he’s here all day.”
The transformation has paid dividends: Danz estimates that his customers now spend an average of two hours per visit.
“I don’t really come here to just spend my money,” says Javien Espino, a Broadacres patron strolling the grounds on a Saturday afternoon in a blue Ecko T-shirt and camouflage hat. “I come here to interact with the people. You bring your kids. You walk around. You have a good time. People know each other here.”