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Business changes may signal economic growth spurt

<p>Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - County property tax records reveal Mountain View Casino, which has struggled, was acquired earlier this year by Herbst Pahrump Acquisitions.p>

Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - County property tax records reveal Mountain View Casino, which has struggled, was acquired earlier this year by Herbst Pahrump Acquisitions.p>

Signs of life in the local economy are cropping up all over town.

Herbst Pahrump Acquisitions reportedly acquired Mountain View Casino. Wulfy’s was recently sold to a California company. Multiple sources tell the Pahrump Valley Times that Joe Richards’ The Kingdom strip club is for sale. Mountain Falls Golf Course is under new management. A new fast food restaurant recently opened, and more.

Allan Parker, a business consultant for the Rural Nevada Development Corporation, agrees that as of late, there has been much action in town relating to assets changing hands and even brand new businesses setting up shop in the community.

“The last one that I’m aware of is the Tropical Smoothie business on Highway 372. Some people would say it is just another fast food restaurant; it’s a little bit more of an upscale premium type place. I think for what they have and for the needs of Pahrump, I think they can do very well. That is the type of small business where they would have enough appeal to the residents here,” he said.

Parker noted that Mountain View Casino for the past several years has seen a dramatic drop in terms of the number of people who frequent the establishment.

“I have been in there a couple of times and there is not a lot of activity going on there in terms of what it once was. At one time they had a very good restaurant there and I used to go quite often to eat dinner. They ended up closing up half of the restaurant and made more room for slot machines and gaming. I don’t think that it is getting the play that some of the other places in town are getting at this point in time,” he said.

Parker also pondered what may become of Mountain View in light of the change in ownership.

“It is interesting to think about what may happen in that regard. We can see that there is indeed a trend here with some of these established properties here in town being sold. Some of it may be on the part of the desire of the owners to make changes right now,” he said.

Another change to established businesses in town has been witnessed at the Mountain Falls community.

The owners, William Lyons Homes, hired Par 4 Golf Management team to oversee day-to-day operations on the golf course.

The company has a strong track record and presently manages Spanish Trail, Silverstone, Badlands and Primm Valley courses in Las Vegas.

Par 4 enlisted the services of Jason Pomroy, a one-time PGA Tour professional from Primm Valley to take over as the new golf professional at Mountain Falls.

Pomroy managed the Primm site for three years.

The former pro recently said that his management team was excited to be here in Pahrump.

“We plan on doing the same thing we do at our other courses,” he said. “We want to deliver our top-notch service to Pahrump. This is something we take great pride in. We bring the little details that make the customer want to come back and play. That is what we want to bring out to Mountain Falls.”

It remains to be seen what kind of changes will take place at the Mountain Falls Grill Room restaurant.

Parker said he believes that Pahrump is still lagging behind when it comes to bringing more upper-scale type eateries to the community.

He prefaced his thought with concerns about Pahrump’s population and whether it could be financially viable for a company to bring higher end businesses to southern Nye County.

“In addition to what we call fast food restaurants, something like an Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s or a Chile’s would also be nice but I just don’t think that we have a large enough population right now for that. We are still in that high $30,000 range. I know a lot of these mid-box stores and national chains want a population base of least 50,000 or more to even consider it. We are a little bit below that which is why we don’t see a Kohl’s or Target. From a retail point of view I don’t think we’ll see much more than what we already have at this point in time,” he said.

The business consultant also mentioned one popular business that recently was sold to a California firm.

Ray Wulfenstein built the complex from the ground up starting back in 1972.

“The former Wulfy’s is now called Draft Picks and shows that there is some movement in the business sector. The ownership that bought Wulfy’s also bought the hotel, RV Park and the car wash. That other facility that has been boarded up on the property has never been used. At one time when it was first constructed, I recall that there were thoughts to have it as an independent operation in the capacity of a casino, but for whatever reason that never happened,” Parker said.

Parker also offered up a few thoughts on what he believes would be a good fit for the community in terms of the vacant building at the site.

“What I would like to see depending on the interior square footage would not be movie theatre but more like a performing arts center with a stage where bands could come in and play. It would be more like an indoor Sanders Winery. They do some things in their courtyard with concerts and performances. If it had enough seating capacity which I think it does, you could use it for small concerts or off-Broadway plays. The largest area with seating capacity would be the Pahrump Nugget Events Center. The nice thing about that location is that it’s on Highway 160 and very visible. The new owners I’m sure have some kind of idea in terms of what might come down in that regard,” he said.

As far as further growth around town, Parker said there have been several missed opportunities to have businesses in the agriculture industry put roots down in the community.

“From time to time we get possible agricultural opportunities. People look at this area because of the abundant sunshine. We sometimes get interest in hydroponics types of operations for growing. We have also been looked at for possible alternative energy including solar. None of these things are in the here and now where there is a spade in the ground turning dirt to get things started,” he said.

Local realtor Trish Rippie noted that she has detected some ripples of activity in both the residential and commercial real estate market in Pahrump as well.

“I think we have had a lot of population movement back to Pahrump. The stores and office spaces are filling up and that is a good sign. We lost a lot of people in the economic crash but we are starting to see all of these new medical facilities coming in and I know of a new doctor’s office that is opening. We are getting more hospice and home health care doctors. It’s a different kind of population that we had before but it’s all good,” she said.

Additional changes within the community include the mothballed Willow Creek Golf Course and The Kingdom Gentleman’s Club at Homestead and Highway 160.

The latter is also under new management.

Owner Joe Richards indicated recently that he has no immediate plans to sell the adult-themed establishment but he did seem to slightly hedge his remark.

“When it comes right down to it, everything is for sale isn’t it?” he said earlier this month.

The fate of Willow Creek remains uncertain at this time, but Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada expects to develop some of the defunct course after winning approval for its plan to take possession of 15 of 16 parcels.