NYC’s 1OAK Expands to Las VegasSeptember 15, 2011 By: Sean Evans
A few weeks ago, it was announced that Las Vegas’ The Light Group had struck a partnership with Scott Sartiano, Richie Akiva and Ronnie Madra to bring their 1OAK club to Las Vegas. The space they’ll take over was formerly JET at The Mirage, which closed late last week so Sartiano and crew could start renovations and open by New Year’s Eve 2011.
With a few other New York venues headed West (The Box and Greenhouse), the question is, why is Las Vegas is a viable expansion market now, given that as little as a year ago, a lot of new projects out there were stalled because of the market and economy?
“I think Vegas turned the corner a while ago,” Sartiano says. “There are actually multiple nightlife venues there that are currently thriving. Not everyone is making money but plenty of people are, and we are long overdue to throw our hat in the Vegas nightlife ring.” Sartiano also notes that, like every other type of business, even in an average economy, above-average operators can succeed. “We believe we are in a great physical space, in a great property at The Mirage and partnered with another great operator in The Light Group.”
As for 1OAK, which stands for “One of a Kind,” the brand has always stood for intimacy and uniqueness. Because the bulk of the Vegas venues are geared toward mass-market audiences, the thought of brand dilution has been considered and dismissed. “The best nightlife markets are NYC and Vegas,” Sartiano says. “So it’s natural Vegas is where we would expand to. We are still going to bring our New York edge to the club out there. It will be larger and less intimate than 1OAK NYC, but on Vegas’ scale, it will still be smaller and more intimate than other clubs currently operating there.”
The majority of the marketing efforts for 1OAK Vegas will be word of mouth, although Sartiano says traditional advertising also will be used. “From day one, our network of friends and word of mouth has been what’s driven us. Our contacts span the globe, from Los Angeles to Milan they will come out to support us,” he says, adding, “We deliver a consistent product that gets the word of mouth going and brings people back day after day, year after year.”
Ask Sartiano what the biggest hurdle in opening up a venue in Las Vegas is and his answer is quick. “Every venue I’ve opened has had lots of hurdles,” he says. “Probably the largest one is simply breaking into the Vegas market. We finally got a deal that we feel is both great spatially and a workable deal. There are tons of operators trying to get a limited number of spaces in Vegas, and so it’s very competitive. Now, we finally have the ball and we’re ready to run with it.”