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Archive for February, 2013

Casino Royale

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Ohio voters said yes to Issue 3 in 2009, paving the way for the ‘Four Casinos Initiative’ that amended the Ohio Constitution to allow casinos in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo. As Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino is scheduled to open to the public on March 4, 2013, many Cincinnatians are anxious to see how Cincinnati’s first casino will impact the City of Cincinnati, both in terms of economics and entertainment.

Horseshoe Casino will feature approximately 2,000 slot machines, 85 table games, and a 31-table World Series of Poker room. On-site restaurants include Jack Binion’s Steak, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace. According to WCPO, the Horseshoe Casino will also partner with 10 of downtown’s most popular restaurants and 7 hotels to provide rewards for members of the Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards loyalty program. Parking will be free for guests on nights and weekends.

The Horseshoe Casino development will create nearly 1,700 new casino jobs, as well as additional entertainment and dining options for Cincinnatians. Avid supporters of the casino argue that a permanent, guaranteed tax of 33% will be charged on gross casino revenues and split among counties, cities and school districts. According to their website, the Horseshoe Casino will not only bring new revenue to Cincinnati, but 6 million travelers annually who will spend millions of dollars at our restaurants, hotels and shops.

The $400 million facility will be the last of the four voter-approved casinos to open in the state of Ohio in the past year. The Toledo Blade reports that reviews have been mostly positive after their casino’s first year in operation, but more information will come as the business matures. Later today, the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati will open its doors to invited guests only for a preview before it is open to the general public.

One could argue that casinos do more good than harm in the markets where they operate. And by Ohio law, Horseshoe must promote services that assist those with gambling problems. So what could the downside possibly be?

Inspiration Adventures

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Cincinnati is a city rich in arts and culture. Our city is home to the fifth oldest symphony, second oldest opera company, the oldest choral festival in the hemisphere, a Tony-Award winning regional theater, nationally recognized museum center, internationally known music conservatory and design school, prestigious art museums and a contemporary arts center. ‘Having so much art and beauty around us, it’s no wonder Cincinnati is a growing marketing and branding hub. Creative professionals don’t have to look very far for creative inspiration but sometimes it just takes a little venturing outside our comfort zones or off our beaten paths to discover something new and exciting.

The American Sign Museum is home to 19,000+ square feet of 200 bright neon signs from all over the country. The museum has preserved and captured the stories of signs ranging from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s that reflect history, technology, commerce, and culture of communities in which they were saved from. The museum’s founder wants people to be more aware of signs in their travels and understand the importance of signs to businesses and communities.

Jungle Jim’s International Market encompasses over six acres and features over 150,000 products from 70 different countries. There is a lot to discover at Jungle Jim’s and doing so on your own can be tedious. Fortunately, Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield offers Food Safaris where tour guides lead you through the international aisles.

In the winter months, head to the Krohn Conservatory. Over 3,500 plant species from around the world inhabit this iconic Cincinnati landmark providing a fragrant aroma of flora and a lush display of greenery. Waterfalls and exotic plants, including an Orchid house, will transport you to far away places to stimulate your senses and give you that boost of creativity that you need.

Even the most creative people have moments where they need to step back and find inspiration. Whether it’s hearing an orchestra perform Beethoven’s 5th’Symphony, seeing works by Picasso, Renoir and Monet at the Art Museum or exploring your city, it’s important to include arts and culture in your life to inspire creativity. When and where do you feel most creative?

What do you see?

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Benches for miles. A tunnel for a cat. Ovals to infinity. A beautiful street scene. Snow turns to sun.

Shot on an iPhone by Paul Bell.

The Future of Gift Card Giving

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Gift cards, the go-to gift of last-minute shoppers, was once again the number one requested gift this past holiday season for the sixth year in a row. These days, gift cards are sold everywhere and for everything. While once thought of as impersonal, ‘81% of Americans polled said they planned to give gift cards and 60% said they wanted to receive them,” according to Financial Times.

However, gift card giving can be problematic for the gift card recipient. If you receive a gift card you don’t like, you can’t return it. If you lose the gift card, you typically can’t get the card replaced. If you leave it at home at the point-of-sale, you probably will end up having to come back another time for your goods and if you lose track of the card’s balance, you may end up having to spend money you weren’t anticipating.

Websites like Plastic Jungle or Gift Card Granny allow you to sell or swap your gift card and you can even buy other gift cards at discounted rates.

Gyft, a new mobile gift card app, is changing the $100 billion dollar gift card market by allowing customers to buy, sell and redeem gift cards strictly on smart phones – no plastic necessary.

The app is mutually beneficial to the consumer and the retailer. According to TechCrunch’s article, Gyft Is Moving The Plastic Card Industry to Your iPhone, ‘retailers don’t actually’like that people are buying gift cards that go unused.’ To incentivize the consumer, Gyft’s app will allow retailers to remind you to use your gift cards by push notifications, geo-fenced alerts, or even special discounts.

As gift cards continue to be wildly popular and technological advancements such as Gyft help us manage our giving there’s no doubt that gift cards will continue to be the most requested gift for birthdays and holidays. Last minute gift shoppers, rejoice!

What’s new is old again.

Friday, February 8th, 2013
Ah, the beauty of modern technology — take a shot from five minutes ago, wave a ‘magic wand’ and voila!, it’s an image’that harkens from the late 1800s.
Shot on an iPhone by Jon Keeling