Not everyone thinks of customer service when considering a gaming location. But for John and Bobbi Gies, owners of the newly-opened Lucky 7’s Casino at 416 Lake Elmo Drive, customer service is the name of their game.
“We are your friendly, neighborhood bar and casino,” said Gies. “This is a place where you can relax, have conversations and feel at home.”
Their Cheers-eque atmosphere starts as soon as a customer walks in the door, where they are personally greeted by John, Bobbi or one of their employees. Opened less than three months ago, on Feb. 18, the building underwent an extensive face-lift.
Gies explains the pre-opening process.
“We had the building deep-cleaned; painted inside and out; installed new flooring in the bathrooms; added new carpet in the casino area; re-arranged the casino layout and lighting; and added a new cashier's cage and snack bar,” he noted. “It’s a whole new look that smells and looks fresh.”
Steve Lance, of Lance Construction, oversaw the remodel and worked closely with Weststate Electric, Billings Sign Service, John Vigesaa Painting, Independent Lock and Energy Efficient Group to get the job done with time to spare.
“Steve Lance was awesome to work with — if you asked them to do something or for their opinion, they gave honest, professional advice. All these guys deserve a huge shout out,” added Gies. “You couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to work with.”
The work on the existing building, which was vacant for about six months and is owned by Amusement Services, took about two months to complete and was done ahead of schedule.
“They were actually done before I was approved for licensing,” said Gies.
Starting on the right foot
That prompt, professional construction work gave the Gies duo a positive start. As business owners, both John and Bobbi feel that having an “on-site” owner is essential. They often work opposite shifts to ensure that regular customers see a consistent, friendly face when they stop in for a quick drink or game.
“We like to get to know our customers,” emphasized John. “We aren’t the type of owners who stop in to collect a check and golf all day. We are there to make sure that things are getting done the way they should be and that our customers are happy.”
Lucky 7’s Casino is not a first business venture for either Gies. Bobbi was self-employed prior to the purchase, and John owns and operates a casino in Lewiston that has been in his family since 1947. They complement each other and hire quality, caring employees who are eager to learn the business, too.
Right at home
The current configuration is more homey than most casinos, noted Gies. Although they do not offer live games, they have 20 of the “latest game machines known to mankind,” said Gies, plus comfortable office-style chairs, an open layout and subtle lighting. The volume is set to allow conversation and it is not unusual for the TV to be set according to a customer’s request.
In addition, Lucky 7’s offers a wide selection of beers and fine wines, including “wine-eritas” in various fruity flavors. They taste like the real deal, said Gies.
They also offer typical bar snack food like jumbo pretzels, jalapeno poppers and pizza. An ATM machine was also added for customer convenience.
“We simply want to offer a warm, welcoming atmosphere,” he pointed out. “Our customers are more than gamblers when they come—they are more like family.”
As such, the owners offer a few special extras.
It’s the little things
“We have the softest toilet paper in town. Honest,” he laughed when he revealed the secret. “I’ve had a dozen women tell me that. We’ve even put it on our Facebook page.”