Pioneer Crossing on road to success

A fast-track remodel and rebranding of the Pioneer Crossing Casino in Dayton has helped push the property into the black in just two months, co-owner Mike Benjamin says.

Benjamin and partners Mike Melarkey of Reno and Richard Wenschlag of Colorado purchased the former Daytona Casino on Sept. 1.

They rebranded the beach-themed casino with a pioneer theme to better match the area's history, Benjamin says, painted the entire building and extensively remodeled the interior - all while keeping the doors open 24 hours a day.

Miles Construction of Carson City was general contractor on the $500,000 job.

The effort has been well met by Dayton residents and casino customers, Benjamin says. The property had positive cash flow in its first month under the new ownership group and turned a profit the next month.

"We felt that Pioneer Crossing, reflecting the pioneers that settled Nevada in the early years, was more appropriate," Benjamin says. "If we left the branding as it was, there wouldn't have been the change in mindset and change in entertainment proposition that was needed to make the casino succeed.

"We believe that the strategy of bringing a rural, warm environment to the community has been the right approach."

Miles Construction gutted the former restaurant space at the 22,000-square-foot site and built a 32-seat steakhouse and 82-seat cafe. Benjamin says effecting a complete rebranding and remodel without losing a single minute's business was the biggest challenge to overcome for the general contractor.

"That was my first job with them and I will not go anywhere else," the Las Vegas-based businessman says.

Work was completed in 47 days. Crews began painting the outside of the building before the sale closed in escrow, Benjamin says. Nevada State Bank brokered sale of the property, but the ownership group financed the remodel with cash.

Pioneer Crossing Casino employs around 75 and will add positions with growth.


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