Saturday, July 5, 2014

Young Retailer of the Year

At the beginning of May, we had the opportunity to fly to Las Vegas for Blake to receive his Young Retailer of the Year award from the National Retail Hardware Association.  We were able to leave Brooks and Keely with my parents, but since Barrett was only 5 months old and still breast feeding, we brought him along.  I knew traveling with a 5 month old would be a lot of work (we flew to Orlando with Brooks at that age for our first Ace Show as owners) and it was.  Thankfully Blake's parents came along, so that helped make it a little easier, but with Barrett still getting up several times a night, a lot of walking, and things to do and see, I was pretty tired after the whole trip!
We stayed in a nice hotel a few blocks away from the strip...the view below is out our window and you can see the strip in the distance.  The first day we decided to walk down to the strip since we got in to Vegas at about 10 in the morning on Sunday.  It didn't seem like too far to walk, but goodness, once we started walking, it was quite a ways to go! Needless to say, we took a cab the other times we went down! :) 
We actually spent a lot of the first two days in the hotel's just easier with a breastfeeding baby, and Blake and I didn't mind one bit! Hanging out in the hotel room was as much as a vacation as anything, and just resting sounded great to us! Barrett seemed to enjoy it :)
 The first night we were there, we went out to eat at Gordon Ramsey's Steakhouse at the Paris Hotel with Blake's Ace District Manager, Jeff Egger. (you can see it way in the back of the above picture of inside the Paris casino). To our benefit, Jeff is a pretty big gambler, and had a $500 comp for a meal at the Paris, so we got an awesome gourmet meal for free.  We had $500 to split between the 3 of us, so needless to say we were stuffed at the end!  We almost didn't get to go when the hotel had screwed up his reservation, but luckily they were able to sneak us in at a later time slot.  We all would have been quite disappointed had it not worked out! Here is a picture of one of our 2 appetizers, Pork Belly (Blake's choice).  The bread was also pretty awesome that you can see in the background.
Jeff took a picture of Blake and I.  It was actually the first meal I have had out away from Barrett since he's been born, so that part was so nice.  Too bad we had to spend our first 'date' out with Jeff, but I really shouldn't complain too much since it was a once in a lifetime meal!
My steak and lobster! The steak was $77 and the lobster was $35.  Yikes! Can't say I would have ever ordered that on a regular visit, but with $500 to split, why not!?
 Blake enjoying one of our 5 desserts. :) My favorite part of the meal!
Monday night was the Young Retailer of the Year banquet.  It was right in our hotel, so I don't think I left the hotel the entire day that day! It was so nice! I would have to say the banquet was my favorite part of the trip as it was fun to talk with the other winners and meet everyone. 
Blake holding his award with the other winners. There were 3 or 4 categories I think and 2 or 3 winners in each one.  Blake's category was a single store under 2 million in sales. 
Blake with some of the Ace representatives there.  Jeff is on the far left (I forgot to get a picture of him with us at Gordon Ramsey's..oops!)

Blake's award :)
On Tuesday, we went to the National Hardware show at the convention center to walk around and explore.  I'd have to say we were a tad disappointed in the show...we enjoy the Ace shows so much more, but it was good to experience this one.  I think my biggest dislike was that they wouldn't let us bring a stroller into the convention floor! WHAT?! I couldn't believe it.  I have taken each one of the kids and even both of them with a double stroller at several Ace shows and didn't have any problem at all, that the possibility of Barrett not being able to come didn't even cross my mind! Luckily they let us take him in, but we had to carry him.  It was so ridiculous that I think that made me not want to even look at any hardware stuff! Oh well...I'll just stick with Ace shows with the kids :)
On Wednesday, our flight didn't leave until 8pm, so we rode the Monorail down to the strip to walk around and explore.  We walked through several casinos.  They are fun to look at, but with a 5 month old, we didn't really 'experience' any of them by seeing any shows or doing any of the rides or attractions.  Maybe some other time!  A photo of New York, New York casino and hotel: 
My favorite part of the day was M&M World.  Maybe since I have a kid geared brain right now, but the fun merchandise was much more attractive to me than all the other shopping! Sad, I know!
Finally, before we left, we watched the fountains and Bellagio.  Here is Barrett with Grandma and Papa waiting for them to start.
It was a fun, but exhausting trip.  It just reassured me that I don't need to take any more major vacations (with kids) until they are several years older! I'm thinking at least potty trained! :)

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