GRANITE?FALLS?- It's an old truism that entertainment is one business that can be counted on to do well in bad economic times, because people need to take their mind off their worries every now and then.
When the Upper Sioux Community's Prairie's Edge Casino Resort first opened in March 2003, it had 85 rooms in the hotel, and 700 slot machines and 10 table games in the casino, according to hotel manager Audrey Borning. Current renovation and expansion is adding 76 rooms and 250 slot machines.
Borning has been hotel manager since Prairie's Edge first opened.
Photo by Steve Browne
Audrey Borning shows off a double room in the new wing of Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort. The current expansion has added 76 rooms.
"It's been fun to grow with it," Borning said. "We've been saying for years, 'We need more rooms.'"
Borning said because of the economy many people prefer to stay closer to home rather than going to Las Vegas.
"And local people come too," Borning said. "Say they want to have a few drinks and don't want to drive. More and more people like that."
According to Borning there is a lot of overflow from events in Marshall.
"Basketball tournaments and speech contests at Southwest Minnesota State University bring in a lot of people to the hotel," Borning said. "Schwan's might have an event and having something to do is better than sitting in your room and staring at the walls. Or people can rent the pool area for birthday parties."
Nick Kootsikas, director of marketing and sales, said new construction includes two small banquet rooms with 5,000 square feet total. That's in addition to the existing large banquet room of 16,000 square feet. For live entertainment there's room for 800-900 seats.
The first round of renovation and expansion at Prairie's Edge Casino Resort outside of Granite Falls should be finished this week, but before anyone has a chance to catch their breath a new round of renovations will begin.
"We start construction next week on remodeling the Meadows buffet and Firefly Lounge. They'll have an all-glass front in the lounge and double the seating capacity in both," Kootsikas said.
They'll need the extra space and rooms. Kootsikas said there are events almost every weekend. Mostly conventions and weddings but there are cultural events scheduled too. On July 3 the University of Minnesota will have a raptor and reptile display, which will be held together with a huge fireworks display with an outdoor band. And on Aug. 5-7, the Upper Sioux Community will have the Wacipi.
"People are here for fun," Borning said, "It's a very fun atmosphere. People ask, 'Why are you full, it's in the middle of nowhere?' I say, 'That's why we're full.'"