he and wife edna opened their own store 2 1/2
A trip through time with El Portal
From its humble beginnings in 400 square feet on Fremont Street next to the El Portal Theater in 1936, Ed and Edna Borsack's former appliance store has blossomed into an international operation which includes 17 El Portal Luggage retail stores in Nevada and California.
It also encompasses 12 California Luggage Outlet stores, a manufacturing plant in Long Beach and 19 boutiques in Japan. Oh, and don't forget the thriving mail order business which was recently expanded to include international sales.
For Southern Nevada pioneer Ed Borsack, opening Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags a second store at the Maryland Square cheap louis vuitton bags from china uk Shopping Center in the early 1970s was a big deal, said grandson Jim.
Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica How would he have reacted to the opening of the company's flagship store in the Forum Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags Shops at Caesars in 1992?
"I don't think he would have believed it was an El Portal store. He wouldn't recognize it," said Jim Borsack, vice president high quality designer replica handbags of marketing and advertising for the family owned and operated business that is thriving under the leadership of its third generation of Borsacks.
Grandpa Ed was in his early 20s when he landed in Southern Nevada in 1912 as an employee of the Union Pacific Railroad. He and wife Edna opened their own store 2 1/2 decades later when the population of Las Vegas had grown to about 8,000.
The enterprise, named high quality replica handbags china after the adjacent theater, actually started as an appliance store, but that line of merchandise lasted less cheap replica handbags than 10 years. As World War II loomed, replica louis vuitton handbags Ed went to work for the Office of Price Administration and Edna ran the store by herself.
She was having trouble keeping it stocked with appliances because metal, being used primarily in the war effort, was scarce for consumer goods. So, she traveled to Los Angeles to scour warehouses for merchandise. Supplies of luggage were plentiful and she reasoned there might be a demand among Las Vegas' growing resident and tourist population.
She didn't realize she had just set the stage for what was to become a multimillion dollar enterprise employing more than 250 people and occupying what Jim describes as "several hundred thousand square feet."
El Portal actually had two stores downtown. The first was immediately east of the theater while the second was just west of the theater where El Portal moved in the early 1960s when it needed more space.
A plaque marks the site of the former theater at 310 Fremont St., under the Fremont Street Experience canopy, which is now the Indian Arts and Crafts store. Souvenir stores occupy the former El Portal Luggage store sites on either side.
In comparison to those early stores, El Portal's corporate headquarters alone boasts 30,500 square feet at the Hughes Airport Center south of McCarran International Airport. The facility also serves as corporate sales office and shipping and receiving warehouse.
The company takes advantage of the location's Foreign Trade Zone, meaning it can ship its products duty free to stores in Japan, said President Don Borsack Jr. "That saves us a tremendous amount of money," he added.
El Portal's other Southern Nevada locations include retail stores at the Fashion Show Mall, the Forum Shops at Caesars, the Star Lane Mall in the MGM Grand hotel casino, the airport, the Meadows Mall, the Boulevard Mall and the Galleria at Sunset.
Part of the company's success is attributed to keeping up with the times. It has a presence on the World Wide Web where browsers can call up the history of the store as well as view Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags the latest merchandise and learn about current promotions. They can order items via 1:1 replica handbags computer or toll free phone aaa replica designer handbags number. The web pages were designed by Don Jr.'s wife, Julie, who owns Toiyabe Information Services, a Las Vegas firm that designs and maintains home pages.
Another ingredient for success has been teaming with other companies. For instance, El Portal recently introduced the limited edition Turner Classic Film pieces named after some of the classic movies. So far, "Dr. Zhivago," "Treasure Island" and "High Society" handbags have been introduced. Seven more handbags in the classic film line are expected, said Don Jr.
El Portal also has partnered with Louis Vuitton, the luggage and handbag retailer, and Christian Dior, a handbag, gift, cosmetics and accessories retailer, in their Las Vegas stores and in the Louis Vuitton store at Horton Plaza in San Diego. The Borsack Group, the umbrella firm for all the family owned enterprises, also is a licensee for Swatch, the Swiss watch company. Swatch has stores at the Forum and the Fashion Show in Las Vegas.
Jim declined to release the company's annual sales figures, but would say that growth in each of the last five years has been 30 percent larger than in the previous year. He anticipates the trend will continue for at least the next 10 years.
Also on the drawing board are plans for expansion into the Arizona and Seattle markets as well as a possible expansion into the Chicago area where a good portion of fake louis bag the company's current mail order customers reside.
As for Ed and Edna's 27 great grandchildren, two of Michelle's daughters are involved in the business as is Jim's daughter, Jaime. But neither Don Jr. nor Jim see the entire fourth generation becoming involved.
That's because they aren't going to get a free ride. To get a job in the family owned company, the great grandchildren must complete high school and have four years of outside retail experience. If they graduate from college, they need only two years of outside retail experience.
"They are going to have to bring something to the table because the people we work with now are so strong.