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drawing of Paul Saginaw

Saginaw's Sprint

With a slew of help from Ann Arbor, Paul Saginaw opened in Las Vegas. Then he got Covid-19.

by Micheline Maynard

From the January, 2021 issue

Zingerman's cofounder Paul Saginaw thought he had until the end of the year to open his namesake Las Vegas deli in the new $1 billion Circa Resort & Casino. But with Covid protocols limiting the number of people who could work on the complex's hotel tower, crews turned their attention to a five-story section of restaurants and meeting rooms where Saginaw's is located. That meant rewriting a schedule put in place more than three years ago to open by the end of October.

"The good news is that you can start taking revenue sooner," Saginaw says. "The bad news is that it's a lot of planning to pivot on."

Saginaw had already relocated to a Vegas condo. Now he called in an Ann Arbor infantry that included his wife Lori, Steve Mangigian, the managing partner of Zingerman's coffee and candy companies, Eve Aronoff from Frita Batidos, and longtime Zingerman's manager Ann Lofgren.

They pulled it off, but it was tight--tables and chairs arrived the day before the opening. And "I would have liked to have taken more time to train the staff," Saginaw says. English is not the first language for 90 percent of his employees, who largely come from Hispanic, Filipino, and Chinese backgrounds. "Out of sixty people, perhaps half a dozen knew what a matzoh ball was."

Saginaw estimates he worked about 'fifty-one hours non-stop, then went home to sleep. A few days later, he was diagnosed with Covid-19, which knocked him flat with fatigue and aches for much of November. He's since mostly recovered and is back at work.

"Every day we're tweaking this and tweaking that and going after that," he says. "We want to be great."     (end of article)

[Originally published in January, 2021.]


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