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Gaming Guru

Arnold M. Knightly
 

Trevi Architectural will close

27 August 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Entrepreneur Scott Acton has spent the past few days trying to ensure that his customers, which include some of the biggest names on the Strip, will get their orders filled.

Trevi Architectural, which has provided custom fountains, statuary, sculptures, columns and moldings to resorts ranging from Wynn Las Vegas, Wynn Macau, The Venetian and Caesars Palace, is closing Friday due to a "multitude of issues," the company founder said.

Acton, who founded the company, said a combination of factors led to the business's closing, including a series of unpaid bills and a decision by the company's new owners not to put any more cash into the business.

Most of the company's 147 workers were fired Monday.

Acton wouldn't say how much work is outstanding, but he has been communicating with the resorts and is trying to get orders moved to other companies.

"I don't want to see any one of my customers get hurt," said Acton, who was named Nevada small-businessperson of the year by the Small Business Administration in 2005.

Representatives for the Wynn and Caesars Palace declined to comment on the Trevi closing.

Beyond dealing with big resorts, the company also sold fountains, planters and statuary to homeowners through retail stores.

Trevi also worked with Roger Thomas, longtime designer for Steve Wynn, to produce a home collection.

Private-equity firm Ampersand Ventures bought Trevi Manufacturing on Sept. 17, changing the name to Trevi Architectural.

According to Acton, Ampersand recently decided not to put more money into the business.

"They changed the business quite a bit," said Acton, noting the firm closed the fountain division soon after the acquisition. "They put some different management in place that wasn't familiar with Las Vegas and how it works."

However, the company did double its sale volume since the transaction, but the refusal of a few vendors to pay outstanding bills got Trevi "into a sticky situation."

A pair of lawsuits have been filed since May by Trevi in Clark County District Court claiming unpaid bills totaling nearly $108,000.

A call to Ampersand's office in Wellesley, Mass., was greeted with, "We don't talk to the press."

Ampersand was founded in 1988 as a spin-off of the asset management firm PaineWebber. Ampersand describes itself on its Web site as a middle-market firm focusing on health care and industrial companies.

Acton's work is part of the backdrop of high-end Las Vegas: from the three-tiered fountain in front of The Venetian, to the pirate ships at Treasure Island to the subtle touch of cove moldings behind light fixtures at Caesars Palace.

Acton said he is not sure what he will do next, but he is thinking about restarting the business.

He learned the business from his father, who in turn learned it from Acton's grandfather who had worked in Hollywood.

"My grandfather started with Walt Disney in the 1950s," he said

Acton's first job after arriving in Las Vegas 14 years ago was working on the pirate ships at Treasure Island.