By Debbie Adams
In December 2018, ground was ceremonially broken by the Colonial Downs Group for the opening of Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Vinton. A new building was not being constructed—just extensive interior and exterior renovations to the existing facility purchased from Henry Brabham.
Rosie’s opened in May 2019 and became an instant success, drawing not just local customers, but groups from the outside the region, including steady customers from Lynchburg, Christiansburg, and even North Carolina.
Just a few months later, in November 2020—and despite COVID—Rosie’s announced another expansion was in the works which would add 18,000 square feet to the existing 15,200-square-foot facility. This would make room for Rosie’s to increase the number of Historic Horseracing Terminals (gaming machines) from 150 to 500.
By March 2021, construction and renovations were well underway. Massive concrete wall panels and floor tees were being delivered several times a day in April for the new three-story parking garage.
Rosie’s Marketing Manager Jeff Spaugh says construction is moving along according to schedule, with plans to open the new expansion and parking garage to the public in mid-December, as originally proposed. Rosie’s plans to feature a nationally known performer for the grand opening celebration.
That performer will be appearing on the new stage in the new entertainment section of the building—a stage which can accommodate a six-piece band. Rosie’s currently has shows on two nights each month and hopes to expand its offerings with the newly increased space. Management has been working with J.D. Sutphin of Big Lick Entertainment on booking acts.
A green room has been added for performers, along with a lift which will make the stage itself ADA accessible for performers with special needs. The stage can also be reached by a staircase.
The entertainment area adds another large bar to the facility—this one circular. The entertainment area also includes giant screen TVs lining the walls. Cables will run underneath the floor for ease of access and changing up to new games. Spaugh says there are hundreds of miles of cable running through the building.
Spaugh says that Rosie’s now uses one game manufacturer but will add three or four to be able to provide more games, more themes, and more variety.
The smoking room, now located in the original section of the building, is being moved into the expansion with a much larger floor space and will house 160+ gaming machines in just that section—up from the current 60.
The smoking room is separated from the rest of the building, has its own HVAC system, and a massive Smokemaster ventilation system in the ceiling to remove smoke.
The restaurant is not being replaced but tables will be added. The current bar will remain open, in addition to the new one in the stage area. The Berg Liquor Control system will assure inventory control. The kitchen will remain the same size, but a good deal of storage space has been added. Spaugh says there have been “huge upgrades in storage” throughout the facility for a variety of uses, including storing giveaways.
All facility basics—restrooms and mechanicals—have been upgraded. In fact, guests may think they are in a restroom at the Civic Center—they are so large. A family restroom is available for those adults who made need assistance from a family member.
The main entrance to Rosie’s will remain in the same spot, but with the two steps up eliminated.
An administrative office area has been added with several private offices, a security dispatch room, and a training room. Temporary offices have been set up at the Lancerlot during construction. Spaugh says they are “great partners.”
There will now be a separate entrance at the rear of the building for employees, keeping them from intermingling with the line of guests at the entrance.
The new three-story parking garage includes about 280 parking spaces, has an elevator, and is ADA accessible. ADA and VIP parking is located on the first level of the garage. The garage elevator is located in the front corner with a staircase in the rear. In addition to the parking garage (which has an additional rear entrance), there is overflow parking behind and around the building.
Between the garage and the main building, there will be a concrete patio with seating and flower beds.
Work is still being completed in the garage—striping, electrical work, overhead lights, and drainage. Interior work in the main building continues with electrical systems, ventilation, lighting, and so on.
Spaugh says they are about ready to bring in gravel to pave the parking lot and the access road that leads to Niagara Road.
Colonial Downs is making an investment in the expansion of about $28 million, with about 30 jobs to be added.
Rosie’s has been able to remain open during construction with little decline in business.
C.K. Bosworth is the general contractor for the job. Ernie Dellaverson continues as the general manager of the Vinton Rosie’s Gaming Emporium and is now the regional general manager for Rosie’s.
Spaugh says that job fairs for new employees are scheduled for October from 2 to 7 p.m. on October 15 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on October 16.