Women of Intrigue: Mali Gabay

Mali Gabay
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

When visitors walk into Bonanza Gifts—better known as the World’s Largest Gift Shop, a fixture at the corner of the Strip and Sahara since 1980—they’re not just shopping for reminders of a vacation. They’re looking for authentic bits of Vegas to take home, treasures and artifacts with personal resonance. Store manager Mali Gabay sees to it that they find them.

“We sell just about anything Las Vegas-related,” Gabay says. “We have celebrity memorabilia: Elvis, Marilyn Monroe. We have sections for food and liquor. We have plush toys, everything you can think of for kids. … It’s 36,000 square feet. You’ve really got to find a lot of merchandise to fill up all of that space.”

It’s a tall order, but Gabay, an alumna of UNLV’s entrepreneurship program, fulfills it daily. She has frequent meetings with vendors, which keeps stock fresh (“We’re always looking at new merchandise, new designs,” she says) and prices down. She handles marketing and manages the online presence, constantly looking for new ways to put Bonanza on tourist itineraries.

“We’re our own shopping center, so we have to drive people to come to us,” she says, adding that Bonanza is now a stop on Big Bus’ Strip tours. And when she’s not chasing down those dollars, she’s modernizing the place. “A lot of the displays and stuff were very old, so we had to change them out. We’re working on beautification, because the store is kind of a historical property.”

In other words, Gabay is putting just about everything she’s got into connecting tourists with the coolest Vegas shot glass, the most colorful Vegas T-shirt.

“We’d just like to have everything our customers are looking for at the best price we can give,” she says “That’s our goal.”

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