Clark success story
HAL BOYLE Success Story NEW YORK, (AP) — Wilbur Clark, who wears a $5,000 wrist watch, is a fine example of how a mart can win the success he wants in life if he just sticks to a simple principle. The principle Wilbur chose was the old copybook maxim that if you build a better mousetrap, even in the wilderness, the world will beat a path to your doorway. But of course you have to interpret those old copybook rules the right way to make them work. Wilbur decided the better mousetrap was one no mouse would want to get caught in—but people with loaded pockets would fight to enter. And has it paid off? Listen to Wilbur: "I GUESS WE'RE the biggest single operation in the state now. Our expenses alone run $125.000 a day. We netted better than one million dollars last year. We have 650 employes, 250 more people than live in -my old home town." Wilbur, a friendly, greying, 42-year-old . . . uh, well . . . industrialist, not only has a $5,000 wrist watch and runs one of the world's plushiest mousetraps. Life has given him other rewards. He is a mayor, the vice president of his local chamber of commerce, and has been named one of the nation's 10 best-dressed men. He helps design his own $250 suits, won't allow a buttonhole in his lapels. "Why punch a hole in a good piece of cloth if you don't like wearing flowers?" he asked reasonably, waving a hand on which a five-karat diamond ring shone with the subdued charm of a locomotive headlight. headlight. Clark's career follows the classic Horace Horace Greeley pattern, "Go west, young man." He left his native Keyesport, 111., pawned his high school ring for $4 in Los Angeles, and worked as a bus boy and bell hop in San Diego before obtaining a job in a gambling establishment. * * * * 'FROM THEN ON his rise was more rapid. Wilbur saved his pennies, worked for a number of gambling houses about the country, bought some of his own, went broke and started over again. Wilbur, who has no taste for a pool room atmosphere, all the time was dreaming of his better mousetrap, a luxurious resort casino such as those in Europe, where a man could get a buck without getting his foot caught in a cuspidor or having to look both ways for the cops. Today Wilbur's dream of a better mousetrap has come true — the fabulous Desert Inn at Las Vegas, which makes Monte Carlo look as modish as a 1900 bustle. At Wilbur's gilded 4 1 ,2 million dollar inn the weary, wayworn traveler may rent a room for from So to $50 a day, play golf on a million dollar 18-hole grass course in the desert, and for $5.50 eat a steak dinner and see a floor show that would cost him to $50 or more in New York. The same traveler can slake his thirst 24 hours a day —or invest anything from a nickel to $1,000 (that's the limit) around the clock in the casino. * * * * THE CASINO HAS 90 slot machines, three roulette wheels, six blackjack tables, five crap tables. Their winnings, of course, subsidize the floor shows, which feature such name stars as Betty Button or Herb Shriner and cost up to $35,000 a week, half the price of putting on a Broadway show. "You can't stop people from gambling," said Wilbur, which may explain why he wisely refrained from putting locks on the casino doors. "But a guest could stay here for a week and never make a laydown, and we wouldn't know it. Whether he goes info the casino is up to him. "I believe if you give people what they want, and most people want the best, they'll come to you. We turn away 200 people a day." Clark has a list of 40,000 guests from all parts of the world, feels he knows 30,000 of them himself, and they range "from a Chinese general and a federal judge on up.". His customers aren't the kind who go broke, and his only trouble is a bum check now and then. But his bad check losses probably aren't more than $150,000 or so a year. Chickenfeed.