Hard Rock Bristol Offers Sweet Deals For Local Businesses

Posted on April 5, 2021

Bristol, Virginia might be more than a year away from a new Hard Rock, but local businesses are already reaping the benefits.

In preparation for its grand opening, the casino resort is rocking the worlds of local business owners by establishing vendor partnerships.

These partnerships are great news for the local economy.

Bristol business owner secures a sweet deal

This local infusion concept initially launched at a Hard Rock vendor fair event back in October of last year. Executives reached out to Bristol businesses expressing interest in locally-provided products and services for the resort.

One local business owner, Karen Hester, secured a sweet deal for her brand Southern Churn.

Hester has been dishing up homemade fudge for the past six years at her shop on State Street, a busy downtown Bristol thoroughfare located on the Tennessee-Virginia state line. Hester said,

“Hard Rock Casino is actually our biggest customer that we’re packaging fudge for now. We were so excited to partner and do business with them.”

Now, she sells 10 flavors of fudge at the Hard Rock location in Tampa, Florida.

“They sell it like this, under the Southern Churn label, showing that it was made right here in Bristol, Virginia.”

This past December, Hester’s first fudge shipment sold out within a week of delivery.

Since then, Hester has made three additional deliveries to Hard Rock Tampa – marking a successful venture for the Bristol business owner.

Bristol Artisan Company steels the show

Local craftsman Fred Sexton and his Bristol Artisan Company have also been turning the heads of top Hard Rock executives.

Sexton crafted a custom sign in the shape of dice and a poker chip with the word “Bristol” as the focal point. He then brought his creation with him to Hard Rock’s vendor fair back in late 2020.

Executives were so impressed with the offering they enlisted his assistance on constructing 80 stainless steel napkin holders for the grand opening of the Hard Rock location in Northern Indiana.

Sexton is eager to impress the company with his skills during this trial run. He said,

“If I do a good enough job on this, I hope I get the opportunity to make them for Bristol.”

More to come for Bristol businesses

Intent on extending good karma and sharing the opportunity with fellow local businesses, Sexton is working in conjunction with an Abington, Virginia store owner to create his napkin holders.

Sexton says these are the first indications of how Bristol’s new Hard Rock facility could enhance the area’s economy.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the goal of having millions of dollars infused into our economy because of the Hard Rock Casino and Resort, it’s going to happen, very quickly.”

As of now, plans for Hard Rock Bristol to open by late 2022 are moving full speed ahead.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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