When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Las Vegas last year, Cory McCormack’s job with one of the major Strip resort companies became a casualty.
Like so many others, McCormack—who worked in customer development for MGM Resorts International—was let go once people stopped coming to Las Vegas.
During a virus-powered whirlwind period, McCormack said he went from helping to run the popular Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio to being a man without an industry as the Strip went dark.
Along with a few friends and business partners—most of them have also spent extensive time working in hospitality—McCormack decided to go into business for himself.
Not in the nightlife or restaurant business, mind you, but rather in the luxury car rental business.
“The only thing I’ve ever done in Vegas is restaurants, bars, nightclubs, lounges … then it’s all gone in an instant,” McCormack said. “When we were furloughed over the summer, we figured we had to do something. I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for a job to come back that’s probably not coming back.”
In October, McCormack and Joseph Cuellar, a former general manager at Park MGM, filed the paperwork for All Star Cars, which opened in early February.
“One of my partners had some experience renting cars in Miami,” said McCormack, who is also a former managing partner of the Nightlife Group, which used to run hotspots like Vanity, Wasted Space and Rehab.
“I was just trying to think of something we could do that would still be in the service industry. With this, we’re renting cars instead of selling bottles and tables, but it’s basically the same principle.”
Headquartered just west of the Strip between Hacienda Avenue and Tropicana Avenue, All Star Cars has a fleet of about 20 vehicles. The Rolls-Royce Ghost sedan costs about $900 per day and the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, a sporty two-seater that tops out at over 200 mph, goes for about $1,000 per day.
Those wanting to really go big can rent the white Rolls-Royce Cullinan, which can seat up to five and has a daily rate of $1,999.
The powerful SUV, which retails for about $325,000 in the United States, features an engine that can produce close to 600 horsepower and has lambswool floormats that cost about $10,000 each.
McCormack said about half of All Star’s business has come from locals, as the city continues to feel the tourism pinch from COVID-19.
“It’s certainly not easy to open a business during a pandemic,” he said. “There have been many, many sleepless nights. We’ve been going seven days per week and up to 12 hours per day for three months. There are no days off, but I think we’re at the doorstep of it paying off.”
Kevin Raiford, a development adviser for the Nevada Small Business Development Center, said the type of networking that McCormack has done for years, especially in a place like Las Vegas, often comes in handy when people go off on their own to start a business.
“Normally, you’d figure there are six degrees of separation, but in Vegas, it’s about two-and-a-half,” said Raiford, who also works as a business professor at the College of Southern Nevada. “Someone like (McCormack) would definitely come into contact with clients, suppliers and people to collaborate with. That’s part of what makes Las Vegas, I think, an easier place to pivot from.”
The business has just six employees, but McCormack sees a lot of growth potential. He envisions branches in places like Miami, Dallas and Chicago.
“What we provide fits right into the Vegas experience,” McCormack said. “Essentially, the nightclub crowd is also the bulk of what our clientele will be here. And Vegas will be fine because Vegas will always be fine. People want to have fun.”
That’s part of what McCormack thinks will set All Star apart from some of the other luxury rental businesses in Las Vegas—a tailored concierge experience along with a vehicle if the customer is interested.
“All my friends are in those industries in Las Vegas that cater to experiences,” McCormack said. “We can help with show tickets or a table reservation at a nightclub or a hotel room or a strip club … whatever they want. I have a 20-year relationship with some of these people.”
No matter how successful All Star might become, don’t expect McCormack to be in the market for a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, even if he has the means to swing it.
“I can’t imagine paying that much for a car,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not a car guy. I drive a pickup truck.”