A successful woman in business
She is amongst the most successful women in the entertainment industry. A sole shareholder of the MotorCity Casino since 2005, is also operating other businesses.
Today, Marian Bayoff Ilitch is 80. Born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan, to Macedonian parents, met her future husband, Mike, on a blind date arranged by her father. They married one year later. They have seven children and a $2.7 billion fortune. The Ilitches founded the Little Caesaes Pizza in 1959 and expanded thereafter their interests to include restaurants, sports and gambling.
The largest woman-owned casino
In 1999, Marian Ilitch seized the opportunity and purchased MotorCity, which she turned into the largest and best casino ever owned by a woman. She invested $300 millions to renovate the location in 2008. Today, MotorCity features a 400-room luxury hotel, a spa center, conference hall, new restaurants, a non-stop gaming area and a 1,800-seat theatre.
She just felt the potential of the games and this was the reason why she made big investments in MotorCity. The 825-million dollar complex is one of the three casino-resort hotels in town. It spreads over 9,300 sqm and is the only casino owned 100% by a woman. The location draws a number of six millions visitors every year.
Always in search for more
Marian Ilitch knew she was only half way her trip. She invested in other casinos outside Detroit, along with her partner Michael J. Malik Sr., such as: Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Little River Casino Resort in Manistee. The powerful businesswoman is eyeing up on opening new casinos in New York and Barstow, California.
Vicepresident over an empire
The American octogenary is the Vice-president of Ilitch Holdings Inc., a company to include Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distributions, Little Caesars Pizza Kit Fundraising Program, Champion Foods, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Uptown Entertainment and others.
Ice hockey big fan
The Detroit Red Wings hockey team won four Stanley Cups – 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008 – under the ownership of the Ilitch family. Marian and three daughters are among the 12 women to have their names engraved on the trophy.
Marian’s trademark has always been giving back to the community. She contributes one million dollars to charitable activities in Detroit. Her foundation, Little Caesars Love Kitchen Foundation, created in 1985 with her husband Mike, feeds more than two million needy people every year, including the disaster victims in the USA and Canada. Three American presidents – Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr and Bill Clinton – recognized the Marian foundation.
The businesswoman is an active part in helping the less fortunate children, by donating millions to support them.
For all her business pursuits, she has been awarded various prizes ans her name was entered on the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, to name a few.
Marian Ilitch is the living proof that a woman can operate businesses in a world exclusively meant for men.