Camping World Adding 11 New U.S. Stores in 1Q
Camping World Inc. is charting a course of aggressive growth in the first quarter of 2012, reports Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World Inc. and its Good Sam Enterprises LLC subsidiary.
New Camping World stores, most combining rolling stock and aftermarket parts and accessories, are slated to open in a wide variety of U.S. locales in the year’s first quarter – bringing the Lincolnshire, Ill.-based company’s total store count to 85. Some of these new stores, Lemonis told RVBUSINESS.com, will result from an “integration” of an existing independent dealership.
“After an unbelievably strong 2011,” said Lemonis, “we believe that we have the infrastructure in place to kind of take that next step of growth. We are clearly in same-store growth mode and new-store growth mode – a combination of both.”
As part of this new expansion initiative at the nation’s highest volume RV dealership chain, Lemonis revealed, Camping World signage will soon surface in disparate locations like Conway, N.H.; Avondale, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; Redding, Calif.; St. George, Utah; Ashville, Raleigh and Fayetteville, N.C., and Lake City, Winter Garden and Cocoa Beach, Fla.
At the same time, Lemonis adds, the industry will soon learn of a new floorplan credit facility approaching $400 million and a new deal recently inked between Camping World and NASCAR involving roadside assistance – a major focus for Camping World in the year ahead.
“Good Sam is now partnering with NASCAR to offer a private label product to the entire general marketplace called NASCAR Roadside Assistance,” he explained. “That’s for all types of vehicles, including passenger cars and trucks. It’s a major aftermarket partnership. We will be launching NASCAR Roadside Assistance at Daytona (where a November rally is to be held). It’s our product. We just partner with them (NASCAR). We own it. We control it. That’s a nice deal.”
The Good Sam Roadside Assistance program had signed up close to a half-million members by last fall, according to Camping World’s own press releases, offering unlimited towing to a network facility, roadside flat tire changes, battery jumps, lock-out service and other minor repairs. One-price coverage is available for RVs plus other household vehicles as part of the new program, overseen by former Coach-Net executive Ed Thor.
Meanwhile, Lemonis added, things are lining up exceedingly well for his company’s upcoming Good Sam Rally, Mar. 22-25 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. – one of three slated for 2012. Set to appear at that event, along with John “Bowzer” Bauman from Sha Na Na, are comedian Bill Cosby and C&W recording artist Martina McBride.
“The Rally is off the charts,” said Lemonis. “We are almost sold out and we are pacing the highest attendance in Phoenix that we’ve had at a Good Sam rally in years. It’s off the charts. I mean, registrations are pouring in, and it’s a multi-dealer event. Every dealer in Phoenix is there. It’s a happy place. Everybody’s sharing. All of the outdoor space is sold out, and indoor space sales are very strong as well. As we get closer, we think that we’ll have north of 7,000 people there.”
All this comes as Camping World rolls out its new Pilot/Flying J Good Sam Club member discounts on fuel, propane and dump station charges – part of the national fuel-retailer’s new status as “Official Fuel Provider & Travel Center of Good Sam and Camping World.” Through this new program, club members enjoy at least three cents off gas and five cents off diesel purchases when using their “Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card.” Greater discounts are available to “Deluxe” and “Life” club members.