RVBusiness Launches 3rd Top 50 Dealer Awards

June 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

RVBTop50Logo-smallRVBusiness magazine is launching the Third Annual RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards — a quality-focused program that sets the bar for best business practices in the RV industry. A gala reception and dinner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will announce the winners Oct. 6 during the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.

This year, RVBusiness expanded the awards to include recreational park model manufacturers, reflecting how significant their contributions have become in a rapidly changing marketplace. The awards name 10 Blue Ribbon retailers, and one organization receives the Dave Altman Award, the equivalent of RVBusiness’ “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

RV manufacturers nominate the best and most professional dealers for aftermarket parts stores, sales lots, service work, F&I departments and personnel matters in addition to civic and charitable contributions. Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), the parent company of RVBusiness and the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events to the North American RV and outdoor enthusiast market, then invites nominated dealers to submit applications. Applications are independently reviewed by a panel of industry experts, none of whom are directly associated with RVBusiness or Affinity.

RVBusiness recognizes the Top 50 award winners in the October edition, on, and in dealers’ local and regional newspapers. Winners also receive RVBT50 window decals, rights to use the RVBT50 logo in their advertising, plus exposure to millions of active RV enthusiasts in the pages — and on the websites — of Affinity’s RV-focused consumer magazines, including Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.

Supporting the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards this year are the following “Leadership Alliance” sponsors: ADP Lightspeed, Bank of the West, Blue Ox, Cummins Onan RV Generators, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., RV America Insurance, RV Trader Online and Protective.

“We felt that the pursuit of professionalism and top-notch consumer care finds an even more receptive ear this year than it did during the dregs of the recession, and the Dealer Awards sets the bar for best business practices,” said RVBusiness magazine Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “Looking around at the state of the industry, we realize just how much we have to be thankful for. The current upbeat atmosphere within the commercial sector beats the heck out of where we all were at this time last year.”

RVBusiness previously announced special celebrity guest, conservative Republican columnist and bestselling author, Ann Coulter, as the keynote speaker during the award ceremony. Coulter will talk about a variety of hot political topics including the “Tea Party” movement and related conservative themes.

The Con/Expo is sponsored by the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA Canada). Tickets for the dinner are $139 ($119 for RVDA members, Con/Expo exhibitors and Top 50 dealer guests), and are available at the convention or at

About the Top 50 RV Dealers Program:

The program’s purpose is to showcase credible role models and establish best business practices benchmarks at the retail level of the RV industry in terms of staff training, performing warranty and service work, managing aftermarket stores, superior consumer care and being good citizens of their respective communities. The dealerships were selected among those nominated as the best by the nation’s RV manufacturers. The program was founded and coordinated by RVBusiness magazine with additional support provided by the Leadership Alliance.

About Affinity:

Affinity,, is the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events that service the safety, security, comfort and convenience needs of the North American recreational vehicle (RV) and outdoor enthusiast market. By providing information, insights, and resources, the company champions the fun, freedom, and adventure of recreation in motion. The company works to enhance its customers’ recreational experiences and build the communities that share and promote their fun and adventurous lifestyles.

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May 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

RVBusiness has completed more than a year of impressive viewership growth since unveiling its remodeled website in March of 2009.

An independent survey by Compete Inc. ( <> ), a third-party web analytics firm, places the number of unique visitors in April at 23,792, a 12.2% increase over the previous month and a 113.4% increase over April of 2009 when the redesigned site debuted.

During that 14-month period ending April 30, according to Google Analytics, the site recorded 3.1 million pageviews as the busiest business-to-business site operated by Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity Group Inc., RVB’s parent company and one of the nation’s leading providers of outdoor recreation media and clubs.

“We’re pleased that our industry readers have responded so well to our daily efforts to build up the content and functionality of,” said RVB Publisher Sherman Goldenberg, who’s based out of the RV-building hub of Elkhart, Ind. “And we hope they appreciate the fact that the site is run by veteran newspaper people who adhere to RVB’s traditional, even-handed approach to industry news and care about the veracity of the news they disseminate

“Central to this whole effort,” he added, “is RVB Web Editor Steve Bibler, a former Elkhart Truth staffer who also doubles as editor of RVB’s sister publication, Woodall’s Campground Management. Bibler handles the hour-by-hour task of posting stories on as well as and is backed up by support people in Southern California and Bowling Green, Ky.”

The site, an offshoot of RVBusiness magazine, typically offers industry readers a selection of 12 Breaking News stories daily, as well as regular, staff-written “News in Focus” and “Retail Pulse” dealer profiles plus video, an industry calendar and an automatic stock ticker.

The redesigned site also distributes timely breaking industry news via RSS feeds and daily e-email and features video links on news postings, a video screen for news and advertising, new interactive ad buttons that drive better click-thru rates to advertisers and enhanced interactivity among websites.

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Standard & Poor’s Raises Affinity Credit Ratings

April 2, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services today (April 1) raised its ratings on Ventura, Calif.-based direct marketing company Affinity Group Holding Inc. (AGHI) and its operating subsidiary, Affinity Group Inc. (together referred to as “Affinity Group”).

“We raised our corporate credit rating on the company to ‘CCC’ from ‘D’ and raised our issue-level rating on AGHI’s 10.875% senior notes due 2012 to ‘CC’ (two notches lower than the ‘CCC’ corporate credit rating on the company) from ‘D’. The recovery rating on this debt remains unchanged at ‘6’, indicating our expectation of negligible (0%-10%) recovery in the event of a payment default,” according to a news release.

In addition, S&P noted, “We raised our issue-level rating on Affinity Group Inc.’s (AGI) 9% senior subordinated notes due 2012 to ‘CC’ (two notches lower than the ‘CCC’ corporate credit rating on the company) from ‘C’. We revised the recovery rating on this debt to ‘6’ from ‘5’. The revision of the recovery rating on the 9% senior subordinated notes due 2012 reflects the increase in secured debt following the refinancing of its credit agreement and the company entering into a new asset-based revolving credit facility. The recovery rating of ‘6’ indicates our expectation of negligible (0%-10%) recovery in the event of a payment default.”

AGI is the parent company of

For more about this action, read more from the news release.


The ‘CCC’ corporate rating reflects the company’s thin liquidity, modest EBITDA coverage of interest and declining operating performance. It also reflects our concern that the company’s margin of compliance with covenants could diminish this year, that discretionary cash flow may be weak in 2010, and that the company may not be able to absorb the cost of an amendment, should it require covenant relief.

Standard & Poor’s is concerned that the company faces a tough challenge to maintain an adequate margin of compliance under its new senior credit facility because of continued pressure on the business from the weak economy and successive tightening of covenants, which begin Sept. 30, 2010.

Furthermore, the new credit facility could mature in November 2011, depending on Affinity’s ability to repay or refinance other debt.

On March 1, 2010, the company refinanced its credit agreement. Its first-lien facility was set to expire on March 31, 2010. The company also had second-lien notes due July 31, 2010. Both of these obligations were refinanced by the new $144.3 million senior secured facility. About $25.4 million of AGHI 10.875% senior notes were due on March 15, 2010. AGHI acquired these notes from the affiliates that held them and subsequently cancelled the obligations.

In conjunction with the transaction, AGI’s subsidiary Camping World Inc. entered into a credit agreement for an asset-based lending facility of up to $22 million, of which $10 million is available for letters of credit and $12 million is available for revolving loans. Despite the refinancing, we believe that refinancing risk still exists. The term loans mature on the earlier of March 15, 2015, or 90 days prior to the maturity of either AGI’s 9% senior subordinated notes due Feb. 15, 2012, or AGHI’s 10.875% senior notes due Feb. 15, 2012. This could mean that the new $144.3 million term loans will become due in November 2011.

Affinity Group is a direct marketer and retailer targeting North American RV owners and outdoor enthusiasts. Revenue and profitability deteriorated over the past two years because the weak economy put pressure on consumer discretionary spending and reduced advertising spending. The company is also indirectly vulnerable to fuel shortages and increases in gas prices. During 2009, EBITDA (excluding impairment charges) fell 26% year-over-year, on a 10% revenue decline, reflecting lower advertising sales, a decrease in licensing fees because of an agreement that was terminated in 2008 and a decline in exhibitor revenues from fewer consumer shows. The retail segment also contributed to the overall revenue decline, reporting a 7% revenue decline year-over-year because of the closure of some stores and a decline of 4.5% in same store sales. We are concerned that revenue and EBITDA could continue to decline if the economy remains weak.

Pro forma for the refinancing, lease-adjusted debt to EBITDA is high at roughly 8.7x, up from 7.7x for the 2008 year-end. Unadjusted EBITDA coverage of interest expense for the same period was thin at 1x, a decrease from the company’s EBITDA coverage of interest of 1.6x for 2008. We are concerned that the company’s EBITDA coverage of interest could deteriorate further in 2010 if EBITDA continues to decline. Moreover, if the margin of compliance with covenants thins, we are concerned that interest coverage and liquidity may not be sufficient to absorb the increased interest costs and fees associated with an amendment. Discretionary cash flow in 2009 was modestly positive.

Discretionary cash flow increased from the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, and resulted in a 29% conversion of EBITDA, because of lower capital expenditures.

The company did not open any stores in 2009. Although we expect that capital expenditures in 2010 will remain relatively low, we believe discretionary cash flow could decline as a result of higher interest expense and pressure on EBITDA.


Liquidity is weak. The company had $10.1 million of cash at Dec. 31, 2009, and we expect its cash balance will remain low. Its subsidiary Camping World Inc. entered into a credit agreement for an asset-based lending facility of up to $22 million. The facility could become due in September 2011. The facility matures on March 1, 2013, or 60 days prior to the maturity date of the new senior credit facility, or 120 days prior to the earlier maturity date of AGI’s 9% subordinated and AGHI’s 10.875% senior notes. Also, the term loan could mature in November 2011. The term loans mature on the earlier of March 15, 2015, or 90 days prior to the maturity of either the AGI’s 9% senior subordinated notes due Feb. 15, 2012, or AGHI’s 10.875% senior notes due Feb. 15, 2012. We remain concerned about refinancing risk because a significant portion of Affinity Group’s debt could mature in 2011 if these notes are not refinanced. Near-term debt maturities, however, are modest. The company’s term loan amortizes at a rate of 1% annually and quarterly amortization payments begin March 1, 2011.

We are also concerned about the company’s margin of compliance with financial covenants. Despite the refinancing, the company could have difficulty maintaining an adequate cushion of compliance under its new senior credit facility because of continued pressure on the business from the weak economy and because of successive tightening which begin Sept. 30, 2010. If the company’s margin of compliance thins, we are concerned that the company interest coverage and cash flow may not be sufficient to absorb the increased interest costs and fees associated with an amendment.


The rating outlook is negative and reflects our concern about liquidity amid continuing pressure on EBITDA and the possibility that a significant portion of its capital structure could become due in 2011. We are concerned both about the company’s ability to maintain an adequate cushion of compliance with its financial covenants and that it may not be able to meet the costs of an amendment should its margin of compliance with covenants diminish. We could lower the rating if we become convinced that the company could violate covenants within the near term or if it does not refinance its capital structure in a timely fashion. Based on our estimates, we believe the company could violate its interest coverage covenant as early as June. 30, 2010, if EBITDA does not increase. Factors that could contribute to such a scenario include prolonged economic weakness that contributes to further declines in advertising revenue and pressure on the retail segment. Although less likely, we could raise the rating if operating performance rebounds, if interest coverage and discretionary cash flow improve, if these trends widen the margin of compliance with financial covenants and if the risk of a meaningful near-term maturity is removed.

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Camping World Tops in Towable Sales in 2009

March 17, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Camping World logoFreedomRoads/Camping World RV, the nation’s largest recreational vehicle retailer, was recognized for the fifth consecutive year as the No.1 seller of towable RVs by Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) in its recent 2009 annual sales awards.

This award comes on the heels of the retailer’s recent No. 1 ranking in motorized sales for the 2009 calendar year, according to a Camping World news release.

“We are very excited to be the leader in towable sales again in 2009,” said Roger Nuttall, vice president and CFO of FreedomRoads/Camping World RV. “We are proud of this accomplishment and are off to a great sales year in 2010 for travel trailers and fifth-wheels. We have great manufacturer partners and our goal is simple; increase our share organically in each of our markets.”

FreedomRoads/Camping World RV dealerships increased market share over the No.1 ranking in 2008. Companywide, 15,872 total new and used towable RVs were sold including non-reporting states to SSI. All U.S. dealers sold 150,322 towables in 2009.

Camping World RV also sold 6,262 motorized units, of which 2,567 were “new.” All U.S. dealers sold 18,854 motorized units in 2009.

“As with being No. 1 in motorized sales, the fact that we are also No. 1 in towable sales exhibits our desire to serve the entire RV community with quality manufacturers, service and parts,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of FreedomRoads/Camping World. “We are very proud of this honor and all the praise goes to our associates as well as the entire RV industry for keeping consumers excited and interested in our great lifestyle.”

Statistical Surveys’ awards are based solely on unit volume according to independent data gathered annually.

FreedomRoads/Camping World RV operates a network of well-established local and regional RV dealerships, RV maintenance/repair centers and RV rental stations.

Camping World is owned by Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), parent company of

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Affinity Completes $144 Million Refinancing

March 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) announced today (Mar. 3) that it has completed the refinancing of its senior bank debt. Affinity has entered into a new $144 million loan agreement that allows the company to restructure its existing debt, which was set to mature on March 31.

“We’re very pleased with this direction and the stability it gives Affinity as we grow our core business to new heights,” said Affinity CEO Mike Schneider. “As we begin to exit a major financial downturn, this financing puts us in a strong position to capitalize on new revenue growth opportunities and continue our commitment to leadership in the outdoor recreation marketplace.”

A multi-media company, Affinity manages several membership clubs including the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization, and operates numerous consumer and business websites, publications and shows for RV, powersports, marine and outdoor enthusiasts.

The company also owns Camping World, the largest aftermarket retailer in the RV industry with more than 75 locations throughout the United States.

Moelis & Company acted as exclusive financial advisor and sole placement agent to Affinity in connection with the refinancing.

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Good Sam’s Bray Debuts New Business Venture

February 19, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Sue Bray

Sue Bray

Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) and the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest recreational vehicle owners’ organization, announce that Executive Director Sue Bray is leaving to form her own consulting business, Sue Bray Consulting, ( Bray’s new business will focus on and utilize her expertise in marketing, managing and operating membership clubs and events.

Affinity CEO and President Mike Schneider made the announcement stating, “Sue has dedicated her 33-year career to enhancing our members’ experience through excellent membership benefits development and service. Much of Good Sam’s phenomenal growth over the years can be attributed to Sue. We wish her the very best of luck in her future endeavors, and I’m proud to announce that the Good Sam Club will be one of her first clients. She now has the opportunity to expand her outreach, public relations and development functions for the club as well as providing her expertise to other organizations. We are fortunate Sue will remain available to the members for the foreseeable future.”

Bray joined the Good Sam Club, a division of AGI, in 1976 as chapter activities director. In 1979 she was named executive director of the club, and became an Affinity vice president in 1980. During her tenure with the Good Sam Club, the organization grew from less than 200,000 members to nearly 1 million families today.

Bray spent most of her career with the Good Sam Club developing partnerships and benefits for members, including the popular trip routing service, an RV financing program, a member credit card, and was deeply involved in the design of the club’s popular emergency road service. She marketed and managed club events, including Affinity’s annual event, The Rally, which attracts upward of 8,000 guests each year and provided editorial direction for Highways, the club’s monthly magazine.

Bray managed the Good Sam Club’s participation in several major charity initiatives, including the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Dogs for the Deaf and Hole in the Wall Camps. She also managed its legislative and lobbying efforts, which she’ll continue to do on behalf of the club and its members.

In 2009, Bray was inducted into the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.— one of the youngest members and only the ninth woman selected for the RV industry’s most prestigious honor.

Also included among Bray’s initial clients is the Venice Beach House (, an upscale inn located beachside in Venice Beach, Calif., and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Affinity Group Promotes Pair to VPs of Production

February 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Barb Hammer

Barb Hammer

Bob Dawson

Bob Dawson

Barb Hammer and Bob Dawson have been promoted to vice presidents of production at Affinity Group Inc. (AGI). Both have served as production directors, Hammer in Minneapolis and Dawson in Ventura, Calif., each with particular expertise that complements the other, according to a company announcment.

In recent years, Hammer has taken on an expanded role, providing oversight to many of Affinity’s print products and managing corporate relationships with print and paper vendors. She recently concluded a successful contract re-negotiation with World Color, AGI’s primary printer.

Dawson has continuously expanded his influence over AGI’s move to digital processes and formats. His early work in the pre-press area saved substantial money for Affinity, and his more recent work in the white-hot digital editions area promises additional returns for the company.

Hammer’s career encompasses 27 years of magazine publishing experience, the past 19 with Affinity/Ehlert. She has been production director since 1998. Prior to joining Ehlert, Hammer was an art director for MSP Communications in Minneapolis and a graphic designer for Advanstar Communications.

She holds a graphic arts degree from Alexandria Technical College and an associate arts degree from Bethany Lutheran College, both in Minnesota.

Dawson’s career with Affinity began in 1994 in the IT department where he provided Macintosh support and was a publishing systems analyst. He moved to the magazine production department in 2000 as a pre-press specialist and became production director in 2004. Prior to Affinity, Dawson worked as a photojournalist and graphics editor for several newspapers, including the Ventura County Star.

Dawson holds a  bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Jose State University.

AGI is the parent company of RVBusiness magazine and

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Affinity Group Announces Strategic Financing

December 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Affinity logoAffinity Group Inc. (AGI), the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, My Ex Bf Ditched Me How Can I Get Him Back services, media and events, announced today (Dec. 17) that is has entered into a non-binding letter of intent with a private equity firm to fortify its capital structure. The transaction will provide $70 million in new funding and award the firm a future economic interest in Affinity.

“This new source of capital will allow Affinity to reinvigorate its growth strategy and put the company on a more secure financial footing going forward,” said Mike Schneider, CEO of Affinity. “In spite of the severe downturn in the RV industry this last year, we are pleased the company has come through this difficult period and will now be able to grow with the industry’s anticipated recovery.”

A multi-media company, Affinity is well known for managing several membership clubs including the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners’ organization, in addition to operating numerous consumer and business websites, publications and shows for RV, powersports and marine enthusiasts.

The company also owns Camping World, the largest after-market retailer in the RV industry, with over 75 locations throughout the United States.

AGI is the parent company of RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.COM.

My Ex Bf Ditched Me How Can I Get Him Back

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Coast to Coast Resorts to Host 2010 Camping Conference

November 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Coast to Coast Conference logoCoast to Coast Resorts, the industry leader in private membership camping, has announced its plans to hold the 2010 Coast to Coast Conference on Feb. 16-18 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The Coast Conference aims to help grow the industry by promoting best practices for sales and marketing initiatives to developers currently selling memberships, developers interested in restarting their membership sales activities, and new developers interested in entering the industry, according to a news release.

Several key topics will be addressed, including insights and ideas to improve sales and marketing at the resort level, secrets to success used by the leading developers in the industry and utilizing new technologies to make sales and marketing more effective. Attendees will learn ideas and practices that can make an immediate and positive impact on the bottom line.

“The Coast Conference is designed to help grow our industry by focusing on sales and marketing strategies specific to private membership camping,” said Bruce Hoster, Coast to Coast president. “We believe the private membership campground industry has the right product, at the right price, and at the right time to meet changing consumer demands for high quality campground experiences.”

Full conference registration is available for $299 through Dec. 15, $100 off the original rate of $399, and includes a welcome reception, main stage presentations, breakout sessions, two networking breakfasts and a lunch on Wednesday. Pricing is per person and does not include hotel reservation. A la carte pricing is available for networking and breakout sessions.

For more information or to register for the 2010 Coast to Coast Conference, visit

Since 1972, Coast to Coast Resorts has been the industry leader in bringing RV enthusiasts access to some of the finest “members-only” CampResorts in the country. Coast’s primary focus is to make it possible for people who purchase memberships at private CampResorts to maximize their destination and vacation choices. To fulfill this mission, Coast to Coast has created an internationally recognized network of hundreds of affiliated private CampResorts, enhanced with hundreds of Good Neighbor Parks/Best Parks in America, forming a network of beautiful properties where nearly any vacation experience can be found.

Coast to Coast is a division of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), parent company of RVBUSINESS.COM.

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Affinity Events’ Sports Shows See Strong Sales

October 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

affinity3The Affinity Events division of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) has welcomed the winter season with back-to-back successful powersports shows. The 16th Annual Big East Powersports Show, Oct. 2-4 in Syracuse, N.Y., and the 24th Annual Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Expo, Oct. 10-11 in Denver, Colo., both boasted increased attendance and strong sales.

The Big East Powersports Show, sponsored by Camping World and Snow Goer magazine, featured the latest snowmobile and ATV models from Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo and Yamaha alongside aftermarket products, open and closed trailers, clothing, accessories and resort information. The excitement surrounding the debut of the 2010 sled models along with attractive prices on gear and accessories led to a 7% increase in attendance from last year’s show.

“Enthusiasm was evident and energy on the show floor was high as attendees shopped the new models and found great deals on everything they need for the coming winter season,” said show manager, Laurie Hallowell. “The exhibitors were thrilled to see such large, enthusiastic crowds and all agreed that the success of the show is a positive sign of things to come in 2010.”

Robin Ingles, owner of Ingles Performance of Phoenix, N.Y., agreed. The company celebrated its 14th year of participation in the show and reported strong sales and increased booth traffic this year. “The show attendees were excited to get back on their sleds,” Ingles said, “and our sales were better than they’ve been in over two years.”

The Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Expo, also sponsored by Camping World and Snow Goer magazine, took place  at the Denver Merchandise Mart and saw the second best attendance in the history of the event. The chilly temps and snow showers on Saturday did not deter the crowds from visiting the Expo to see the newest 2010 snowmobile models and shop the popular Swap Meet Extravaganza. In fact, the line to participate in the Swap Meet formed three hours before the Expo opened.

“The snowfall added to the atmosphere of the show,” said show manager, Dianne Seymour. “The attendees were excited at the thought of another great snowmobiling season and it showed. Our exhibitors sold more than they have in years.”

Tom Gaither, senior VP of Affinity Events, pointed to the close relationship Affinity Events maintains with powersports enthusiasts as the main reason for the continued success of the shows. “Our connection to ATV and Snow Goer magazines gives us an intimate understanding of the powersports world. The enthusiasts who attend the shows are our friends. We know and love the powersports world as much as they do,” he said. “That continued relationship we maintain with the show attendees, combined with the great variety of local exhibitors featuring new products and services continues to generate amazing interest from local powersports enthusiasts.”

 AGI is the owner of RVBusiness and


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Affinity Gives New Look to Website

October 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

140-1Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events, today (Oct. 1) unveiled a new look for, an online resource providing relevant RV and RV camping information to outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. is specifically designed to help users make informed decisions in several key areas — locating private and public campgrounds that suit their RV and tent camping travel needs, locating RV rentals both on-site and over-the-road, staying informed and entertained with destination articles and finding interesting things to see and do while camping, according to a news release.

The result of this new website enables visitors to easily access Woodall’s impressive database of campground information without a log-in.

“It’s easy to get lost when looking for the right campground, whether you’re a fulltime RVer or new to the lifestyle. Our intuitive, user-friendly search tools make finding what you’re looking for quick and easy. From driving directions using Google maps to on-site amenities, is the one-stop site to find what you need for your next trip,” said Ann Emerson, vice president and publisher of Woodall Publications and Affinity Guest Services. “While our North American Campground Directory has been a resource to RVers for nearly 75 years, we feel that giving our customers direct and online access to this great information in the age of technology shows we are committed to serving our customers in multiple mediums.”

Woodall’s also sets itself apart from all other campground directories by having a unique dual rating system. One rating is assigned to the facilities at the park. The other is assigned to the availability of recreation. This unique system is especially important to those enjoying the RV lifestyle with lengthy big rigs that require larger spaces at campgrounds. Weekend family camping trips are also easier to manage as far as searching for recreation is concerned. The more Woodall “W’s” means more recreational development.

This re-launch is just the beginning of a phased approach to a more robust website that is scheduled to roll out over the course of the next 6-12 months. While provides a completely free service, registering as a Diamond Club member allows visitors to save their searches, access money-saving areas of the site, and receive special pre-publication and product offers. Soon Diamond Club members will also be part of a new online RV and camping community.

Woodall Publications, RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.COM are AGI holdings.

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CBS TV’s ‘The Mentalist’ to Go RVing This Season

September 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 


Simon Baker of CBS drama "The Mentalist"

Simon Baker of CBS drama "The Mentalist"

Two RV companies’ products will be getting some quality air time on an upcoming episode of CBS Television’s popoular show, “The Mentalist.”

The Good Sam Club was contacted recently by CBS/Warner Bros. to provide a variety of vehicles for the show at a location shoot on Tuesday ( Sept. 15), according to Sue Bray, executive director of the club.

The club’s parent company, Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), provided two test trailers manufactured by Peterson Industries Inc., Smith Center, Kan., and Northwood Manufacturing Inc., La Grande, Ore.

AGI also supplied a boat, ATVs and motorcycles.

Warner Bros. is going to make a donation to Hole in the Wall Camps in exchange for the vehicles AGI provided, Bray noted.

“The Mentalist” revolves around a celebrated psychic-turned-detective (Simon Baker) who has a powerful gift for observation and investigates crimes for the California Bureau of Investigation.

RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.COM are AGI holdings.

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AGI Parent Company Reports Q2, 6-Month Results

August 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Affinity Group Holding Inc., parent company of the Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), reported its financial results for the second quarter and six months ending June 30 in a 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the SEC filing, revenues of $129.9 million for the second quarter of 2009 decreased by $17.8 million, or 12.1%, from the comparable period in 2008.

Membership services revenues of approximately $39.2 million for the second quarter of 2009 decreased $3.4 million, or 7.9%, from the comparable period in 2008. This revenue decrease was largely attributable to a $2.3 million reduction in member publication advertising revenue and reduced membership file size for the Coast Club and Golf Card Club, an $800,000 reduction in revenue from member events, a $500,000 decrease in other ancillary product revenue and a $400,000 decrease in marketing fee income for vehicle insurance products. These decreases were partially offset by increased extended vehicle warranty program revenue of $600,000 resulting from continued policy growth and strong renewals.

Media revenues of $9.4 million for the second quarter of 2009 decreased $6.1 million, or 39.3%, from the comparable period in 2008. This decrease was primarily attributable to a $2.8 million reduction in revenue in the outdoor power sports magazines related to decreased advertising revenue, a $2.3 million reduction in RV related publications, primarily attributable to decreased advertising revenue, a $500,000 reduction in consumer show revenue due to reduced exhibitor attendance and a $500,000 reduction in advertising revenue related to the campground guides.

Retail revenues of $81.4 million decreased by $8.4 million, or 9.4 %, from the comparable period in 2008. Store merchandise sales decreased $4.6 million from the second quarter of 2008 due to a same store sales decrease of $4.0 million, or 6.5%, compared to a 15.0% decrease in same store sales for the second quarter of 2008, and discontinued store revenue of $2.2 million, was partially offset by a $1.6 million revenue increase from the opening of seven new stores over the past eighteen months. Same store sale calculations for a given period include only those stores that were open both at the end of that period and at the beginning of the preceding fiscal year. Further, mail order sales decreased $400,000, installation and service fees decreased $900,000 and supplies and other sales decreased $2.5 million.

Costs applicable to revenues totaled $81.4 million for the second quarter of 2009, a decrease of $8.9 million, or 9.8%, from the comparable period in 2008.

Membership services costs and expenses of approximately $24.6 million decreased $1.9 million, or 7.2%, from the comparable period in 2008.  This decrease consisted of $600,000 of reduced member magazine costs, a $400,000 reduction in wage-related expenses, a $400,000 reduction in marketing costs related to vehicle insurance products, a $300,000 decrease in member events costs related to reduced revenue and a $200,000 decrease in other ancillary product expenses.

Media costs and expenses of $7.4 million for the second quarter of 2009 decreased $4.0 million, or 35.0%, from the comparable period in 2008 primarily related to a $1.7 million reduction in magazine expenses resulting from decreased circulation and production costs, a $1.5 million reduction wage-related costs, a $600,000 reduction in consumer show costs related to reduced revenue and a $200,000 reduction in costs related to campground guides.

Retail costs applicable to revenues decreased $3.0 million, or 5.7%, to $49.4 million primarily as a result of the decrease in retail revenue. The retail gross profit margin of 39.3% for the second quarter of 2009 decreased from 41.7% for the comparable period in 2008 primarily due to new, discounted “value pricing” adopted on over 1,000 products.

Selling, general and administrative expenses of approximately $33.1 million for the second quarter of 2009 decreased $7.2 million compared to the second quarter of 2008. This decrease was due to a $6.1 million decrease in retail general and administrative expenses consisting primarily of decreases in labor and selling expenses, a $700,000 reduction in wage related expenses, a $600,000 expense reduction in the consumer shows group relating to discontinued consulting agreements and management fees and $300,000 in other general and administrative expenses. These decreases were partially offset by an increase of $500,000 in professional fees.

Income from operations for the second quarter of 2009 totaling $8.2 million decreased $3.9 million compared to the second quarter of 2008.  This decrease was primarily due to reduced gross profit for retail, media and membership services operations of $5.4 million, $2.1 million and $1.5 million, respectively, partially offset by reduced operating expenses of $5.1 million.

Six Months Results

For the second months ending June 30, revenues of $235.0 million decreased by $37.8 million, or 13.8%, from the comparable period in 2008.

Income from operations for the first six months of 2009 totaling $13.0 million decreased $5.3 million compared to the first six months of 2008.  This decrease was primarily due to reduced gross profit for retail and media operations of $10.9 million, and $7.2 million, respectively, partially offset by reduced operating expenses of approximately $11.8 million and increased gross profit for the membership services operations of $1.0 million.

Loss from operations before income taxes for the first six months of 2009 was $2.3 million, or an increase of $2.4 million from the first six months of 2008. This increased loss was attributable to the $5.3 million decrease in income from operations and $2.9 million of reduced non-operating items mentioned above.

Net loss in the first six months of 2009 was $3.0 million compared to $500,000 for the same period in 2008. 

AGI is the parent company of RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.COM.


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Coast to Coast Sponsoring $15,000 Sweepstakes

July 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Coast to Coast Resorts is launching a new “Free Camping for One Year Sweepstakes” promotion in conjunction with Camping World Inc. 

The grand prize winner will receive up to a $15,000 valued prize featuring a year’s membership in Coast to Coast RV Club and enough Coast to Coast points for a free year of camping at the membership network’s CampResorts across the country. The promotion kicks off July 7 and ends July 27, according to a news release. 

Entries are available at all Camping World SuperCenters nationwide. Participants may also mail their entries postmarked by July 27 via a 3.5-by 5-inch card with their name, address (no post office boxes), date of birth, e-mail address and telephone number to Camping World, P.O. Box 50965, Bowling Green, KY 42102. ATTN: “FREE CAMPING FOR ONE YEAR SWEEPSTAKES” Marketing Dept. 

“We wanted to find a way to give back to the RVers and outdoor enthusiasts this year and are excited to give one lucky winner the chance to experience our network of more than 450 beautiful resorts across the country,” said Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast Resorts. “We are equally as excited about working with Camping World to help promote the membership camping industry.”

A Coast to Coast membership makes it easy to travel safely and comfortably throughout North America, with hundreds of affiliated RV resorts in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Member benefits include a subscription to Coast to Coast magazine and access to a number of travel services, with additional benefits that include cabin and condo rentals, trip routing and dining and leisure discounts. Coast to Coast offers RV Tripsetter, a web and phone reservation system, which provides a simple way to reserve a space. Many membership RV resorts offer additional features and amenities like boating, fishing and golf. 

Coast to Coast was established in 1972 and is owned by and affiliated with Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events that service the safety, security, comfort and convenience needs of the North American RV and outdoor enthusiast market. 

RVBusiness magazine and www.RVBUSINESS.COM are owned by AGI.

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S&P Reinstates Affinity’s “CCC” Credit Rating

June 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Following a review of the new capital structure at Affinity Group Holding Inc. and its operating subsidiary, Affinity Group Inc., Standard & Poor’s Rating Services today (June 22) raised its rating for AGI back to “CCC.” 

On June 19, the rating service had lowered its corporate credit rating on the Ventura, Calif.-based company to “SD” (selective default) from “CCC.” 

AGI is the parent company of RVBusiness magazine and

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