The ongoing legal dispute between Chicago-based mega-dealer Camping World Inc. and well known Seffner, Fla.-based retailer Lazy Days RV Center Inc. was played out in stark relief this past weekend (Nov. 2-4) in front of exhibitors and consumers who converged in some 3,375 rigs at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway for the Good Sam Rally hosted by Camping World affiliate Good Sam Enterprises LLC.
Claiming to have been spurned as an exhibitor after years of rally participation, Lazydays CEO Randy Lay and staff opted to set up a display with some 55 new and used towable and motorized units in a campground outside the Speedway’s third turn – a display promoted with an offer of free camping by a banner-toting aircraft, leaflets, radio advertising along with an email and social media campaign.
The whole scene, which drew plenty of attention among industry observers, took place about 110 miles east of Lazydays’ Tampa-area dealership, which was billed as America’s largest single-site dealership for years until its acquisition two years ago of the former Beaudry facility in Arizona.
Lay, for his part, claims the remote display resulted in plenty of consumer traffic for Lazydays, despite the fact that the retailer was denied access to the rally grounds by Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Camping World, with whom Lazydays has been fighting a turf war of sorts for several months in the Florida market over an array of issues.
“I was there a couple of hours Saturday with the guys, and there were quite a few people there, quite a few happy new and returning customers,” said Lay, adding that about 100 rig owners took Lazydays up on its free camping offer. “So, yeah, the traffic was good. We went down there with a reasonable array of new and used towable and motorized product. The new stuff that we brought down were units that we could bring down, given our territory limitations, and on used (units), obviously, you can bring whatever you’d like. So, it was a nice mix of new and used products.”
While Camping World Chairman Marcus Lemonis was unavailable for comment, Lay claims that Lazydays was essentially unwelcome at the Good Sam Rally.
“Well, yes, despite what Camping World and Good Sam have said in the media about the rallies being open and being Switzerland (neutral) – that just didn’t turn out to be the case,” said Lay, whose dealership participated at Good Sam’s booming Phoenix rally this past spring. “It was made pretty clear to us through a number of channels that we would not be welcome. So, we decided that under those circumstances, we would just put on our own event so that we could be there for our customers.
“If our customers weren’t there and if our customers didn’t want to see us, obviously, there was no reason to be there,” said Lay, who had served as the dealership’s CFO since 2007 before succeeding John Horton as CEO in early October. “But our customers wanted to see us and wanted us to be there and we weren’t going to let a little thing like that get between us and our customers.”
Good Sam Enterprises LLC announced that it intends to file on Nov. 14, 2012 its third-quarter financials report for the period ended Sept. The report will be available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
The company has scheduled a conference call to discuss its third quarter results at 11 a.m. Eastern on Nov. 15. Marcus Lemonis, president and CEO, and CFO Thomas Wolfe will host the conference call.
Those wishing to listen to the conference call by telephone may dial (866) 283-8243 in the U.S. and Canada. Please allow time for the operator to obtain your name, phone number and company name.
Camping World Inc. is marking the addition of RV sales to its Nashville, Tenn., location with a grand opening celebration, which began on Sept. 13 and will run through Saturday. According to a press release, Camping World has been a fixture in the Nashville market for many years but this is the first RV sales location in the city and the third in Tennessee.
The new 13,000-square-foot Camping World of Nashville facility is easily accessible from interstates 65, 40 and 24 and two miles from the historic Grand Ole Opry.
“We are looking forward to introducing our dealership and the exciting assortment of very competitively priced towable and motorized RVs,” said Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World RV Sales. “Bringing RVs to our Nashville retail store has been something our customers have consistently inquired about and we are happy to fulfill that request.”
“Camping World prides itself on excellent customer service and in offering a unique one stop shopping environment,” said Marcus Lemonis, Camping World chairman and CEO. “Our entire Nashville staff looks forward to helping our customers achieve the best possible shopping experience.”
Other Tennessee Camping World stores are located in Chattanooga and in the Knoxville area. The company has plans to announce acquisitions of additional locations and expansions in the next several months as part of Camping World’s disciplined and strategic growth strategy, in which the retailer continues to successfully grow the business and define itself as the clear leader in the RV and outdoor industry based on aggregate revenue, growth and market share.
As sales of RVs continue to move upward in 2012, so does the performance at Good Sam Enterprises LLC, a key industry player and parent to Camping World Inc.
During an investors’ conference call today (Aug. 15), Good Sam president and CEO Marcus Lemonis expanded upon the company’s second-quarter performance, which saw revenues of $146.3 million, a 13.4% increase over the second quarter of 2011, and net income of $7.2 million, an increase of 38.3% over the previous year.
It was the company’s highest quarter in terms of revenue since 2008.
Lemonis termed the results “impressive” and provided more data to reflect the company’s growth:
• Terming it “exceptional growth,” Lemonis said retail revenues in the quarter grew 19.7% with same-store retail sales at the company’s Camping World stores up 9.6% in the quarter.
• The company opened 13 new stores in the last 18 months, including one in Spokane, Wash., last week and will be opening two new stores in the next 60 days. New-store sales in some cases are exceeding expectations, he noted.
• Two stores were closed in the last 18 months in order to consolidate operations within specific geographic areas, and a third store, in Junction City, Ore., will be closed soon.
• Good Sam Club membership now totals 1,260,000.
• Revenue from the company’s emergency roadside assistance program was up 7.3% and memberships now total 384,000, up 10% from a year ago.
• The RV financing loan program has shown “solid growth” with loan volume increasing 21% year-to-date.
• More than 8,000 people attended the company’s Good Sam Rally in Louisville, Ky., in June with retail sales at the event strong.
• Revenue from Camping World stores via the Internet are up 82% for the first six months of 2012, based on an average purchase of $4 more than a year ago. Profitability from mail order and Internet sales would have been higher but were driven down by rising shipping costs.
• Growth in the company’s extended warranty program grew slightly, with signups now standing at 49,800.
Good Sam Enterprises LLC today (Aug. 14) reported second quarter revenues of $146.3 million, a 13.4% increase over the second quarter of 2011, and the highest quarter since 2008. Net income for the second quarter was $7.2 million, an increase of 38.3% over the previous year.
For the six months, Good Sam reported revenues of $256.4 million, an increase of $22.7 million, or 9.7%, from the comparable period in 2011. Net income for the first six months of 2012 was $7.2 million compared to $2.6 million for the same period in 2011.
Totals do not reflect sales and earnings from the company’s rolling stock operations.
A segment breakdown for the second quarter showed:
• Membership Services revenues of $41.8 million for the second quarter of 2012 increased $2.7 million, or 6.9%, from the comparable period in 2011. This revenue increase was largely attributable to a $1.3 million increase in extended vehicle warranty program revenue due to contract price increases, a $1.1 million increase in member events revenue due to an additional Good Sam rally, and a $0.7 million increase in emergency road service revenue. Membership Services segment profit of $14.7 million for the second quarter of 2012 decreased $0.3 million, or 2.3%, from the comparable period in 2011. This decrease was attributable to an $0.8 million increase in expenses to promote the Good Sam brand, an $0.8 million reduction in segment profit for vehicle insurance products, and a $0.6 million reduction in segment profit for emergency road service products primarily due to increased marketing and claims costs.
• Media revenues of $5.6 million for the second quarter of 2012 decreased $1.7 million, or 23.7%, from the comparable period in 2011. This decrease was primarily attributable to a $1.1 million revenue reduction resulting from the sale or closure of non-core media businesses in 2011, and a $0.6 million reduction in magazine revenue. Media segment profit of $0.6 million for the second quarter of 2012 increased by $1.2 million from the comparable period in 2011 due to a $0.5 million incremental gain on sale of media businesses, $0.3 million of cost savings from the sale or closure of non-core media businesses in 2011, a $0.2 million increase in segment profit for consumer shows operations, and a $0.2 million increase in segment profit for the annual directories.
• Retail revenues of $98.9 million for the second quarter of 2012 increased by $16.3 million, or 19.7%, from the comparable period in 2011. Store merchandise sales increased $9.9 million from the second quarter of 2011 due to a same store sales increase of $5.8 million, or 9.6%, compared to a 4.3% decrease for the second quarter of 2011, and a $4.8 million increase due to the opening of 13 new stores over the last 18 months, which were partially offset by decreased revenue from discontinued stores of $0.7 million. Two stores were closed in the last 18 months in order to consolidate operations within specific geographic areas. Retail segment profit of $5.6 million for the second quarter of 2012 increased by $0.1 million, or 1.8% from the comparable period in 2011 due to a $4.2 million increase in gross profit, and a $0.5 million reduction in depreciation and amortization expense, partially offset by a $4.5 million increase in selling, general and administrative expenses and a $0.1 million increase in net interest expense.
To view the entire report click here.
Camping World Inc. has reached an agreement with Hatch Lift LLC to carry the company’s products in the majority of its retail stores, according to a press release.
Lakewood, Colo.-based Hatch Lift, a supplier of hydraulic door lift kits, also manufacturers a bedlift kit and a doorplate repair kit that can be used to repair holes, cracks, or fractures on any flat surface. All three products will be in stock at most store locations, according to Gary Neff, president of Hatch Lift. In addition, replacement springs and replacement compartment doors (special order only), are also available through www.Hatchlift.com.
According to the company, hatchlift kits and bedlift kits incorporate hydraulic springs that safely hold open the compartment door or the bed platform, eliminating the need for unsightly, externally mounted brackets and temporary supports. Kits are also available for compartment doors mounted underneath slideout rooms.
“We’ve already shipped units to the West Coast and we begin shipping to the east coast this week,” Neff said.
Hatchlift kits are available in four sizes, all based on the overall dimension of the compartment door. Bedlift kits are available in two sizes for standard/queen and king size beds.
Camping World Inc. today (Aug. 6) announced that it has acquired Reichart’s Camping Center, an existing RV dealership in Hanover, Pa., headed by veteran dealer Dan Saltzgiver.
According to a press release, the location will offer RV sales, service and accessories on its 8 1/2-acre RV sales lot. Camping World noted that it is also set to announce plans for its new superCenter in Erie, Pa., in 2013.
Officially named Camping World of Hanover, the dealership has easy access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the Baltimore Beltway will feature new and pre-owned motorhomes and towables.
Saltzgiver, the former owner of Reichart’s Camping Center, will join Camping World in a senior level capacity operating the Hanover location while assisting to build market share in the Harrisburg, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia areas.
Saltzgiver comes to the Camping World team with 30 years of experience in the RV Industry. He is currently on the Pennsylvania State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons. He is also the show chairman for the annual Hershey RV Show run by the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle and Camping Association (PRVCA), a board member for the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) and a member of the RVIA’s Ad Hoc Destination Camping Committee.
“The acquisition of the Hanover location is a perfect strategic fit for us in terms of the location being contiguous to our existing business as well as allowing for expansion and broadening our market share throughout Pennsylvania as well as nearby Maryland and Washington, DC,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. “We are delighted to enhance our Camping World presence, increase our representation to existing and prospective RV owners and expand our service and product offering.”
Camping World of Hanover is the second location in Pennsylvania for Camping World RV Sales. Camping World’s Grumbines RV is located an hour away in southern Pennsylvania.
Camping World expects to open the new supercenter in Hanover in September and will have the current employees at the Reichart’s location join the Camping World staff. The location will also be adding additional positions for seasoned and professional RV sales associates, technicians and retail support.
Camping World Inc. today (Aug. 3) announced that it has acquired the main location of Harberson RV, an existing RV dealership in Holiday, Fla., north of Clearwater. According to a press release, the dealership will undergo building renovations over the next 30 days including an expansion to add a 4,000-square-foot Camping World retail part store.
Officially named Camping World of New Port Richey, the new dealership is located on U.S. Highway 19 in Holiday and will feature new and pre-owned motorhomes and towables.
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Camping World,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO. “We pick up the lines for Itasca and Fleetwood which will also be carried at the newly acquired Tampa location (formerly Long View RV). This newest development gives Camping World the dominant position both in towables and motorized at the Tampa SuperShow.”
Camping World expects to open the new Supercenter in the New Port Richey area in September. As the expansion begins, Camping World will have the current employees at the Harberson RV location join the Camping World staff while adding additional positions for seasoned and professional RV sales associates, technicians, and retail support to assist at this new location.
The store will be supported by 14 Camping World RV dealerships and retail stores already in the state of Florida. The company is also set to announce acquisitions of additional RV dealerships across the country.
Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis will appear on ABC’s “Secret Millionaire” Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. (Eastern).
According to a press release, Lemonis returns to his home town of Miami, Fla., to live and volunteer among its poorest residents, learning first-hand about their daily struggles and how he can use his success and leadership to help them break the cycle of tough times.
“Secret Millionaire reflects perfectly the Good Sam philosophy of giving back where it’s needed,” said Lemonis. “Good Sam was founded back in 1966, loosely based on the story of the Good Samaritan who went out of his way to help a fellow traveler. This show provided me personally a great opportunity to help others in my hometown community.”
The reality show follows one of America’s self-made millionaires as they leave the comforts of their home behind and spend a week in one of the country’s poorest areas. Their true identities remain concealed until the end of the week’s journey as they get to know real people who lead real lives in these desolate situations. Each show peaks as the millionaires award hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money to the unsung heroes of that community.
Camping World Inc. announced plans to open its newest retail location in Kingston, N.Y., at the former site of Camper’s Barn.
According to a press release, Camping World of the Hudson Valley will be located just off the I-87 NYS Thruway Circle and will feature both a Camping World retail store and Camping World RV dealership.
“Our newest facility in Kingston is convenient for RV travelers with the close proximity to Albany and New York City,” said Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World RV Sales. “Kingston is an ideal location for RVers that travel to explore architecture, museums and history of the Hudson Valley and the scenic beauty of the Catskill Mountains.”
The scheduled grand opening celebration is slated for August. The company has plans to employ a staff of 50 team members to increase their sales, service and support needs for this dealership and accessory store.
The newest location adds to the company’s presence in New York with other Camping World retail locations including facilities in Bath, Churchville, Hamburg and Syracuse.
“This expansion represents our commitment to provide our customers with increased convenience and an accessible, knowledgeable sales and service staff,” said Marcus Lemonis, Camping World chairman and CEO. “Demands for one stop shopping RV conveniences continue to grow and we look forward to providing our selection and service to the Hudson Valley region.”
The company has plans to announce acquisitions of additional locations in the next several months as part of Camping World’s disciplined and strategic growth strategy, in which the retailer continues to successfully grow the business and define itself as the clear leader in the RV and outdoor industry based on aggregate revenue, growth and market share.
Camping World Inc. today (June 29) announced that it has acquired Long View RV Superstores, an existing RV dealership in the Tampa, Fla., area. According to a press release, the acquisition closing is scheduled for July.
Camping World of Tampa is located on I-4 just minutes from the current Camping World location. Plans are to expand the new Long View location to be the largest retail facility in the company’s almost 100 locations. The expansion will include a 14,000-square-foot Camping World retail store and a service center with over 50 bays.
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Camping World,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. “This location will be the flagship for Camping World retail, not only in Florida, but in the entire U.S.”
The new Camping World facility will be supported by 13 Camping World RV dealerships and retail stores already in the state of Florida. Camping World is planning on acquiring the property for the new Tampa location in the next several months and expects to open the new Supercenter in July.
Camping World said it will retain current employees while also adding staff, including RV sales associates, technicians and retail support to assist at this new location. The company is also set to soon announce acquisition of additional RV dealerships in the local area.
Camping World Inc. has entered into definitive agreements to acquire Lee’s RV Superstore, an existing RV dealership in the Oklahoma City area.
According to a press release, the acquisition closing is scheduled for the end of June. The dealership has served the Oklahoma City area for 34 years.
“We believe the continued enhancement of service and sales to local customers will depend on a large established, national organization such as Camping World,” said Lee Litchfield, owner of Lee’s RV. “We considered all of the alternatives available for the future of our company and felt that an affiliation with Camping World and Good Sam was the best decision for our family, our employees and our customers.”
Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World RV Sales, stated, “The acquisition of Lee’s RV is an important strategic fit and it offers us excellent growth opportunities in the south Central region of the U.S. Lee’s RV has a professional and talented management team and we are pleased to reach this agreement with such a high quality organization. We look forward to the positive sales and earnings contributions the Oklahoma City location will make to our company in the years ahead.”
With this new acquisition, Camping World now has its first RV dealership in the state of Oklahoma.
Editor’s Note: The following article appeared in the Tampa Bay Tribune outlining the ongoing battle between aftermarket parts retailer Camping World Inc. and Lazydays RV SuperCenter. To view the entire story click here.
The Lazydays RV SuperCenter could soon have a new archrival — inside its own complex in Seffner, Fla.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Tribune, the Camping World retail store that sits within the broader Lazydays campus plans to start selling RVs, trailers and other major equipment in direct competition with Lazydays, after a bitter legal dispute between the two.
“We’ll have everything they sell, but for less,” said Marcus Lemonis, who oversees the Camping World chain of 90 stores, plus the Camping World RV Sales chain that includes Dusty’s RV and the Good Sam RV membership club.
The new operation could be up and running within a few weeks, Lemonis said, adding that he can bring more RVs from other dealerships he controls across Florida. The change adds to the long-running legal drama surrounding Lazydays.
Camping World opened a 20,000-square-foot retail store inside the Lazydays compound in 1995, and it remained the best-performing store in the chain until recently.
Lazydays founder Don Wallace sold the RV dealership in 2006, but Wallace still owns and controls the land underneath as landlord.
Wallace and current owners of the dealership remain in a long-running legal dispute, while the dealership has changed hands several times and filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The Wayzata Investment Partners private equity firm now owns the dealership.
Meanwhile, Camping World officials claim that a longstanding contract requires Lazydays to buy its RV parts and maintenance supplies from Camping World, though Lemonis says Lazydays started buying its supplies elsewhere.
“Don and I always had a good relationship,” Lemonis said. “The nature of the Lazydays business now is dramatically different. I’m not going to mess around with these turkeys anymore.”
Lazydays officials tell a different story.
They claim that a series of arrangements with Camping World prohibited Camping World from selling RVs within 50 miles of Tampa, yet several months ago, companies Lemonis controls rebranded an RV supply store 42 miles away in Bartow called Dusty’s Camper World into a Camping World RV store and started selling new and used RVs.
Lazydays RV SuperCenter CFO Randy Lay said that his company brought legal action against Camping World Inc. around two months ago, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
The statement came in response to a press release issued by Camping World, a retailer of RV aftermarket products, on Friday (June 8) stating that the company had severed its “cooperation agreement” with Seffner, Fla.-based Lazydays, citing breach of contract.
Lay told the Tampa Bay Business Journal that some of the agreements with Camping World date back to the mid-1990s when the companies weren’t direct competitors.
“It made sense to assist with each other’s businesses,” he said.
But two months ago, Lay said a Bartow, Fla., RV dealership changed its name from Dusty’s RV to Camping World RV Sales, and that violated the agreement Camping World referenced in its statement.
Lazydays brought legal action in Tampa, which is ongoing, he said. Lay added that the company has a policy of not conducting litigation via written statements, citing a need to be “circumspect in his comments.”
In the Camping World press release, Marcus Lemonis, CEO and president of Bowling Green, Ky.-based Camping World, said, “I will not stand by and watch an agreement that was entered into in good faith between (former Lazydays owner) Don Wallace and my predecessors, and which has worked beneficially for several years, be shamefully violated.”
In an e-mail to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Lemonis said Camping World does not own or operate any RV dealerships anywhere in the country. Dusty’s was acquired by a sister company in 2003 along with 60 other dealerships over the years, he wrote.
“The sister company simply licenses the name Camping World RV Sales but the legal entity with the DMV and the State of Florida is not Camping World or any company owned by Camping World,” he said in the email.
Camping World Inc., a leading retailer of RV parts and accessories, announced today (June 8) termination of its cooperation agreement with Seffner, Fla.-based RV dealer Lazydays RV SuperCenter, effective immediately.
According to a press release, Bowling Green, Ky.-based Camping World has officially notified Lazydays of its termination of the cooperation agreement that was signed by local Tampa entrepreneur and philanthropist Don Wallace in 1995. During the tenure of the agreement while Don Wallace owned Lazydays, this partnership “not only benefited both companies financially but also directly led to the creation of significant job placement for the greater Tampa community.”
Since Don Wallace sold the Lazydays dealership in 2004, Camping World maintains, the dealership has operated under two separate business owners. Camping World said that these changes to the company, established in 1976, had a detrimental effect over the years.
Lazydays CEO John Horton, when called late Friday afternoon, was unavailable for comment.
Camping World, a 1,500-employee company operating more than 90 locations, maintains that its Seffner-based parts and accessories store has been a fixture in the Tampa market and, historically, has been the top-selling retail location for the company.
Camping World said that a principal point of the cooperation agreement was that Lazydays was to only purchase parts and accessories from its Seffner location. On several occasions, the Kentucky-based retailer maintains, Camping World has notified Lazydays of the breach of contract.
Wallace and Lazydays are now locked in a suit and counter suit over the fate of the land underneath the Lazydays dealership. Through a company called I-4 Land Holding Limited Co., Wallace still owns the land under the dealership he founded in 1976, one of the nation’s high profile dealerships.