New episodes of Marcus Lemonis’s show “The Profit” premiered on Oct. 14. Since “The Profit” first premiered, Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, has invested more than $7 million of his own money in the companies featured on the series, according to Forbes magazine..
Lemonis leads close to 6,000 employees in more than 100 cities across the U.S. He started the company after realizing the RV industry had potential for growth and bought more than 100 RV companies from “mom-and-pop” dealerships across the country and turned them into Camping World RV SuperCenters. Combined with Good Sam Enterprises in 2010, the consolidated company will record close to $2.5 billion in sales in 2013.
RVBusiness magazine named Marcus as their 2007 Newsmaker of the Year. In addition, Crain’s Chicago Business featured him in their 2005 edition of “40 under 40”; and in 2008, Ernst & Young named him Entrepreneur of the Year.
In a Q&A interview with Dan Schwabel, Lemonis talks about lessons he learned from last season, how he handles family dynamics in small businesses, which of his investments he most regrets and more.
To read the Forbes interview, click here.
Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC today (June 25) announced plans to open a new facility in Rossford, Ohio, slated for the spring of 2014.
According to a press release, the new supercenter will be located in the Toledo area near the intersection of Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike and is near numerous rapidly growing businesses, including a Bass Pro Shop. Development plans call for a 10- to 12-acre facility including an RV dealership, service bays, a Camping World retail store and a state-of-the-art collision center. The new store will join over 100 other national locations along with two other supercenters near Rossford in Akron, Ohio, and Belleville, Mich.
Camping World said it was approached by several developers and ended up choosing the Toledo area because of the national and state parks, fishing, camping and other recreational points of interest that are key for the RV lifestyle. With expected support of city officials, Camping World is in final stages of planning the new location while discussing generating tax revenue and new employment opportunities to the community. Early discussions have shown strong support and interest from multiple manufacturers, suppliers and vendors looking for additional expansion in to this growing market.
“Our growth plans across the country are consistent with Camping World’s philosophy of commitment to enhance our customers’ total RV experience,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. “By increasing the growth of both the retail and dealership locations in our network, Camping World is getting closer to achieving our goal of truly being the one-stop shopping location for the RV and outdoor enthusiast across the country and to continue to bring the best RV makes and models to the RV community.”
The company expects to open the new Supercenter in the Toledo area in early 2014 with plans to hire about 25 to 30 new employees to reinforce their sales, service and support needs for the dealership and accessory store.
“Camping World is dedicated to providing its customers with the best experience and value in the industry. Our goal is to expand our business into new areas, and we are very excited about serving the greater Toledo community,” said Lemonis. “Camping World has a strong history of unparalleled value, selection and personal customer service and we look forward to serving the Toledo area in the near future.”
All details, including launch timing, specific address, RV manufacturers and product lines will be announced at a later date.
The upturn in wholesale and retail sales of RVs has carried over to the service side with Good Sam Enterprises LLC reporting surges in a number of company metrics.
During an investors’ conference call today (May 16) that followed up Good Sam’s first quarter results announced on Tuesday, Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis said the company is seeing upticks from sales of roadside assistance and membership in the Good Sam Club right through to registrations for the upcoming Good Sam Rally in Syracuse, N.Y.
Good Sam reported revenues for the quarter, ending March 31, totaled $114 million, up 3.6% from a year earlier. Lemonis said the positive gains were a reflection of the public’s overall acceptance of Good Sam’s products and services.
Among the improvements:
• Sales from all Camping World stores rose 8.4%, with same-store sales up 4%.
• Retail transaction counts rose 7%.
• Good Sam Club memberships grew by 6.8%.
Perhaps the most surprising positive development came in the firm’s RV rally sector. Lemonis reported that advance reservations for the Syracuse Camping World/Good Sam Rally June 13-16 at the New York State Fairgrounds has already outpaced the company’s best rally in the past five years with “a shocking number of reservations.”
The figures are shocking in part because Good Sam “significantly” raised the cost of vendor booth space, but has not felt the downward pressure in bookings he expected, Lemonis said. It will be the company’s first RV rally in the Northeast.
Lemonis called the rally business “a form of advertising that should pay for itself and not cost us $400,000, which it cost us last year.” The final rally for 2013 is Oct. 17-20 in Atlanta.
On a year-over-year basis, Lemonis noted further growth metrics:
• Roadside assistance policies grew to 427,350 compared to 368,439 a year ago with a renewal rate of 91%. Lemonis hopes to hit the 500,000 mark within the next year.
• Extended warranty policyholders totaled 51,829 compared to 49,700 a year ago.
• Good Sam Club membership now stands at 1,357,110, compared to 1,274,079 a year ago.
Lemonis further noted that Good Sam opened three Camping World stores in the quarter, with eight others scheduled for the remainder of the year, bringing the total by year-end to 104. The company will reach the $7.8 million cap on capital expenditures mandated by its indenture agreement, but the Good Sam corporate owner has pledged another $2 million to $2.5 million to make up the difference to fund the expansion effort, Lemonis said.
Lemonis revealed a few disappointing results. One of them, a branding effort with NASCAR, is off to “a slow start” and Lemonis took the blame for the slow pace giving himself a grade of “C-minus” thus far.
He also said Good Sam is tweaking the fuel purchase program in tandem with Flying J. Almost 90,000 customers have signed on with “a nice uptick in retention” but the requirement for a separate card has been seen as a drawback. Good Sam plans to modify its Good Sam membership cards with a magnetic strip so members won’t have to carry an additional card, he said.
Good Sam Enterprises LLC today (April 4) announced a partnership with Rand McNally to launch a suite of navigation products designed “to meet the needs of today’s outdoor consumer,” according to a press release.
“Today’s consumer has made it clear they want to increase their ease of learning about and navigating to the places they want to visit and the areas where they participate in the activities they love,” noted Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Good Sam. “Customers will appreciate an increased ease of planning and navigating to their destinations, such as events from horse shows to trade shows, national parks, campgrounds, lakes and trails as well as all of the great places to see along the way, with products customized for them.”
The first product to launch through the partnership is the Good Sam GPS, powered by Rand McNally. The device provides custom navigation on suitable routes, taking into account the specific vehicle or vehicle/trailer combination. After entering vehicle attributes, including length of towed trailers, if propane is being carried and vehicle and trailer height, the Good Sam GPS provides navigation on roads suitable for the customer’s specific vehicle configuration.
For travelers on the go, the Good Sam GPS also features information and navigation to more than 2,000 Good Sam affiliated campgrounds where Good Sam Club members receive nightly discounts, as well as 12,000 additional parks and campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada. The Good Sam GPS also provides information and navigation to thousands of points of interest, all searchable directly on the device.
For NASCAR fans, the Good Sam GPS includes pre-programmed track locations. NASCAR locations will not only help fans, but NASCAR team haulers too.
“We are very excited by the early interest in the product by potential partners and are in discussions with RV and trailer rental companies that have interest in providing the Good Sam GPS for use by their customers,” concluded Lemonis.
Good Sam said that additional products are in development and slated for release during 2013.
Other features of the Good Sam GPS include.
• 7-inch, high-definition screen – nearly 90% larger than most GPS units.
• Full-color touchscreen.
• Large and high volume speaker.
• Turn-by-turn spoken directions.
• Pre-programmed “Points of Interest.”
• Lifetime map updates.
• Wi-Fi connectivity.
Good Sam Enterprises LLC posted improved performance for 2012 as revenue totaled $518.7 million, representing an increase of $37.3 million, or 7.8%, from 2011. Good Sam reported the opening of 17 Camping World Inc. stores over the past two years that pushed retail sales to a 15.4% increase.
Net income for the full year was $9.4 million compared to $3.9 million for 2011.
For the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, Good Sam reported sales of $122.7 million while the company incurred a loss of just over $1 million.
Good Sam’s financials do not reflect rolling stock sales from the company’s Camping World unit.
A breakdown by segment for the full year showed:
• Membership Services revenue for 2012 of $153.8 million increased $6 million, or 4%, from 2011. This revenue increase was largely attributable to a $6.2 million increase in extended vehicle warranty program revenue due to contract price increases and the development of additional programs, a $1.6 million increase in roadside assistance revenue, a $2.4 million increase in member events revenue due to two additional annual member rallies, and a $0.6 million increase in marketing fee revenue from health and life insurance products.
• Retail revenues of $325.8 million for 2012 increased $43.4 million, or 15.4%, from 2011. Store merchandise sales increased $34.2 million from 2011 due to a same store sales increase of $19.3 million, or 9.9%, (compared to a 1.1% decrease in same store sales for 2011 versus 2010), and a $17.3 million revenue increase from the opening of 17 new stores over the past 24 months, partially offset by decreased revenue from discontinued stores of $2.4 million.
• Membership Services – Media revenues of $39.2 million for 2012 decreased $12.1 million, or 23.5%, from 2011. This decrease was primarily attributable to a $3.9 million revenue reduction resulting from the sale or closure of non-core media businesses in 2011, a $1.6 million reduction in circulation and advertising magazine revenue, a $1.1 million reduction in consumer show revenue resulting from reduced sponsorship revenue and three fewer shows produced, and a $5.5 million reduction in annual directory revenues due to combining two annual directories in order to create an upgraded product with reduced brand confusion, reduced direct mail marketing and phase out the unprofitable CD/DVD version.
To view the entire report click here.
Good Sam Enterprises LLC announced today (March 12) the commencement of an offer to purchase up to $4.95 million in principal amount of the company’s outstanding 11.50% senior secured notes due 2016. According to a news release, the offer to purchase will expire at 5 p.m. (Eastern) on April 10.
In accordance with the indenture governing the notes and subject to the terms and conditions of the Offer to Purchase, Good Sam will pay a purchase price in cash equal to 101% of the principal amount of notes validly tendered (and not validly withdrawn) prior to the expiration date that are accepted, plus accrued but unpaid interest thereon to the settlement date for the Offer to Purchase.
The offer to purchase is only being made pursuant to the excess cash flow offer to purchase and the related letter of transmittal that the company is distributing to holders of notes in connection with the offer to purchase.
G&G Media Group LLC, a new Elkhart, Ind., publishing firm launched by two well-known RV industry veterans, has announced the acquisition of the flagship trade journal RVBusiness (RVB) from Affinity Group.
The sale to current RVB Publisher Sherman Goldenberg and Beverly Gardner, proprietor of Beverly Gardner & Associates, an Elkhart, Ind., publishers representative firm, includes the popular RVBUSINESS.com website and relevant trademarks.
“RVBusiness is a venerable and respected trade name with a strong following,” said Goldenberg, who will transition from his position as a vice president and publisher for Affinity Group as a result of the sale. “And we’re appreciative to the folks at Affinity Group for giving us the opportunity to continue providing both print and web services to North America’s RV manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and distributors under the RVBusiness brand name.”
“People around this industry recognize the prestige and sense of authority that RVBusiness brings to the table,” added Gardner. “We’re assembling a team in G&G that should greatly enhance that status.”
The RVBusiness sale comes at a time of considerable change for Affinity Group, which is turning up the focus on its consumer-centric business and publications.
Affinity Group Inc. (dba Good Sam Enterprises) CEO Marcus Lemonis confirms that trade-oriented publications, events and promotions are no longer a good fit for the company, which is more focused on the end-consumer. It currently generates a range of consumer websites and print titles, including Highways, Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines plus the Trailer Life and Woodall’s campground directory titles. Additionally the company operates the Good Sam Club, Camping World retail stores and a variety of insurance products and services.
“With RVBusiness and RVBUSINESS.com being such long-term pillars in the RV industry and the industry’s reliance on RVBusiness for independent news on a daily basis,” said Lemonis, “it’s become difficult with the industry consolidation both on the manufacturing and dealer sides for us to remain independent as much as we try to be — because of industry perceptions — and to stay focused on our core competency.
“It is not the core competency of the company to provide independent news service, and the industry is in dire need of the true independent news source,” added Lemonis. “Thus, we’ve decided to enter into a letter of intent with Sherm Goldenberg, a 26-year employee and contributor to RVBusiness and the Affinity Group, and his partner, Beverly Gardner, so that the longstanding success that RVBusiness has experienced can continue.”
G&G looks to maintain and improve its web and print services, said Goldenberg, adding that the magazine also looks for a return in the near term to a monthly print publishing cycle from the bi-monthly format to which it turned a year ago coming out of the recession. Contact Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Goldenberg at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.