Editor’s Note: The following article appears in the latest issue of Woodall’s Campground Management detailing the genesis and subsequent growth of Lazy River Campground in New York State. Today, the 170-site Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Lazy River is one of the top Leisure System Inc.’s (LSI) franchises in the country. To read the entire story click here.
When brothers-in-law Glenn Bracklow and John Lawrence and John’s wife, Heidi (Glenn’s sister), decided in the early 1990s that they wanted to go into the outdoor hospitality business, they had two choices: start from scratch or buy an existing campground.
They chose the latter and in late summer 1991 bought a rundown campground in the Hudson River Valley near Gardiner, N.Y. The facilities were meager, John recalled. There was a single cash register in the office and a pop machine outside. “There were a couple of hookups. The place wasn’t nice,” John says succinctly. But the site had some special features. The Wallkill River bordered the mostly level campground on the east side, thick woods covered a portion of the park and a stately barn and 40-foot silo served as a focal point to the 80-acre property.
They kept the campground open that first fall but when the season ended in October, they began to gut the barn and update the sites, running water lines and 30-amp service to 100 sites. They added an inviting covered porch to the barn – which serves as the office and campground store – thereby creating a popular gathering place for guests to sit and chat.
When they reopened in May 1992 as the Lazy River Campground, they had something they could be proud of.
Today, the 170-site Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Lazy River is one of the top Leisure System Inc.’s (LSI) franchises in the country, earning multiple awards from LSI and endearing generations of campers. Sites are spacious. The campground is gated which gives an added sense of security.
“We want to make people feel comfortable where they can let their kids run loose” within reason, John said.
Success has not come without a stiff price. Along the way, these soft-spoken owners have battled brutal hurricanes, several floods and repressive governmental and lending regulations that hamper the future of their investment.
To read the entire article click here.