Seffner, Fla.-based Lazydays RV will be holding a grand opening for its “Better RVing” store on March 15 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a local pet rescue.
According to a press release, the new store is built inside the main building at the dealer’s long-time location in Seffner, serving the Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg markets.
Included in the grand opening event will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony along with a complimentary lunch, product demonstrations, golf cart tours, seminars and prize drawings. Rescued pets will also be at the store for adoption.
Lazydays said the the new “Better RVing” store will be an “integrated experience of the RV lifestyle and the products that support it.” There will be on-site experts, daily seminars, RV products from local companies like Florida Craftsmen, along with nationally-sold product lines that include satellites and mattresses.
For more information about the Better RVing store grand opening, call (866) 317-4019.
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.”
Lazydays RV Center Inc., the world’s largest single-site RV dealership, has taken the wraps off BetterRVing.com, a new online home “dedicated to helping RVers from around the world enhance their journey and get the most out of their RV experience,” the company noted in a release detailing the new venture.
According to the Seffner, Fla., company, the new website will allow RVers to gather, share their stories with one another and get tips from knowledgable experts in the RV industry. The site, which can also be accessed through Lazydays.com, the company’s home page, is slated to include slideshows, forums, videos and other media that “engages RVers in a way the industry has never seen before.” Topics currently available on the site include a review of the 2010 Forest River Georgetown Class A coach, a video highlighting how to use a voltmeter, how to fix a multiplex system, RV tips and gear.
BetterRVing.com also is a printed magazine published quarterly.
Strings of lights adorned with hanging lanterns connected an array of new 2010 Tiffin motorhomes – and when combined with the November starlit sky – formed a luminous canopy over 260 RV lovers gathered for a three-day block party held by Lazydays RV Center Inc. in Seffner, Fla., to launch the newest Tiffin Motor Homes Inc. models that recently arrived at the dealership, according to a news release.
Guests kicked off the event mingling and sharing the love of the RV lifestyle with one another over dinner – continuing the evening with festivities such as copious spirits, an exploration of new motorhomes and marshmallow roasting for the making of s’mores.
There was a splendid decor of Americana, but perhaps no icon was more anticipated and revered than Bob Tiffin, the founder of Tiffin Motor Homes, who personally met with each and every guest. Knowing that those who love RVing can never get enough technical information, a panel of seasoned RV experts was assembled to conduct several Q&A seminars. This group of Lazydays most experienced sales consultants and master certified technicians, alongside several Tiffin experts, left no question unanswered.
Lazydays was founded in 1976 with two travel trailers and $500. Today, the company’s continued focus on unparalleled customer service has not only made it the largest single-site RV dealership in North America but also a place that many RVers refer to as their home away from home.
Event photos are attached. For more information on Lazydays, visit www.Lazydays.com.
Editor’s Note: John Horton, CEO of Lazydays RV Center Inc., wrote this letter which appears on the company’s website.
This current recession has had a negative impact on nearly every sector of our economy and the RV industry has been particularly hard hit. In light of the challenges that the downturn has presented to us, we have for some time been working with our bondholders to restructure our debt. We believe this financial revamping process will help Lazydays weather the present storm, while positioning our business so we can better serve our customers and ultimately thrive as our country’s economic conditions improve.
Today, September 4, 2009, we announced that we have reached agreement in principle with our floor plan lenders and the majority (in value) of our bondholders on a debt restructuring plan that aims to put us on a sound financial foundation both now and for years to come. Upon receiving approval from the requisite 50% by number of our bondholders, we expect to implement our plan by voluntarily filing to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Our Chapter 11 filing will be a “prepackaged” filing; the Company’s financial arrangements will have been pre-negotiated and concluded prior to the filing. We believe this is the most expeditious and efficient way to strengthen our balance sheet without impacting our customers, employees or suppliers in the process.
The debt restructuring is a financial transaction that will not impact the operations of our dealership, nor will it impact your experience here at Lazydays. You can be assured that it is 100% business as usual at Lazydays. We will continue to offer the very best product selection in the industry, supported by our professional sales force and serviced by our skilled technicians. Our customer benefits remain unchanged, including all the services we offer and the warranties we provide.
Most importantly, none of our employees will be affected; we are all here and ready to be of service to you with an even greater energy and passion to take wonderful care of you and all of your RV needs.
Completing this restructuring will make us a much stronger company and ensure our viability for the long term by eliminating our debt and allowing us to invest more in a business that provides the best customer service in the RV industry and the best experience to any RVer in this country.
Please know that we work extremely hard every day to make sure our customers feel like part of our family. Just as every family encounters some difficulties from time to time, so too have we. But not for one minute will we let that affect your experience here at Lazydays. We will work harder than ever to make our family proud.
Our goal is, and always has been, to provide the perfect RV ownership experience. Your purchase of an RV is just the first step in the wonderful journey that makes up the RV lifestyle and we promise to be with you every step of the way. That’s what we have been doing for 33 years and that is what we plan on doing for at least 33 years more.
This is Lazydays.
If you love RVing…this is home.
John Horton, CEO of Lazydays RV Center Inc. in Seffner, Fla., told the St. Petersburg Times he hopes to expedite the company through bankruptcy by December.
The company has struck a deal with bondholders to eliminate all of its $137 million debt through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
With its sprawling 126-acre complex in Seffner, Fla., Lazydays is the largest single-site RV center in the nation. It’s also at the heart of an industry that’s been shedding jobs and cutting costs rapidly as it struggles through a severe recession.
A committee representing Lazydays’ floorplan lenders and an ad hoc committee representing 82% of its bondholders agreed to the restructuring, the company said today (Sept. 4), but it must present the plan to all bondholders.
If approved, it will cut the RV dealer’s annual cash interest costs by about $16.2 million.
“What it means for us long term is we’re going to emerge with a very strong balance sheet and I think a great opportunity to gain even more market share and be a real dominant force in the industry as we go forward,” Horton said in the interview.
The RV industry has been hard-hit the past couple of years by the dual punch of higher gas prices and consumers reluctant to spend on big-ticket, leisure-oriented items. At the same time, banks have tightened financing for luxury purchases like recreational vehicles and boats.
As a result, RV sales nationally have fallen dramatically, cut in half in some markets. Some of the biggest RV manufacturers in the country have filed for bankruptcy reorganization.
In November, Lazydays opted not to pay an $8.1 million debt payment that was due to bondholders, negotiating since then to cut its debt and stay in business. Its work force was cut from 750 to less than 500.
Ricky Gunn, a 16-year sales veteran at Lazydays who was laid off nine months ago, said one of the biggest problems is the tightening of bank financing. Bank deals for 115% financing used to be available; now it’s 85%.
Horton declined to discuss current revenues but called recent sales “encouraging.”
“I think people understand the economy and (have) a little bit better outlook,” he said, “and are feeling confident about making a purchase on something they really love.”
Lazy Days RV Center Inc. today (Sept. 4) announced it has entered into an agreement in principle with its floorplan lenders and an ad hoc committee representing approximately 82% of its bondholders by value on a plan to restructure its debt.
If implemented as proposed, the restructuring plan will eliminate all of the company’s $137 million of debt (other than its ongoing floorplan credit facility), reducing its annual cash interest costs by approximately $16.2 million through the elimination of bond interest payments, according to a news release.
The company’s ongoing cash interest expense will be approximately $3 million incurred on its vehicle financing line, representing a reduction of 84% in annual cash interest expense from a total of $19.2 million prior to the restructuring.
“We believe the plan we are announcing today will help preserve and enhance our business for many years to come and are pleased to already have received support for this plan from a significant majority of our bondholders and our floor plan lenders,” said John Horton, president and CEO of the Seffner, Fla.-based RV dealership. “This debt restructuring plan will provide us with greater financial flexibility and more cash to invest in our business. It will allow us to continue to offer, uninterrupted, our customers the same great selection in RVs, the same high level of service, and the same unique experience they have come to expect. As the largest single-site recreational vehicle retailer in the world, we are in a strong position to withstand the turbulence in the market and to take full advantage of our leadership position as the market recovers.”
Support for the debt restructuring plan is currently being solicited by the company from its broader bondholder base. If approvals are received from the requisite percentages of the bondholders, as is expected, it is anticipated that the restructuring will be implemented through a so-called “prepackaged” Chapter 11 proceeding. A prepackaged Chapter 11 is designed to be completed promptly, within several months of filing, with minimal disruption to the company’s business and without affecting services to the Company’s customers. During the restructuring process, Lazydays will remain open for business as usual and will continue to serve customers in the normal course.
The company plans to move quickly through the reorganization process with its same commitment to professionalism, customer service and quality, Horton said. Customer benefits will remain unchanged.
Under the proposed plan, all suppliers will be paid in full — or “unimpaired.”
The company has adequate cash on hand to satisfy obligations associated with conducting business in the ordinary course. In addition, the company’s floorplan lenders, Bank of America and Key Bank, have agreed to provide interim funding through the company’s credit facility to support the acquisition of inventory during the restructuring period and have also consented to an amended floor plan agreement that will be effective on confirmation of the plan. The ad hoc committee of bondholders has agreed to invest $10 million into the reorganized Lazy Days.
The company’s legal adviser is Kirkland & Ellis LLP and its financial adviser is Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc. For more information on the restructuring, visit www.BetterLazydays.com.
Lazydays RV Center Inc., Seffner, Fla., was recently recognized by Tiffin Motor Homes Inc. as its No. 1 dealer for 2009, marking the fourth consecutive year for this achievement, according to a news release.
Additionally, all of Tiffin’s Top 10 salesperson awards were awarded to Lazydays sales consultants.
“Lazydays has been a valued partner of ours for more than 20 years,” said Tim Tiffin, general manager for Tiffin, Red Bay, Ala. “Their entire team does a great job representing all of our products and taking wonderful care of our mutual customers. We congratulate them once again on another terrific Tiffin year.”
Dominic Calabro, general sales manager for Lazydays, commented, “For the past 20 years Tiffin has played an integral role in our ability to provide quality motorhomes to our customers. This coupled with our shared commitment to providing customers with a better RVing experience has been the principal factor for our continued successes.”
Lazydays was founded in 1976 with two travel trailers and $500. Today, the company is the largest single-site RV dealership in North America.
Lazydays RV Center Inc., Seffner, Fla., was recently recognized by Winnebago Industries Inc. as its top selling dealer for the 2009 model year.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that Lazydays has achieved this No. 1 selling status. Additional achievements include top Winnebago dealer (both national and eastern area) and top Itasca dealer (both national and eastern area), according to a news release.
“Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Lazydays team is that in addition to earning the No. 1 position, they also earned the coveted Circle of Excellence award which measures customer satisfaction with the sales and service process,” said Roger Martin, vice president of sales and marketing for Winnebago.
“Lazydays has been a recipient of this award every year since its inception and is one of only four dealers across the U.S. and Canada that has earned this distinction. Lazydays can be proud to know they not only sold more motorhomes, but their customers expressed a high degree of satisfaction with them after the sale as well.”
“We very much value our long time relationship with Winnebago and feel as though we have achieved these accomplishments together,” said Dominic Calabro, Lazydays’ general sales manager Dominic. “It is our belief that year after year these achievements continue to be a direct result of our mutual dedication to delivering products with exceptional quality to our customers as well as providing them with an outstanding ownership experience.”
Lazydays RV Center Inc., Seffner, Fla., has launched an aggressive sales promotion that provides an estimated $1,500 to $5,000 in free scheduled maintenance to purchasers of towable and motorized RVs.
”The value is significant because it’s a real cost (savings) to the customer,” said Lazydays Marketing Director Tina Richey.
The promotion on both new and used units runs through July 31, and may be extended, she said.
With the purchase of an eligible RV — ”as is” units aren’t included — customers are given a coupon book to be used during semi-annual visits to Lazydays’ sprawling facility in the Tampa suburb, which bills itself as the largest single-location dealership in the country.
For motorized RVs, maintenance includes lubricating the chassis, changing a variety of filters, topping off fluids, servicing generators and checking and repairing roof seals and seams, inspecting brakes and refrigerators.
Towables receive brake, axle and roof and refrigerator inspections.