Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) recent purchase of the Lazydays campground in Tucson, Ariz., for $4.35 million is proving to be a beneficial partnership, according to a report by the Arizona Daily Star.
Lazydays RV will continue to operate its Tucson dealership and service center while the two companies will work together to promote both businesses.
“It’s a marriage that works well for both of us,” said Randy Lay, CFO for Lazydays. “KOA has a broad network of campgrounds, and our customer bases are very similar.”
Lay said Lazydays thought the campground should be run by the “best of the best” so it could focus on the dealership and service center.
“It’s two separate companies working side by side,” said Jeff Gooch, general manager of KOA Tucson. “Our goal is to improve the park. KOA is about kids, so we’ll probably get a playground with a swing set and stuff for the kids to do.”
The campground has about 400 spaces on more than 43 acres. Citrus trees — more than 400 of them — cover the property. The fruit is free for the taking by campers. “They get to pick all the fruit they can possibly eat,” Gooch said.
The property includes a convention center, workout room, laundry facility, RV storage facility, two swimming pools, putting green, games such as horseshoes, on-site restaurant and bar, and a store with sundries. For campers with dogs, there is a dog park for large and small dogs.
“It’s a great park,” Gooch said. “We have a little bit of everything here.”
Riverside, Calif.-based Pacific Coachworks Inc. (PCW) announced that Lazydays will soon be carrying Panther travel trailers along with the Powerlite toy hauler and fifth-wheel lines at its Arizona dealerhship.
Located in Tucson with an RV service center and RV campground on site, Lazydays offers new and used quality recreational vehicles, as well as RV service, maintenance and collision repairs. Lazydays is headquartered in Seffner, Fla.
“We are very excited to partner with Pacific Coachworks and look forward to adding their Panther and Powerlite models to our mix here in Tucson,” said Chris Trapeni, general manager of Lazydays’ Arizona dealership. “They build a quality product at a great price point and that’s what our customers are asking for.”
“Lazydays has been selling RVs for nearly 40 years. Their reputation precedes them. PCW is thrilled to have them exhibit our products,” said Jeff Daily, general manager of PCW. “We’re certain the Panther and Powerlite will complement the RVs they currently sell, and look forward to a successful relationship.”
Lazydays announced the appointment of David Witty as vice president of services, effective June 6. According to a press release, Witty will lead all areas of the company’s services business and oversee its “Customer for Life” initiative, which is focused on delivering on the company’s promise to provide an industry-leading purchase and delivery experience to each and every customer.
“We are delighted to have David join our team,” said Tim Sheehan, president and CEO of Lazydays. “His background in developing and executing standardized processes in the sales, service and fixed operations business segments in the luxury product category will be beneficial to Lazydays’ services organization during this important time.”
Witty joins Lazydays after an 18-plus year career with MarineMax, one of the largest marine retailers in the U.S. headquartered in Clearwater, Fla. Throughout his career, Witty has held key senior management posts directly responsible for the growth and profitability of the company’s sales, service and parts divisions. Additionally, Witty served as vice president of operational excellence for five years.
“I am honored to join Tim and the Lazydays team. It is exciting to be a part of an organization whose core values are built around the customers’ expectations,” said Witty. It is an exciting opportunity to work with the RV industry’s leader in unparalleled customer experience.“
SylvanSport announced its partnership with Lazydays, the nation’s largest recreational vehicle dealer. The SylvanSport GO, an innovative camper-trailer that can be towed behind any vehicle, will be available at Lazydays’ two locations in Florida and Arizona, according to a news release.
“This partnership is a great opportunity for both Lazydays and SylvanSport,” Thomas Dempsey, SylvanSport founder and president, stated in the release. “SylvanSport was founded on the idea of reinventing the RV and addressing the recreational side of small vehicles. Lazydays reaches a broad range of consumers who are increasingly seeking out alternatives to the traditional RV.”
The availability of the GO at brick-and-mortar locations marks an expansion of SylvanSport’s targeted sales strategy. Previously available only through direct sales, the brand plans to increase its retail presence to engage consumers and drive sales.
“SylvanSport is a unique product that our consumers haven’t seen before,” says Gordon Myhre, Lazydays chief marketing officer. “It fits into a new breed of lightweight trailers, a category where we expect to see substantial growth. It’s a product that draws curiosity from a younger, more active consumer interested in the adventure travel lifestyle.”
Founded in 2004 by veteran outdoor industry executive and entrepreneur Thomas Dempsey, SylvanSport designs, manufactures and distributes Mobile Adventure Gear from its headquarters in Brevard, N.C. The company is committed to developing smart, efficient, visionary products that encourage responsible and respectful enjoyment of the outdoors. For more information on SylvanSport and its products please visit www.sylvansport.com.
LazyDays RV king Don Wallace has sold his South Tampa mansion for $6.75 million.
Wallace and his wife Erika transferred the 15,396-square-foot estate Thursday to Carmen and Harry Barkett, president of Amalie Oil Co., county property records show, The St. Petersburg Times reported.
Realtor Toni Everett listed and sold the five-bedroom, 12-bathroom home at 1801 Bayshore Blvd. Wallace’s asking price had been $10.5 million.
The sale of Wallace’s mansion is among Hillsborough County’s priciest homes transactions in recent years: In July 2010, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik bought a $6 million South Tampa home as well as an adjacent lot for $2.5 million.
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter paid $7.7 million for a Davis Islands property covering three lots and millions more to build and design a home.
The Lazydays RV empire is about to get much bigger, though with fewer people, according to a report in the Tampa Tribune.
The RV dealer has purchased a major RV site in Arizona and plans to open that Western outpost by autumn. The deal is happening as the company decided to lay off workers in Tampa.
Lazydays officials paid $9.5 million to purchase the 86-acre Beaudry RV compound in Tucson, Ariz.. The operation had fallen into receivership amid the economic downturn.
“Just like Disney did when they opened in California, we’re doing the same thing with RVs,” said Randy Lay, chief financial officer of Lazydays, which still ranks as the nation’s largest single-site RV dealership. The Tucson site will rank as No. 2, Lay said, and comes complete with a dealership, service area and campground.
The now-former Beaudry site stood out in the RV market as a luxury property, with hot tubs at each camp site and occasional visits from a symphony orchestra. Lazydays will likely stick with its current lineup of RV brands at the new site.
Just because the company is opening a western outpost, Lay said there are no plans to close the site in Tampa. They’re more than 2,000 miles apart, and serve different markets, he said. The economic downturn hasn’t been easy on Lazydays either. Lazydays filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009 amid an awful RV market and emerged from bankruptcy that same year. They brought back about 65 workers after laying off more than 200 people from 2008 to 2009.
Lazydays on Tuesday laid off 50 workers in Tampa, primarily in the service area, leaving the company with just over 500 employees. That cutback was primarily due to an RV market severely softened by high gas and diesel prices this spring, Lay said, and with those fuel prices falling, there are no present plans for more cuts.
Tampa Bay, Fla.-based Lazydays RV Center Inc. today (April 29) announced that it has completed the sales transaction on the dealership formerly owned and occupied by Beaudry RV in Tucson, Ariz.
Having closed on the property, Lazydays said it “will now begin obtaining the necessary business permits and do a thorough review and inspection of the property in the process of creating the Lazydays customer experience in Tucson.”
“This is an exciting day for Lazydays,” John Horton, President and CEO, said in a press release. “We’ve worked very hard to build a reputation and a culture geared toward an unparalleled customer experience, and we’re very enthusiastic about bringing that experience to RVers in a new market.”
Different than most other RV dealers, Lazydays considers the entire RV ownership process to be part of the customer relationship and focuses on product knowledge and expert service to endear RVers, many of whom return repeatedly over the years to purchase multiple times. Within a few months, Lazydays will create a similar customer experience at its new Tucson location.
Lazydays is also an active participant in local charities and organizations dedicated to civic improvement and charitable fund-raising and was voted No. 2 among the top 20 places to work in Tampa Bay.
Current plans are to open the campground and service facilities mid-summer and to be ready to sell RVs a short while later.
Lazydays was founded in 1976 with two travel trailers and $500. Today, the company’s continued focus on RV expertise and 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.
Lazydays RV in Seffner, Fla., the largest single-site RV dealership in North America, will be hosting a Winnebago Industries Inc. tailgate weekend April 15-17.
The event will be staged at the 300-site Lazydays Campground — adjacent to the dealership — and will feature an in-depth preview of the new 2011 Winnebago models, plus a “meet and greet” with Bob Olson, Winnebago chairman and CEO, and his wife, Kathy, examiner.com reported.
Lazydays Tailgate Weekend Itinerary
On April 15, visitors can sit in on a special Winnebago product demonstration presented by members of the Lazydays Winnebago sales team at 5 p.m., then head over to the Winnebago Coach Display in the campground for the Tailgate Dinner Party. Saturday’s entertainment will include product seminars, the “meet and greet” with Olson, RV lifestyle classes and a tailgate barbecue lunch. In the afternoon guests can check out the Winnebago product displays, take the tailgate challenge or opt for a dip in the pool or hot tub before dinner. Before they check out on Sunday they can enjoy a leisurely brunch in the RallyCenter.
The cost for the entire weekend is $149 per RV and includes all the meals and campsite. Alternatively, visitors can purchase a Saturday Day Pass for $5 per person which will cover all the Saturday events including the tailgate barbecue lunch.
Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) has named the top RV dealers for 2010 based on unit sales, and the 55-store Camping World chain was again the market leader by a long shot.
Here’s the bottom line from Statistical Surveys, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based counter of national retail registrations:
- Top Multi-lot towable dealer: Camping World, 7,874 sales, up 39.59% from 2009.
- Top Multi-lot motorized dealer: Camping World, 1,866 sales, up 6.45% from 2009.
- Top single-lot towable dealer: RV Wholesalers, 1,332 sales up 53.63% from 2009.
- Top single-lot motorized dealer: Lazy Days, 1,113 sales, up 25.90% from 2009.
These top dealers last year outperformed the market. According to SSI, 184,681 new RVs were retailed in 2010, a 7.67% increase over 2009.
“No doubt about that,” said Scott Stropkai, national RV sales manager for SSI. “I don’t know all the facets behind their success. A lot of mom and pop stores went out of business the past few years. Are these (top) stores picking up a greater share of sales than others? It would appear so.”
Stropkai said seven out of the top 20 dealers posted 20% gains or better in 2010 over 2009.
Four of the top 20 reported sales declines this past year.
SSI will be awarding certificates of achievement to these and other top-performing RV dealerships across the U.S. Awards are based on retail registrations in the dealer reporting states.
A large network of local community-based agencies and the Lazydays Employee Foundation have come together to create the Lazydays Center for Youth Development.
The center is a first-of-its-kind facility in Hillsborough County, Fla., dedicated to providing unaccompanied homeless youth (generally 16 –22 years of age) with the resources and assistance they need to break the cycle of homelessness, according to a news release. The youth center’s mission is to provide a safe, caring environment to empower homeless youth to reach their full potential through education.
Jeff Rainey, president and CEO of Hillsborough Kids Inc., is one of the driving forces behind the center. He recognized the need in Hillsborough County to serve unaccompanied youth who are not part of the foster care system after he was approached by Harold Oehler, general counsel for Lazydays and the Lazydays Employee Foundation.
“Hillsborough County has a gap between homeless youth, particularly unaccompanied youth, and the services available to help them,” said Rainey. “This gap exists because there is no centralized point of access to the services necessary to help these youth get off the street, finish their education and become productive members of society. Without such access, youth alone on the streets often feel that their only options for survival are prostitution, drug trafficking and other crimes.”
The Lazydays Employee Foundation has made a five-year financial commitment of $350,000 to provide the seed money to open the center. These funds will be used in part to employ an Outreach Coordinator who will develop the center, navigate youth through the services in the community and link them with family members whenever possible. The services will include assisting the youth in accessing housing, educational opportunities, medical testing and treatment, employment and other basic needs.
“Hillsborough County has one of the largest homeless child populations in the state,” explained Oehler. “Navigating available services can be a daunting challenge for a young person who already feels abandoned, alone and afraid. Providing access to a single gateway of navigation and support could be a lifeline for these vulnerable youth.
“By implementing the outreach center model which has proven to be successful in other communities, we are potentially saving the community funding lost to the criminal justice system. Each life lost to incarceration is tragic and represents an enormous loss in public resources and human potential. We can do better as a community.”
Hillsborough Kids will serve as the project’s fiduciary and employ the staff. They will also provide the infrastructure for the center and contribute the operating expenses related to this project. However, public and private grants will be sought to pay the additional expenses needed to serve the youth.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor best summed up the reasons for establishing the center. “Homeless kids just need some guidance and support to get off the streets. Once their basic needs are taken care of, they can go from there. It’s amazing what kids can accomplish if given just a little bit of assistance. The Tampa Police Department supports the Lazydays Center for Youth Development one hundred percent.”
The Lazydays Center for Youth Development will be located at 9391 N. Florida Avenue and projects to have a grand opening in November.
About Lazydays Employee Foundation: In 2005, the employees of Lazydays created the Lazydays Employee Foundation, a 501C3 non-profit organization, in order to measurably change the lives of at-risk children through education. The foundation is funded through voluntary weekly payroll deductions by more than 65 percent of Lazydays’ employees. To learn more, visit www.LazydaysEmployeeFoundation.org.
About Hillsborough Kids Inc.: Hillsborough Kids Inc. is a non-profit agency created out of a three-year community planning process specifically to perform the duties of the Lead Agency for Community-Based Care in Hillsborough County. Hillsborough Kid’s mission is to ensure the safety and permanency of abused and neglected children in Hillsborough County by providing comprehensive services that promote strong families. To learn more, visit www.hillsboroughkids.org.