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Lemonis in ‘The Profit’ Set to Premiere Tuesday

July 29, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

Marcus Lemonis receives 150 e-mails an hour and personally answers them all. For that alone, he deserves to be rich. And he is. Way-rich. In part due to the Camping World empire he oversees, in part because of dozens of other businesses he dabbles in.

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, reported that the dabbling is at the heart of “The Profit,” a new reality series debuting at 9 p.m. Tuesday (July 30) on CNBC. In the series, Lemonis, described by the network as a serial entrepreneur, pumps his own cash into a struggling business and personally takes over the turnaround task.

Which he somehow fits in between returning every e-mail he gets.

“As bizarre as it sounds, I do,” Lemonis said during the Summer TV Tour. “My love life is terrible. I have no friends to speak of, and I do spend a lot of time at night literally answering e-mails. If you e-mail me and you get a reply at 3 a.m., it’s me. One of the things I like to tell customers is that if you e-mail me, it is not going to some random box, it’s not an auto-reply. People, I think, are impressed with the fact that you’re listening to their gripe.

“I don’t think anyone else can do it, really. I’m definitely not the richest person, but I will outwork anybody.”

He’s only partly joshing about that love-life thing. He’s rich. Of course he has a girlfriend. And an ever-growing roster of business associates.

“The Profit” joins the list of shows in which an expert goes into a broken business and tries to fix it. Some of the reality TV experts are as well-known for their vocal volume as they are for their turnaround acumen. The term they teach in business school for that is “Good TV.”

“I’m not a screamer,” Lemonis said. “But when things don’t go my way because somebody is unethical or dishonest, you’ll get a sense of my passion.

“This is not a show about drama. This is a show about business. Unfortunately, in any business, there are going to be people who scream at each other. We’ve seen companies that have a great infrastructure but not a good process. We see some companies that have a great product and no infrastructure. You see over the course of a season it is really a wide gamut. “

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Camping World to Develop Toledo Area Facility

June 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

 

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CNBC’s ‘The Profit’ to Feature Marcus Lemonis

June 10, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Promotion for "The Profit" featuring Marcus Lemonis

CNBC Prime has announced that “The Profit,” featuring Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC, will join the network’s primetime reality lineup on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) beginning July 23.

“If you have a business that’s in trouble and think your management team can survive America’s turnaround king,” the CNBC Prime release states, “then you’re ready for ‘The Profit.’

“When Marcus Lemonis isn’t running his multi-billion dollar company, Camping World Inc., he goes on the hunt for struggling businesses that are desperate for cash and ripe for a deal,” the news network reports. “In the past 10 years, he’s successfully turned around over 100 companies. Now he’s bringing those skills to CNBC and doing something no one has ever done on TV before … he’s putting over $2 million of his own money on the line.

“In each episode, Lemonis makes an offer that’s impossible to refuse: his cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits. And once inside these companies, he’ll do almost anything to save the business and make himself a profit; even if it means firing the president, promoting the secretary or doing the work himself.”

To learn more about “The Profit” and meet the man who calls the shots, visit www.cnbc.com/the-profit.

 

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RV Sales Help Lift Good Sam 1Q Performance

May 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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Good Sam Sees Improved 1Q Sales, Earnings

May 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Good Sam Enterprises LLC reported improved sales and earnings results for the first quarter, ended March 31.

Revenue totaled $114 million for the period, representing an increase of $3.9 million, or 3.6%, from the comparable period in 2012. Net income in the quarter was $4.4 million versus $0 for the first quarter of 2012. Good Sam’s financials do not reflect rolling stock sales from the company’s Camping World Inc. unit.

A breakdown by segment showed:

• Membership services, which now include Good Sam’s media segment, posted revenue of $48.5 million for the first quarter of 2013, a decrease of $0.5 million, or 1.1%, from the comparable period in 2012.  This revenue decrease was largely attributable to a $2 million decline in member events revenue due to the timing of the company’s first annual member rally that occurred in the first quarter of 2012 and is scheduled to occur in the second quarter of 2013. There was also a $1.1 million reduction resulting from 10 fewer issues published and four fewer shows produced primarily resulting from the sale of the outdoor powersports magazine titles and shows to EPG Media LLC that occurred in March 2013, and a $0.2 million revenue reduction from other ancillary products.  EPG Media, LLC is controlled by Mark Adams, the son of the Chairman Stephen Adams.  These decreases were partially offset by a $2.3 million revenue increase from the extended vehicle warranty programs due to an increase in average revenue per contract and increased contracts in force, and a $0.5 million increase from the roadside assistance programs primarily due to increased contracts in force.

• Retail revenues of $65.5 million for the first quarter of 2013 increased by $4.5 million, or 7.3%, from the comparable period in 2012.  Store merchandise sales increased $5 million from the first quarter of 2012 due to a same store sales increase of $1.7 million, or 4.0%, and a $4.4 million increase from the opening of 17 new stores over the last 15 months, which were partially offset by decreased revenue from discontinued stores of $1.1 million. Five stores were closed in the last fifteen months in order to consolidate operations within specific geographic areas.  Mail order and internet sales increased $0.2 million, supplies and other revenue increased $0.4 million, and installation and service fees decreased $1.1 million.

Selling, general and administrative expenses of $30.9 million for the first quarter of 2013 decreased $0.2 million compared to the first quarter of 2012. This decrease was primarily due to reduction of legal and club branding expenses of $0.5 million, reduced facility expenses of $0.3 million and other reductions of $0.1 million, partially offset by a $0.7 million increase in retail selling, general and administrative expenses, mainly related to increased labor.

Income from operations for the first quarter of 2013 totaled $12.2 million compared to approximately $10.1 million for the first quarter of 2012.  This increase of $2.1 million was primarily the result of an increase in gross profit for the Retail and Membership Services segments of $0.9 million and $0.7 million, respectively, and a $0.5 million decrease in operating expenses for the first quarter of 2013.

To view the entire report click here.

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Camping World/Good Sam Buys Texas Retailer

March 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC today (March 14) announced the signing of an agreement to acquire Camper Coaches, an existing RV dealership in Lubbock, Texas, in the next 30 to 60 days. According to a press release, plans are for the location to undergo expansion to renovate into a larger facility including additional service bays, a new Camping World retail store and a state of the art collision center.

“We are pleased to begin the acquisition of Camper Coaches and expand our market share throughout Texas as well as nearby New Mexico and Oklahoma,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam. “We expect the Lubbock market to allow us to broaden our customer reach, build upon our market leadership position in recreational sales, and make Camping World the leading retailer in the growing outdoor market.”

He added, “I always look for three things – people, process and product – in relation to enhancing our Camping World and Good Sam presence. Our goal is to add more quality manufacturers and brands, increase our presence in the market, and grow the work force.”

Camping World of Lubbock, with easy access off Interstate 27, will offer a wide array of RV sales, service, collision, parts and accessories for the outdoor enthusiast. It represents the fourth full-service location in Texas for Camping World along with outlets in the San Antonio, El Paso and Houston markets as well as two stand-alone retail stores in the state.

Lemonis said the new supercenter  will add to Camping World’s future growth plans and the company expects to soon announce several additional markets of expansion in the state of Texas. Camping World of Lubbock will also be creating additional positions for seasoned and professional RV sales associates, technicians and retail support as the facility expands, joining the current employees at the Camper Coaches location.

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New CWI Ga. Outlet to Feature Good Sam Park

March 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Camping World Inc. (CWI) and Good Sam Enterprises LLC today (March 8) announced plans to open a new supercenter in the Valdosta, Ga., market in November.

According to a press release, Camping World of Valdosta will feature the first co-located, co-branded 150-site campground and rally park for the company. In addition, the store will offer a wide array of RV sales, service, collision, parts and accessories for the outdoor enthusiast.

The new supercenter will join almost 100 other locations across the U.S., including four Georgia stores in the Atlanta, Macon and Savannah markets. Camping World of Valdosta will be located off I-75, exit 5, in Lake Park.

“We are excited to bring the Camping World one-stop shopping experience to Valdosta with our full-service RV lifestyle center that includes our proto-type Good Sam licensed RV campground,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam. “City leaders and landowners have embraced our recent acquisition because it puts money directly back into the local economy, brings jobs and helps to build revenue for businesses. Everyone wants to see success in their community.”

The co-located Good Sam park will take affordable family camping to a new level in the greater Valdosta area, according to Camping World. Visitors to the campground portion of the property will choose from 150 full-service campsites, including park models, as well as swimming pools, meeting rooms, pet playgrounds and other standard amenities with special rates for Good Sam Club members.

“We feel especially fortunate to be able to create a multi-business module that serves our southern Georgia and northern Florida communities with a wide choice of products and offering convenience off of I-75, while creating job opportunities,” said Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World Retail Group. “We look forward to serving the local community with high value products with the convenience and service fitting the greater Valdosta community’s recreational lifestyle.”

Camping World is the nation’s largest RV and outdoor retailer while Good Sam represents the world’s largest RV owners organization with more than 2,000 local RV chapters designed to bring RVers together from similar geographic regions for group camping excursions. Camping World is also the title sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in addition to the Official RV and Outdoor Retailer of NASCAR.

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Camping World’s Expanding Harrisburg Outlet

March 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Camping World Inc., the nation’s largest RV and outdoor retailer, today (March 7) announced that it has arranged for additional land on the heels of another successful year at its Harrisburg, Pa., location.

According to a press release, the RV dealership is currently transitioning from Grumbine’s RV to Camping World Super Center of Harrisburg. Grumbine’s RV has been part of the Camping World nationwide chain for almost nine years and seen exceptional growth.

“With a significant presence in Harrisburg, we know from first-hand experience that the city of Harrisburg and the state of Pennsylvania have a business-friendly environment that encourages investment,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. “Expanding in Harrisburg allows us to bring additional jobs and significant tax revenue into the Harrisburg economy. With the continued support of city officials and land owners, Camping World is in final stages of expanding the new location. We look forward to extending our commitment to the Harrisburg metropolitan area and the great of state of Pennsylvania for future growth.”

“Camping World has a long-standing relationship with the city of Harrisburg and the state of Pennsylvania. We are very excited to be expanding our location in Harrisburg after many years of discussions and planning,” continued Lemonis. “Shoppers can expect to see a wide selection of RV, parts and accessories at competitive prices, along with top-notch customer service from our knowledgeable sales team. The renovation of this location demonstrates our commitment to the South Central Pennsylvania region and will give the Harrisburg-area residents a convenient place to shop for all of their RV needs. Early discussions have shown strong support and interest from multiple manufacturers, suppliers and vendors looking for additional expansion into this growing market.”

The new Camping World facility is supported by a nearby location in Hanover, Pa.

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Camping World Announces Two New Locations

February 11, 2013 by · 4 Comments 

Camping World Inc., the nation’s largest RV and outdoor retailer, today (Feb. 11) announced that it has acquired property in both Saukville, Wis., (Milwaukee area) and Fort Pierce, Fla., for expansion and future development to meet customer needs for product and service in new markets.

According to a press release, plans are under way to expand the company footprint with two additional locations in high traffic, outdoor-centric markets.

“These are great markets for Camping World/Good Sam to expand to,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. “These locations fit nicely into our existing footprint and have a strong base on Campingworld.com customers as well as Good Sam members already in the area. We are excited to move forward in our own growth while serving our customers’ outdoor, RV and camping needs.”

The Camping World of Milwaukee and Camping World of Fort Pierce will feature motorhomes and towables from the finest manufacturers and brands including Winnebago Industries, Fleetwood, Thor Motor Coach, Itasca, Coleman, Heartland, Keystone, Forest River, Cross Roads, Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Jayco, Starcraft and Coachmen.

On the accessory side the new locations will feature new and innovative products including interactive displays and customer experiences from the top vendors such as Dometic, Thetford, Honda, Goodyear, Winegard, ADCO, Camco, Roadmaster, Husky, Resse, Cequent, Exide, Ultra-Fab, Coleman, Valterra, Dicor, Champion, Rand McNally, Max-Air, BAL, Cummins, Onan, Progressive Dynamics, Weber, HWH, Presto-Fit, Stromberg-Carlson, Atwood, Xantrex, Magellan, King Controls, Charbroil, Amerigas, Exxon Mobil products and Norcold.

“These new locations position Camping World for continued growth in both Florida and Wisconsin. Today the company operates a store in Madison, Wisconsin and in nearby Island Lake, Ill. In Florida, the existing 13-store Florida network will be enhanced with the new Fort Pierce location. Our Florida customers continue to embrace our growing presence in the sunny state,” stated Johnny Sirpilla, chief business development officer for Camping World/Good Sam. “We look forward to delivering the highest quality and outstanding service that Camping World customers have come to know and expect across the country.”

 

 

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Camping World’s Floorplan Facility is Increased

January 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Camping World Inc. announced that it has secured a new substantial increase of its multi-year floorplan credit facility.

According to a press release, Bank of America, N.A., which serves as the administrative agent, led the transaction. JP Morgan, which has partnered with the company since 2003, acted as co-agent.

The facility also includes seven of the nation’s premier lenders: US Bank, SunTrust, Key Bank, M & T Bank, Bank of the West, Ally Bank and Flagstar.

Marcus A. Lemonis, chairman and CEO, stated, “Our company’s explosive same store sales plus additional acquisitions and openings, coupled with another year of an unprecedented level of profitability has earned us a multi-year facility. Our top line outlook for 2013 remains positive and our tight inventory controls and right sized SGA has us well positioned for another solid financial performance.”

Floorplan financing is a line of credit that allows dealers to borrow against their inventory, and then repay that debt as they sell their inventory or borrow against the line of credit again to add new inventory.

 

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Lemonis Deal With Vegan Restaurant Turns Sour

January 18, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Marcus Lemonis

Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Good Sam Enterprises LLC who recently swooped in to save Rose’s Wheat Free Bakery & Cafe in Evanston, Ill., from closing, thought he’d do a repeat performance.

But a deal with apparently cash-strapped “In the Raw” vegan restaurant in Highland Park has turned sour, and he has filed suit against its owners, Beth and Mark Taussig, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

In the case of Rose’s, the cafe’s owner could not raise enough money through an Indiegogo campaign to stay open. Lemonis wrote a check for $200,000 and set up a $150,000 working capital fund for the bakery to keep it open and retain the employees, included Rose O’Carroll, now a partner in the business.

With “In the Raw,” Lemonis says, the Taussigs approached him in mid-December (Lemonis was a regular customer) to explain that they were behind on bills and faced closing their doors. “I met with them on a Sunday evening,” Lemonis said, “and I said, ‘Look, I’m willing to deal with you guys. Let’s come to an agreement.’ ”

The agreement, according to his lawsuit, was that Lemonis immediately would pay bills to keep the business operating and employees on the payroll.

“I put in over $100,000 of my own money, solely to duplicate what I did at Rose’s, to ultimately own the business but to keep the doors open.” That money went toward rent, vendors, Highland Park sales taxes and federal payroll taxes, among other bills.

In return, Lemonis was to receive 100% of the restaurant’s outstanding stock, an agreement he says the Taussigs discussed verbally and in e-mails. Because it was near the holidays, Lemonis says, it was not feasible to gather lawyers and immediately have legal documents executed to spell out the agreement.

For the next few weeks, Lemonis advised the Taussigs on operational matters at the restaurant, the suit alleges, and Mark Taussig added Lemonis as “an authorized signatory on the restaurant’s account in order to enable (him) to wire money directly into the restaurant’s account.”

Then on Jan. 9, Lemonis says he was removed as a signatory to the bank account and warned not to enter the business. In an e-mail from Beth Taussig attached to the lawsuit, she threatened Lemonis with arrest should he enter the restaurant.

What happened? Beth Taussig did not respond to a request for comment. “They are in a tough spot, and maybe on Jan. 9 they had a lapse in judgment or had a slight case of amnesia,” Lemonis says.

In his suit, Lemonis is asking that the Taussigs “comply fully with the agreement” and “cease interfering with (his) exercise of his full ownership and operation interest” in the restaurant and “immediately cooperate in the completion of all paperwork necessary to accomplish transfer” of the restaurants’ assets.

Regardless of how the “In the Raw suit turns out,” Lemonis is moving on. He says he’s hired six employees that “In the Raw” laid off and plans to employ them at a second Rose’s location, slated to open in a couple of weeks in Highland Park a few doors away from In the Raw.

He is also embarking on a new show with CNBC called “The Big Fix,” where Lemonis will put up $2 million of his own money to help turn failing businesses around.

 

 

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Camping World Readies for Mo. Outlet Opening

January 15, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Camping World Inc. will be opening its newest retail location, Camping World of Central Missouri, in late spring/early summer.

According to a press release, the outlet will be located on I-70 in the facility that formerly housed Lovealls RV in Columbia. Major renovation will occur at the property to construct a new 21,000-square-foot sales and service center.

“Central Missouri is an ideal setting for the RV enthusiast with close proximity to great camping and wonderful lakes,” said Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World RV Sales. “Our goals as a company are to identify locations where we can best serve the needs of the RV Community and the Columbia area is a great fit.”

“With the success we have experienced in the Springfield, Mo., market, we feel the addition of a Super Center in the middle of the state sets the stage for future Missouri expansion, east to St. Louis and west to Kansas City” added Marcus Lemonis, Camping World chairman and CEO.

 

 

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Lemonis Saves Bakery; Planning CNBC Show

December 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Marcus Lemonis

Like something out of a holiday-season movie, Rose’s Bakery in Evanston, Ill., has found the Christmas present it needed.

According to a report by Evanston Now, the bakery at had been scheduled to close today, for owner Rose O’Carroll’s lack of $104,000 to keep the business open.

But at the last minute, bakery patron Marcus Lemonis came up with the money to save the business.

Lemonis, the chairman and CEO of Good Sam Enterprises LLC and Camping World Inc., will become majority owner of the bakery, with O’Carroll staying on as a partner.

Lemonis recently appeared on the ABC television series “Secret Millionaire” where he returned to his hometown of Miami and helped save three charitable organizations there. Also in the works is a show on CNBC, tentatively called “The Big Fix,” that will feature Lemonis putting up over $2 million of his own money to turn around failing companies all across America.

Lemonis said the bakery deal was much more personal than the planned CNBC show, where “he’ll do anything and everything” to turn a business around.

“Having gone gluten free over a year ago and becoming a patron of Rose’s Bakery & Wheat Free Café, I know the love and devotion that customers have for Rose’s as I am one of them,” said Lemonis in a news release. “I have been following the business closely, and when I heard that Rose would have to close its doors on Christmas Eve, I knew I had to step in and save the business.”

“As the new owner and partner of Rose’s I am committed to not only keeping the business open but growing its customer base and having a successful and profitable business.”

O’Carroll had begun a campaign to raise $104,000 before Christmas Eve to keep the business open. By Friday she had only raised around $13,000 and planned to shut the bakery’s doors today.

But Lemonis struck a deal with O’Carroll where he wrote an initial check for $200,000 to become the majority owner of the business with a commitment of an additional investment of $150,000 over the next 18 months.

 

 

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Lazydays Daytona Display Drew Decent Traffic

November 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Lazydays facility in Seffner, Fla.

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.”

 

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Lemonis to Speak at Deutsche Bank Conference

October 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Good Sam Enterprises LLC and Camping World Inc., will be among the presenters participating at the Deutsche Bank 20th Annual Leveraged Finance Conference, slated for Oct. 9–11 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz.

According to a press release, the agenda for the conference has been designed to provide a balance of informative keynote sessions, interactive panel discussions and one-on-one meetings to address the key themes facing businesses around the world.

Lemonis will deliver his presentation on Oct. 10 at 8:10 a.m. Keynote speakers will include former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

 

 

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