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.”
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.
Good Sam announced that as part of its 2013 goal to foster corporate social responsibility it has launched a new employee-related initiative called ‘Project Good Samaritan’ dedicated to its “mission of making our community a better place both as corporate citizens and for individual employees through a dedicated focus on philanthropy.”
According to a press release, the new initiative provides for the staff to volunteer eight hours of their work time a quarter to causes within their community that are meaningful to them.
“We believe that every corner of the organization, from the corporate office to our retail stores, call centers and RV dealerships across the U.S., our employees believe in our corporate responsibility, and will be excited to execute this program,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Good Sam and Camping World Inc. “We’ve had an amazing year and are eager to give back and support charitable organizations. It occurred to us that we could have a greater impact and help more people in our communities by using our staff on an ongoing basis.”
Lemonis recently led by example with his participation on ABC’s “Secret Millionaire” this past summer. He returned to his hometown of Miami for a specific episode of “Secret Millionaire” where he worked with three charity organizations to help provide the resources for them to succeed.
Good Sam, along with its sister company Camping World, currently employs approximately 5,000 associates and is the largest workforce in the outdoor and RV industries operating locations in 33 states.
“Good Sam and Camping World employees walk the talk when it comes to social responsibility and giving back to local communities,” said Zrinka Allen, executive vice president, human resources and social responsibility. “Our long term goal is to continue developing and promoting initiatives that keep the company and associates focused on giving back locally, consistent with the charter of the Good Sam Club in 1966 “people helping people.”
As sales of RVs continue to move upward in 2012, so does the performance at Good Sam Enterprises LLC, a key industry player and parent to Camping World Inc.
During an investors’ conference call today (Aug. 15), Good Sam president and CEO Marcus Lemonis expanded upon the company’s second-quarter performance, which saw revenues of $146.3 million, a 13.4% increase over the second quarter of 2011, and net income of $7.2 million, an increase of 38.3% over the previous year.
It was the company’s highest quarter in terms of revenue since 2008.
Lemonis termed the results “impressive” and provided more data to reflect the company’s growth:
• Terming it “exceptional growth,” Lemonis said retail revenues in the quarter grew 19.7% with same-store retail sales at the company’s Camping World stores up 9.6% in the quarter.
• The company opened 13 new stores in the last 18 months, including one in Spokane, Wash., last week and will be opening two new stores in the next 60 days. New-store sales in some cases are exceeding expectations, he noted.
• Two stores were closed in the last 18 months in order to consolidate operations within specific geographic areas, and a third store, in Junction City, Ore., will be closed soon.
• Good Sam Club membership now totals 1,260,000.
• Revenue from the company’s emergency roadside assistance program was up 7.3% and memberships now total 384,000, up 10% from a year ago.
• The RV financing loan program has shown “solid growth” with loan volume increasing 21% year-to-date.
• More than 8,000 people attended the company’s Good Sam Rally in Louisville, Ky., in June with retail sales at the event strong.
• Revenue from Camping World stores via the Internet are up 82% for the first six months of 2012, based on an average purchase of $4 more than a year ago. Profitability from mail order and Internet sales would have been higher but were driven down by rising shipping costs.
• Growth in the company’s extended warranty program grew slightly, with signups now standing at 49,800.
Good Sam Enterprises LLC today (Aug. 14) reported second quarter revenues of $146.3 million, a 13.4% increase over the second quarter of 2011, and the highest quarter since 2008. Net income for the second quarter was $7.2 million, an increase of 38.3% over the previous year.
For the six months, Good Sam reported revenues of $256.4 million, an increase of $22.7 million, or 9.7%, from the comparable period in 2011. Net income for the first six months of 2012 was $7.2 million compared to $2.6 million for the same period in 2011.
Totals do not reflect sales and earnings from the company’s rolling stock operations.
A segment breakdown for the second quarter showed:
• Membership Services revenues of $41.8 million for the second quarter of 2012 increased $2.7 million, or 6.9%, from the comparable period in 2011. This revenue increase was largely attributable to a $1.3 million increase in extended vehicle warranty program revenue due to contract price increases, a $1.1 million increase in member events revenue due to an additional Good Sam rally, and a $0.7 million increase in emergency road service revenue. Membership Services segment profit of $14.7 million for the second quarter of 2012 decreased $0.3 million, or 2.3%, from the comparable period in 2011. This decrease was attributable to an $0.8 million increase in expenses to promote the Good Sam brand, an $0.8 million reduction in segment profit for vehicle insurance products, and a $0.6 million reduction in segment profit for emergency road service products primarily due to increased marketing and claims costs.
• Media revenues of $5.6 million for the second quarter of 2012 decreased $1.7 million, or 23.7%, from the comparable period in 2011. This decrease was primarily attributable to a $1.1 million revenue reduction resulting from the sale or closure of non-core media businesses in 2011, and a $0.6 million reduction in magazine revenue. Media segment profit of $0.6 million for the second quarter of 2012 increased by $1.2 million from the comparable period in 2011 due to a $0.5 million incremental gain on sale of media businesses, $0.3 million of cost savings from the sale or closure of non-core media businesses in 2011, a $0.2 million increase in segment profit for consumer shows operations, and a $0.2 million increase in segment profit for the annual directories.
• Retail revenues of $98.9 million for the second quarter of 2012 increased by $16.3 million, or 19.7%, from the comparable period in 2011. Store merchandise sales increased $9.9 million from the second quarter of 2011 due to a same store sales increase of $5.8 million, or 9.6%, compared to a 4.3% decrease for the second quarter of 2011, and a $4.8 million increase due to the opening of 13 new stores over the last 18 months, which were partially offset by decreased revenue from discontinued stores of $0.7 million. Two stores were closed in the last 18 months in order to consolidate operations within specific geographic areas. Retail segment profit of $5.6 million for the second quarter of 2012 increased by $0.1 million, or 1.8% from the comparable period in 2011 due to a $4.2 million increase in gross profit, and a $0.5 million reduction in depreciation and amortization expense, partially offset by a $4.5 million increase in selling, general and administrative expenses and a $0.1 million increase in net interest expense.
To view the entire report click here.
South Florida native Marcus Lemonis had a different kind of homecoming during a visit to Miami.
He left behind his multimillionaire trappings — from credit cards and suits to his chief-executive pay as the head of RV retailer Camping World and Good Sam in Lincolnshire, Ill., — and for six days lived in a roach-infested trailer in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. He had $35 for food while he volunteered with three local charities, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported.
His riches-to-rags experience was featured Sunday night (Aug, 5) on the ABC reality show, “Secret Millionaire.”
The hourlong show chronicles incognito millionaires who are dropped into needy areas where they look for unsung heroes making a difference in the community. At the end of the episode, the millionaires reveal themselves and give the organization money to help their mission.
“To be able to go back to a place that gave me so much is extra special,” said Lemonis, 38, a former Fort Lauderdale AutoNation manager. “That’s part of the city that, as a child and as a young adult, I never got to experience.”
In the show, viewers see him volunteer at National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment, which promotes anti-bullying and anti-violence; New Journeys Transitional Home, which provides housing for young women leaving foster care or facing homelessness; and Neat Stuff, which sells new clothing and school uniforms for needy families.
As Lemonis checked in, he learned about their financial challenges. At New Journeys, the cash-strapped organizer is months behind the home’s mortgage payment. Neat Stuff workers have outgrown their cramped headquarters, where stacks of clothes reach the ceiling.
At each stop, Lemonis also shares part of his back story. Shortly after being born in Beirut, Lebanon, Lemonis was abandoned. At 9 months old, he was adopted by a couple who raised him in Miami’s Little Havana. He eventually graduated from Christopher Columbus High School.
On the show, as he sat in on a workshop with National Voices members, Lemonis revealed how he was so insecure about his weight as a teenager that he became bulimic. He also spoke about being bullied and called nicknames.
“In business, you generally have your guard up,” said Lemonis, noting that the show provided him a chance for self-evaluation and reflection. “You had to really strip it down. That was hard. It was tough.”
By the end of the episode, which was taped last summer, Lemonis presented each group with a handsome check — and in one case an RV and SUV — to further their causes.
Said Lemonis, “The charities that were involved were wonderful and they are the backbone of the show.”
Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis will appear on ABC’s “Secret Millionaire” Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. (Eastern).
According to a press release, Lemonis returns to his home town of Miami, Fla., to live and volunteer among its poorest residents, learning first-hand about their daily struggles and how he can use his success and leadership to help them break the cycle of tough times.
“Secret Millionaire reflects perfectly the Good Sam philosophy of giving back where it’s needed,” said Lemonis. “Good Sam was founded back in 1966, loosely based on the story of the Good Samaritan who went out of his way to help a fellow traveler. This show provided me personally a great opportunity to help others in my hometown community.”
The reality show follows one of America’s self-made millionaires as they leave the comforts of their home behind and spend a week in one of the country’s poorest areas. Their true identities remain concealed until the end of the week’s journey as they get to know real people who lead real lives in these desolate situations. Each show peaks as the millionaires award hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money to the unsung heroes of that community.
Camping World Inc. announced plans to open its newest retail location in Kingston, N.Y., at the former site of Camper’s Barn.
According to a press release, Camping World of the Hudson Valley will be located just off the I-87 NYS Thruway Circle and will feature both a Camping World retail store and Camping World RV dealership.
“Our newest facility in Kingston is convenient for RV travelers with the close proximity to Albany and New York City,” said Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World RV Sales. “Kingston is an ideal location for RVers that travel to explore architecture, museums and history of the Hudson Valley and the scenic beauty of the Catskill Mountains.”
The scheduled grand opening celebration is slated for August. The company has plans to employ a staff of 50 team members to increase their sales, service and support needs for this dealership and accessory store.
The newest location adds to the company’s presence in New York with other Camping World retail locations including facilities in Bath, Churchville, Hamburg and Syracuse.
“This expansion represents our commitment to provide our customers with increased convenience and an accessible, knowledgeable sales and service staff,” said Marcus Lemonis, Camping World chairman and CEO. “Demands for one stop shopping RV conveniences continue to grow and we look forward to providing our selection and service to the Hudson Valley region.”
The company has plans to announce acquisitions of additional locations in the next several months as part of Camping World’s disciplined and strategic growth strategy, in which the retailer continues to successfully grow the business and define itself as the clear leader in the RV and outdoor industry based on aggregate revenue, growth and market share.
Click here to watch a 30-second clip from the upcoming episode of “Secret Millionaire” featuring Marcus Lemonis.
The episode of the “Secret Millionaire” featuring Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis will air Aug. 5 on ABC TV, the production company announced.
Each episode of “Secret Millionaire” follows one of America’s most successful business people for a week as they leave the comforts of home behind. They keep their true identities hidden while living in some of the country’s most impoverished neighborhoods.
Lemonis returns to his home town of Miami to live and volunteer among its poorest residents, learning firsthand about their daily struggles and how he can use his success and leadership to help them break the cycle of tough times.
“Secret Millionaire reflects perfectly the Good Sam philosophy of giving back where it’s needed,” said Lemonis of his life-changing experience on the show. “Good Sam was founded back in 1966, loosely based on the story of the Good Samaritan who went out of his way to help a fellow traveler,” he said. “This show provided me personally a great opportunity to help others in my hometown community.”
Lemonis will host an advance screening of the episode Aug. 5 at 6 p.m. at The Miracle Theater, 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Fla. DJ Irie and Barton G. will also be special guests at the screening.
Camping World Inc. today (June 29) announced that it has acquired Long View RV Superstores, an existing RV dealership in the Tampa, Fla., area. According to a press release, the acquisition closing is scheduled for July.
Camping World of Tampa is located on I-4 just minutes from the current Camping World location. Plans are to expand the new Long View location to be the largest retail facility in the company’s almost 100 locations. The expansion will include a 14,000-square-foot Camping World retail store and a service center with over 50 bays.
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Camping World,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. “This location will be the flagship for Camping World retail, not only in Florida, but in the entire U.S.”
The new Camping World facility will be supported by 13 Camping World RV dealerships and retail stores already in the state of Florida. Camping World is planning on acquiring the property for the new Tampa location in the next several months and expects to open the new Supercenter in July.
Camping World said it will retain current employees while also adding staff, including RV sales associates, technicians and retail support to assist at this new location. The company is also set to soon announce acquisition of additional RV dealerships in the local area.