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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.