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.
Camping World Inc. today (June 5) announced its position as the largest retailer for Winnebago Industries Inc. with over $150 million in sales.
According to a press release, Camping World is currently the overall top motorized Winnebago retailer, accounting for 25.5% of the builder’s net revenue as stated in the Forest City, Iowa-based company’s most recent quarterly filing.
Camping World was also recently recognized for receiving 22 Circle of Excellence awards, three Partners in Excellence Awards for top market share in their respective regions, 15 Top Rank Sales Awards and the Itasca Dealer of the Year Award.
“We are pleased to be recognized as Winnebago’s top retailer of the year in addition to recently accepting multiple top achievement awards from Winnebago,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. “Camping World continues to deliver very impressive year over year sales growth delivering 25.5% of the Winnebago net revenues. We are thrilled that Camping World RV dealers made an important contribution in Winnebago’s business growth and we look forward to continued success with this partnership throughout the ongoing year.”
Winnebago’s products are currently available at 56 Camping World dealerships across the country.
“Being awarded and recognized by Winnebago in so many categories is exceptional,” said Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World RV Sales. “We value our partnership with Winnebago Industries and remain committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction in every level of our business.”
The RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum announced that during the first month of its fundraiser to raise $100,000 in donations to meet the Ingram family’s $100,000 Challenge, the Hall has received $55,955 in contributions, Darryl Searer, president of the Hall, stated in a news release.
In an act of continuing generosity toward the Hall, the Robert “Boots” Ingram family has offered a $100,000 matching “Let’s Pay off the Bank” challenge, if a like amount can be raised by individual donations before the end of August.
“Boots” Ingram, founder of Teton Homes and former member of the Hall’s board of directors, passed away in 2010, and part of his legacy is his unprecedented support and generosity toward the Hall.
According to Searer, individual donations have ranged from $5 to $25,000.
Searer said, “We are excited about the success of this fund-raising effort so far in trying to reach our goal of $100,000 in donations before the deadline, August 31, 2012. This success, to a large degree, is because of two $25,000 donations — one by Marcus Lemonis, chairman of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC.; and the other by Hall of Famer Don Wallace, co-founder of Lazydays RV Super Center.
“We hope other industry members who have become financially able in the RV and Manufactured Housing industries will feel challenged by the contributions of Lemonis and Wallace and step up and do their part in helping us preserve our industries’ heritage.
“And while we need and appreciate these larger contributions, I am inspired by the willingness of individuals, dealers and groups who have reached into their pockets to do their part. We need everyone’s help if we are going to meet this challenge.”
One-hundred percent of the challenge grant contributions will go toward paying down the Hall’s bank loan at 1st Source Bank and all gifts are tax deductable.
Searer added, “While we are encouraged by our early success, we still need to raise $44,045 before the deadline.
For those who would like to make a contribution toward the Ingram family’s $100,000 challenge grant, the Hall has made it easy to contribute. Contributions can be made through the Hall’s secure web site, www.rvmhhalloffame.org or by mail, phone or fax. If paying by check or money order, make payable to the RV/MH Hall of Fame. The Hall’s mailing address is: Ingram Challenge, RV/MH Hall of Fame, 21565 Executive Parkway, Elkhart, IN 46514.
Good Sam Enterprises LLC reported a 5.3% increase in sales for its first quarter, ended March 31, while posting a profit versus a net loss in the previous year.
Revenues totaled $110.1 million for the first quarter, an increase of $5.5 million from the comparable period in 2011. Net income was $4,000 compared to a loss of $2.6 million. The Good Sam report does not include results from its Camping World subsidiary’s rolling stock sales.
Revenue performance among the various sectors included:
• Membership Services revenues of $37.2 million for the first quarter of 2012 increased $2 million, or 5.6%, from the comparable period in 2011. This revenue increase was largely attributable to a $1.6 million increase in member events revenue due to the timing of the Good Sam Club annual rally, which occurred in the first quarter of 2012 versus the third quarter of 2011, an $0.8 million increase in extended vehicle warranty program revenue due to contract price increases, a $0.3 million increase in marketing fee revenue from RV financing, and a $0.2 million increase in emergency road service revenue, partially offset by a $0.6 million decrease in advertising revenue from RV View magazine, which was replaced with Highways magazine in 2011, and a $0.3 million decrease in Coast to Coast and Golf Card Club revenue due to decreased membership and the sale of the Golf Card Club in March 2012.
• Media revenues of $11.8 million for the first quarter of 2012 decreased $3.6 million, or 23.2%, from the comparable period in 2011. This decrease was primarily attributable to a $2.2 million revenue reduction resulting from the sale or closure of non-core media businesses in 2011, a $0.7 million reduction in annual directory revenues due to reduced marketing and phasing out the cd-rom version, a $0.3 million reduction in consumer show revenue, and a $0.4 million reduction in magazine revenue.
• Retail revenues of $61.0 million for the first quarter of 2012 increased by $7.1 million, or 13.2%, from the comparable period in 2011. Store merchandise sales increased $4.7 million from the first quarter of 2011 due to a same store sales increase of $3.7 million, or 9.3%, compared to a 1.4% decrease for the first quarter of 2011, and a $1.4 million increase due to the opening of ten new stores over the last fifteen months, which were partially offset by decreased revenue from discontinued stores of $0.4 million. One store was closed in the last fifteen months in order to consolidate operations within that area. Same store sale calculations for a given period include only those stores that were open both at the end of that period and at the beginning of the preceding fiscal year. Also, mail order and Internet sales increased $3.2 million, installation and service fees decreased $0.5 million, and supplies and other revenue decreased $0.3 million.
Earnings per segment showed:
• Membership services segment profit of $16.0 million for the first quarter of 2012 increased $1.9 million, or 13.4%, from the comparable period in 2011. This increase was attributable to a $0.7 million increase in segment profit from the Good Sam Club primarily due to cost savings resulting from the combination of the President’s Club and the Good Sam Club on January 1, 2012, a $0.7 million increase from Camp Club USA, a $0.5 million gain on sale of Golf Card Club, a $0.3 million improvement in Coast to Coast Club, and a $0.3 million increase from RV financing, partially offset by a decrease in segment profit of $0.6 million from member events.
• Media segment profit of $1.8 million for the first quarter of 2012 increased by $0.1 million, or 3.7%, from the comparable period in 2011 due to $0.4 million of cost savings from the sale or closure of non-core media businesses in 2011, and a $0.3 million increase from the annual directories, partially offset by a reduction in segment profit of $0.6 million from our magazines.
• Retail segment loss of $2.9 million for the first quarter of 2012 favorably decreased $0.4 million from a segment loss of $3.3 million for the first quarter of 2011. This reduction in segment loss resulted from a $1.5 million increase in gross profit and a $0.3 million reduction in depreciation expense partially offset by a $1.4 million increase in selling, general and administrative expenses.
To view the entire report click here.
A personal $25,000 donation from Marcus Lemonis, chairman of Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC, helped kick off a new fundraising campaign launched earlier this week aimed at helping pay off the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s bank loans on the RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum in Elkhart, Ind.
The goal is to raise $100,000 in voluntary contributions by Aug. 31, all of which is to be matched by the Robert “Boots” Ingram family, which has put up a $100,000 challenge grant for the purpose of lowering the Hall’s debt to 1st Source Bank by $200,000.
“After seeing the information on what the Ingram family did and the attempt to pay down the bank – and knowing that the Ingram donation was really a match, not a guarantee from what I understand – yesterday (May 9) I made a contribution of $25,000 in the hope that other people will fill the gap and put this issue to rest,” said Lemonis, whose 5,000-employee, privately held firm based in Lincolnshire, Ill., operates 78 RV dealerships and 93 Camping World parts and accessories stores.
“You know,” he told RVBUSINESS.com, “they’re not asking for a lot, this organization (the Hall of Fame) that we’ve talked about in the past, and we need to know that it survives. It was as simple as that for me. I made a commitment a year and a half ago to do something, and this is a good gesture to ensure that other people feel the same level of responsibility.”
Hall of Fame President Darryl Searer, a former inductee appointed to his new post in March, says the Lemonis donation should help expedite the debt-reduction drive and give the Hall a leg up in reaching its stated goal.
“We need to reach the goal by the end of August to match the Ingram’s $100,000,” reported Searer. “And this is certainly a great start towards that, and I really appreciate the fact that Marcus Lemonis has stepped up to be the first significant donor toward meeting that goal. We’re 25% of the way there, as of now.”
Searer, chairman of Elkhart, Ind.-based Ultra-Fab Products Inc., reports that things are going well. “Yes, phenomenal is the best way to put it,” said Searer. “The people who are coming forward and offering assistance have just been more than I could expect.”
Upgrading the website has been a major priority for Searer, a former Hall treasurer and board member who has a “lengthy list” of things he wants to do this year in taking over the reins at the Hall, which houses a museum and library as well as rental facilities. That list includes “meetings with the mayor, newspapers and county officials.”
Meanwhile, Searer said he was pleased to have received a donation of 20 tables and 200 chairs from Elkhart’s Matterhorn Conference Center Banquets Catering, which provides catering services. The Hall of Fame previously had to arrange for rental tables and chairs for events held at the north side Elkhart shrine to the locally based recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries.
Tax-deductible gifts, adds Searer, may be made by mail, in person at the Hall, by phone at (800) 378-8694, or through www.rvmhhalloffame.org.
Editor’s Note: Good Sam got plenty of air time Sunday night (April 29) on national TV as NBC’s popular “Celebrity Apprentice” contestants performed a task centered around the RVing icon. A summary of the show, courtesy of NBC, follows:
Star Donald Trump introduced Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO for Good Sam Enterprises, the RV owner organization. Lemonis described the task: the celebrities must write a 90-second jingle for Good Sam and then perform it for a live audience.
The celebrities will be judged on the following criteria: 1) the actual jingle, 2) brand messaging and 3) the performance itself.
Trump points out that Forte has a great singer in Clay Aiken, and Unanimous has Aubrey O’Day. Arsenio Hall takes over as project manager (PM) for Unanimous. He knows Aubrey will try “stealing his thunder” but he doesn’t care. Dayana Mendoza steps up as PM for Forte. Trump is surprised, having expected Clay to take it. But Dayana says it’s her turn. Trump offers $20,000 to the winning PM, and Lemonis adds to that $25,000 from Good Sam and 100 percent of the proceeds from the Good Sam mascot.
It’s performance time. As the teams are getting ready, Clay overhears Aubrey singing her jingle and listens through the curtain. Aubrey tells Dayana that she likes their jingle better. Then their ’50s themed performance goes off. While the performance goes well, Dayana is upset still that Lisa and Clay weren’t “professional” enough to include her on the task. But Clay thinks that both he and Lisa did a great job with the performance, since it’s what they do well. Lemonis was pleased with the energy of the performance, but thought that they played it safe with the material, and he was disappointed that when Dayana came out at the end of the performance, she wasn’t dressed in the Good Sam colors. Overall though, he thought they did a good job.
Unanimous does their performance. Teresa Giudice and Arsenio do their bit of being a couple stranded on the road. Arsenio thinks they did a great job and that Teresa “killed it,” while Aubrey thinks they were awful and comments on how painful it is to work with people who just aren’t as used to performing. Then, when Teresa “calls” Good Sam, the jingle starts, ending with Arsenio’s rap and Aubrey jumping into Good Sam’s arms. Afterwards, Lemonis thinks they nailed it. He loved the energy; he thought they hit the brand messaging; he thinks it looks very well-rehearsed; he can’t get the jingle out of his head, and he liked how they used the mascot. He wasn’t however crazy about the cheerleader’s outfit.
Ultimately, Trump selects Unanimous as the winner and Dayana Mendoza, who has faced elimination on at least six prior occasions and endured the wrath of several of her fellow contestants throughout the series, is fired.
Good Sam today (April 25) announced their selection in the fifth installment of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” featuring American business mogul Donald J. Trump.
According to a press release, Good Sam was chosen among several Fortune 500 companies to be featured as a task sponsor on a 2012 segment of the popular NBC reality series. The episode will highlight some of the many benefits and services Good Sam provides to the community.
The latest season of “The Celebrity Apprentice” debuted Feb. 19 and the Good Sam featured episode will air April 29 on NBC at 9 p.m. (Eastern) and will include footage of Good Sam Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis.
Donald Trump commented, “Good Sam, one of the world’s largest lifestyle organizations, provides a wide and wonderful array of products and services, and we are very pleased to have them on our show. I think the episode is exciting and definitely a great fit for our audiences.”
“We are pleased to partner with Mr. Trump with his pop culture phenomenon, ‘The Celebrity Apprentice,'” said Lemonis. “Both Good Sam and ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ have a similar focus on charitable works and Good Sam is focused on providing customer assistance in a multitude of channels. Look forward to seeing Good Sam reveal a new image to the audience.”
Good Sam Enterprises LLC, an affiliate of Camping World Inc., appears to have hit a home run this past week in hosting a bustling consumer rally Mar. 22-25 at the Phoenix International Raceway that was busier than anything the industry has seen in years.
Good Sam spokesmen report that the total coach count at The Rally – 3,370 units comprising about 7,500 people – was amplified by 9,000 to 10,000 day pass visitors during the four-day event. The result was an impressive crowd that drew heavily from the Southwest region and from an established base of Arizona snowbirds and spring baseball training fans.
Participating in outdoor displays were some 27 manufacturers. The indoor exhibits included about 350 10-by-10 booths, and both areas were sold out, reports Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Good Sam.
Not since a Redmond, Ore., rally in 2005 had Illinois-based Good Sam, then known as Affinity Group Inc., seen traffic like this. “It was a great rally,” said Thompson, whose firm started hosting rallies in 2000. “It’s the biggest rally we’ve had in a number of years. In addition to the 3,370 rigs, we had a lot of drive-ups that came in and, fortunately, not a lot of cancellations. And so we haven’t had a rally like this in years, quite frankly.”
Beyond the social and commercial aspects, and the seminars and frontline entertainment — including Bill Cosby and Martina McBride – the Arizona location was the biggest factor in attracting a crowd, Rally Director Sue Bray maintains.
“It went really well,” said Bray. “People were very happy, and Phoenix is a great destination. We worked really hard to try to do some grassroots marketing to bring in the day traffic. We went around to all the campgrounds and left two-for-one coupons for day passes. We did some TV advertising and we also promoted at the local Camping World stores. That was all stuff that we had not really done before, and so I think it paid off. But also I think that people really want to come to Phoenix and I’m glad that we finally found a place that can accommodate the event.”
Bottom line, Bray agreed, the basic show formula with some tweaks seems to have survived the economic downturn – a fact that might be confirmed in subsequent Good Sam rallies this year as the company expands its consumer-centric rally schedule for the first time from one to three events. Upcoming venues are June 21-24 in Louisville, Ky., and Nov. 2-6 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Good Sam/Camping World Chairman Marcus Lemonis says the biggest difference in opting for a racing facility in Phoenix vs. traditional show sites like Redmond and Perry, Ga., is that they had to build their own infrastructure.
“There was nothing here other than asphalt,” said Lemonis, “and I think we’ve proven that we can go into major metropolitan markets and not only serve the RV community and the snowbirds that were there, but also we were expecting a lot more people over five days in terms of day passes compared to Redmond, which was 2,000, because you have a base of four million people in Phoenix.”
One other noteworthy twist at Phoenix from an industry perspective was the rather surprising participation of rolling stock dealers not affiliated with Camping World RV Sales, a sister company to Good Sam and the nation’s largest RV retailer.
“You’ll notice that the Camping World presence was not that predominant here,” Lemonis told RVBUSINESS.com. “You don’t really see it. There were 19 dealers other than us in Phoenix, and that was a really important priority for me. You know, La Mesa, Lazy Days, Paul Evert’s, McMahon’s, Robert Crist and Orangewood were involved. The point is that this was not a Camping World event. This was a Good Sam event, and they really are different. Yes, Camping World had a (parts and accessories) store (at the Phoenix Raceway), like they do at a lot of events like FMCA rallies, and the Camping World dealership had a display along with 19 other dealers. So, it was really a Good Sam event.”
How did Lemonis, a controversial industry figure who had all but secluded his company from the rest of the industry a year ago, succeed in convincing those independent dealers to participate in a function sponsored by a Camping World affiliate, an arch-rival in effect for several of them?
“We didn’t really talk dealers into coming,” added Lemonis. “We gave the manufacturers our word that it would be fair and free enterprise. They are the ones that actually buy the space. They’re the ones who took the chance. They seemed extremely pleased. At the end of the day, if you (manufacturers and dealers) come and you have a good experience and sell product – whatever your opinion is — you don’t care. Selling RV’s is what matters.”