Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is suing the owners of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Morgan RV Resorts, alleging the company is intimidating members to collect exorbitant fees in a Cape Cod manufactured housing community it owns.
According to a press release from Coakley, the company’s sales team “aggressively solicited homeowners at Peters Pond to pay up to $16,000 as a membership fee to remain in the community.” The fee was on top of the $6,000 annual fee owners paid to lease their properties at the Sandwich, Mass., housing community.
Coakley’s lawsuit seeks to end the collection and also return fees already paid by residents. She alleges the practices are a violation of the Consumer Protection Act and Manufactured Housing Act.
According to the lawsuit, nearly 100 homeowners have paid to join the club out of fear that they would lose their home.
In a separate report by the Journal and Courier, Lafayette, Ind., an amusement ride inspector from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is at Indiana Beach, also owned by Morgan RV Resorts, partly in response to a protest last weekend led by a group of former employees,
The state inspector is checking the safety and documentation of the approximately 30 rides at this lakefront tourist attraction.
Further protests have been canceled following a pledge by officials with Morgan RV Resorts, which has owned Indiana Beach since 2008, to meet with representatives of the one-time workers. They had demonstrated near the park to bring attention to their concerns about ride safety and maintenance, employee treatment and guest relations.
Morgans RV owns and operates several RV parks and campgrounds in the Saratoga region, including: Coldbrook Campsite Resort on Gurn Springs Road in Gansevoort, NASCAR RV Resorts at Adirondack Gateway on Fortsville Road in Gansevoort, Lake George Suites on Lake Shore Drive in Lake George and Lake George Campsites on Route 9 in Queensbury. The company also has several properties in vacation spots in New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Maine and Indiana.
The Peters Pond manufactured housing community is the seasonal home for dozens of retirees and elderly residents.
Braig, who spent the last eight years serving as president of Daytona International Speedway (DIS), recently joined Morgan RV Resorts as sales and marketing manager for the Florida Region, Auto Racing News reported.
Morgan RV Resorts is a chain of privately owned RV park corporation with over 40 RV resorts including NASCAR designated resorts.
While Braig’s thoughts are sure to be in Daytona on Feb. 20, his new position will deliver no less fun and exhilaration.
“It will be a different version of all that craziness. Morgan RV Resorts are open every day, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. There is plenty of excitement at those RV resorts to keep my attention. It’s like working with 50 race tracks around the country,” said Braig.
Before reaching the pinnacle of success in the motorsports management field, Braig started his career on the lowest rung one can imagine in the sports world: making cotton candy, driving the team bus and washing uniforms for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Class A Team in Vero Beach. But Braig quickly advanced serving first as head of promotions for the Golden State Warriors and then, as Anheuser-Busch’s Sports Marketing Department head. After 16 years with Anheuser-Busch, Braig made the jump to NASCAR, managing Phoenix International Raceway for three years before taking helm of the most coveted motorsports facility management job in NASCAR.
At first glance, it might seem peculiar that the RV business would appeal to Braig. His business contacts are deep and his experience vast and so, he could have selected from a number of new, challenging ventures. However, as a lifelong camper and lover of the outdoors, when Braig decided that retirement was not for him, Morgan RV Resorts immediately came to mind.
Recalling memories of family camping trips with his parents and sisters in a converted school bus borrowed from his Uncle Brownie, Braig fondly remembered driving from Ohio to California thinking that they were “the bomb” as they rolled in to Yellowstone and Black Hills. “It was a blast at each destination with campfires and hikes and meeting new people. That stuck with me,” said Braig.
Braig had interacted with Bob Moser, president of Morgan RV Resorts, on the licensing deal that formed NASCAR RV Resorts. Admiring Moser’s energy and creative business instincts, Braig put on a courtship of sorts to Moser because in his words, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Moser, after severally phone calls and even flowers, decided to give Braig a chance.
Characterizing it as “a wild ride already,” Braig is confident that the skill he most regularly employed while working as President of DIS that will bring the most value to his new role is guest services.
“There is no difference between race guests rolling in to The Daytona 500 or a Morgan RV Resort. We ask a fair price to experience our resorts and we have to deliver. From the first person our guests meet at check-in to the pool attendant to the activities director, we all have to be in sync,” explained Braig.
His goal, he continued, “is to make sure that our people always have the right answer for our guests, and if they don’t, they will be expected to get the right answer.”
After leaving Daytona, Braig set sail for the Florida Keys where he now lives in Key Largo with his rescue dog Schrader (who is named after race car driver Kenny Schrader).
About NASCAR RV Resorts
Featuring live satellite coverage of NASCAR race events on oversized jumbo screens, a tailgating atmosphere and family-friendly activities, NASCAR RV Resorts delivers an at-the-track experience for race fans of all ages. Guests will enjoy unique pre and post-race coverage, race day BBQ’s, special events such as driver appearances, and contests to win NASCAR officially licensed prizes and merchandise.
Recreational vehicle and motorcoach sales are on an upswing in Florida’s Lee County.
The RV industry struggled through the downturn, but Tim Lowry, marketing manager for North Trail RV Center in Fort Myers, said sales are on the rise, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.
The Lee County RV dealer was hard hit in 2008, but the company started to see business pick up in the third quarter of 2009, even though about half of Florida’s RV dealers closed that year, Lowry said.
“The herd was thinned,” he said. “What happened is there was a lot of growth in the industry and the industry has always been give or take.”
Several RV manufacturers were producing very similar products and competing with each other and some dealers managed their businesses poorly, relying on sales to keep their doors open, he said.
But the big factors that drove the decline were credit availability and a drop in consumer confidence, said Kevin Broom, spokesman for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Consumer confidence, while it’s still down, it isn’t dropping any further,” Broom said.
Through September, RV manufacturers have shipped 194,000 units, an increase of 59% from the same period in 2009, according to an RV association report released this month.
The same report shows shipments for the month of September totaled 16,700 units, a decline of 4% from the same month a year ago.
North Trail RV Center has grossed $73 million year-to-date compared to $42 million for the same period a year ago, said Alan Erp, company vice president.
Erp said mid-to-high-end recreational vehicles and motorcoaches — starting at about $75,000 and peaking at about $2 million — are the vehicles that increased sales.
He attributes North Trail’s growth to sticking with or adding product lines from leading manufacturers that have survived the downturn, such as Newmar Motorhomes and Tiffin Motorhomes.
Meanwhile, Robert Kohn, an independent consultant, is working with Signature Naples Motor Coach Resort on the high-end resort’s first sales campaign, which launched Nov. 1.
“We’ve taken in 11 reservations in the first 23 days,” he said.
The resort, located at 13300 Tamiami Trail E., has 184 spaces and sits on about 23 acres of beachfront property offering boating access, beach, lake and interior sites ranging from $89,000 to $250,000.
In 2009, Sunland RV Resorts based in La Jolla, Calif., and Morgan RV Resorts based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., bought the property at the courthouse steps and paid the full purchase price of the property, which allows them to set a fair price that is still a good deal, Kohn said.
“We have an incredibly stable platform for people buying here because there is no bank debt, which means there is no gun to the head of the developer,” he said.
Sales are up for the high-end motorcoach resorts, Kohn said, because of careful financial investment. Also, there is a shortage in RV resort property as many resorts were purchased by developers in 2004 and 2005 to build homes.
North Trail RV Center also adapted to meet customer needs through the downturn as sales slowed.
North Trail converted its dealership at the Billy Creek Commerce Center to a tire and collision center offering body shop services to fix wrecked units, a 60-foot paint booth and tire balancing for trucks and motor coaches.
It also expanded its operations and opened a second dealership in Fort Lauderdale in April.
“It was a necessity if we were going to be the kind of dealership we wanted to be and that people expected us to be,” Lowry said.
Morgan RV Resorts announced today (May 25) that it will be hosting the 2010 Nashville To You Campground Tour at many of its 45 resorts throughout this summer and fall beginning with multiple performances during Memorial Day weekend at Morgan’s Indiana Beach RV Resort and amusement park in Monticello, Ind.
Many of the host resorts on the tour will mix the live country music performances with their new NASCAR-themed activities, which include live broadcasts of NASCAR races that feature exclusive broadcast content available only at their NASCAR RV Resorts.
The N2U Campground Tour is produced by Nashville, Tenn-based Nashville To You and features several of Music Row’s hottest emerging artists, including Columbia Records’ Jordyn Shellhart, N2U Artist Emma Jacob, Kate and Kacey and JB Rocket of Country Music Television’s “Can You Duet” fame and Dan Evans from Season 5 of the reality TV hit series “The Biggest Loser.” Other artists will join the tour throughout the summer.
“Providing live country music performances for many of our 4 million guests this summer will add to the quality of the camping experience they have come to expect at our resorts,” said Robert J. Moser, owner and CEO of Morgan RV Resorts. “Our guests have always enjoyed the multiple amenities that our resorts provide like golf, fishing and swimming and now they’ll cap off their days with the great live family entertainment that this tour will provide.”
“We are grateful to Morgan RV Resorts for their support in opening their campgrounds to us and allowing our emerging artists access to hundreds of thousands of their campers,” said Rick Barker, president of Nashville to You. “Performing live is critical to the development of a new artist, not just for the development of their performance skills, but for the development of their fan base as well. We are doing multiple performances over a weekend and that means increasing the playing time and the opportunities to build a connection between the artists and the fans.”
The concept and execution of the Tour is a result of the collaboration between Barker and Kurt Hunt, a former marketing director for RV industry leader Camping World. Hunt is a recent addition to the Nashville To You team and will direct the marketing and sponsorship programs for the Campground Tour and other Nashville To You artists and properties.
In addition, the 2010 N2U Campground Tour will make stops at racetracks hosting NASCAR events throughout the racing season including weekend dates at Road America, Chicagoland, Dover and Miami Homestead race tracks.
A complete schedule for the 2010 Country Campground Tour will be released soon.
Randall Henderson, president of Nashville, Tenn.-based Signature Resorts, says the Feb. 12-13 grand opening of Signature’s second upscale resort, in Naples, Fla., sends a message to the industry and the American Class A motorhome enthusiast that good things are still happening in the high-end resort market.
“We think it’s time to start looking positive again,” Henderson told RVBUSINESS.com. “I mean, we’ve all had the same experience of shrinkage. But at some point, recovery has to start and someone has to recognize it. And we’re glad to recognize it. We think it’s here, and we’d just as soon lead off by adding some new facilities to the marketplace.”
Henderson, the founder and former president of upscale Outdoor Resorts, has been working diligently of late to reestablish Signature Resorts, previously a unit of Monaco Coach Corp., as a stand-alone brand under the 50/50 ownership of Morgan RV Resorts, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Sunland RV Resorts, La Jolla, Calif., respectively. Signature’s new owners purchased the company’s assets after Monaco’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Signature currently has two resorts, 125-site Signature Resorts at Bay Harbor, Bay Harbor, Mich., and the new 184-site Naples Motorcoach Resort, which opened its doors on Jan. 4 to both purchasing and renting customers. Twenty-six of those sites are canal frontage, and 32 boat storage sites are available.
“This is one of the first motorcoach resort openings in a long while,” says Henderson. “You know, it’s on the water, which is unique down here – to be on a navigable waterway out to the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve got three swimming pools with hot tubs; that’s a lot of amenities for 184 sites, a smaller property. We’ve got a great clubhouse with card and billiard rooms and a home theater and a full-size health club. If I do say so, it’s the nicest facility that’s been built east of the Rocky Mountains in this country. I mean, it’s the Ritz-Carlton of RV resorts when you take into account the physical plant and the location. The amenities are simply nicer than anything that’s been built.”
Henderson says a good representation of industry people, from manufacturers to association execs and area dealers, are expected to attend the grand opening, which is to include a motorhome display, including a $2.2 million Liberty custom coach and the formal rollout of the redesigned high-end Newell coach.
Henderson says the resort will always retain a certain percentage of short-haul rental sites for overnight travelers in addition to the sites that are sold to long-term buyers because it’s a great way to market and remarket the facility’s sites, giving potential customers a first-hand look at the Florida resort.
So, renters will always be welcome. “That’s a norm,” he added. “We don’t really ever expect someone to just drive in and buy something. We expect them to utilize it and determine whether or not they like the area, whether or not they want to stay for extended periods, whether or not they like our services. You know, it isn’t just a matter of a good location or quality amenities any longer. It’s a matter of good services, which the hotel business has had to deal with for a long time now.”
NASCAR, Morgan RV Resorts and Silver Companies have announced a license to create “NASCAR RV Resorts,” a new branded concept to bring the sights, sounds and thrills of NASCAR to family camping locations across the country.
The first 13 locations include sites in eight different states and future expansion goals are for hundreds of additional locations in the next 10 years, according to a news release.
Beginning in the spring, the first NASCAR RV Resorts will come online and incorporate a full NASCAR experience for campers, including live NASCAR races shown on giant screens. These locations are: Stonebridge Park in Maggie Valley, N.C.; NASCAR RV Resort of Mays Landing, N.J..; Indian Creek RV Resort in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio; Westward Ho Campground in North Kettle Moraine, Wisc.; Adirondack Gateway RV Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Indiana Beach Campground in Monticello, Ind.; Wild Acres in Old Orchard Beach, Maine; Virginia Park RV Resort in Old Orchard Beach, Maine; Wagon Wheel in Old Orchard Beach, Maine; Megunticook Campground by the Sea in Rockport, Maine; Camden Hills RV Resort in Rockport, Maine, Endless Caverns and RV Resort, New Market, Va.; and Blueberry Hills RV Resort in Bushnell, Fla.
These locations will be rebranded and include activities providing the camper a full NASCAR experience away from the track such as tailgate events, televised race coverage on jumbo screens through NASCAR Media Group and DirecTV, including exclusive content from the race weekend only available at a NASCAR RV Resort. Additionally, campers will enjoy games, activities and retail opportunities with NASCAR themes every weekend, all season long.
“In a sense, NASCAR has been in the camping business for more than 60 years with NASCAR events representing some of the country’s largest campgrounds 38 weeks out of the year. The infield of any NASCAR Sprint Cup track demonstrates NASCAR fans’ strong association with camping and RV ownership,” said Blake Davidson, managing director, licensed products for NASCAR. “That passion extends beyond the track and this partnership bringing our sport to these locations through a NASCAR RV Resort is a natural connection with our fan base.”
The creation of NASCAR RV Resorts further solidifies NASCAR’s position with the camping industry. Prior to the 2009 season, Camping World was named the title sponsor for the sports truck series as well as the top weekly developmental series.
“There are tremendous synergies between what Camping World does today and the NASCAR RV Resorts and we are looking forward to bringing our partners together to maximize the benefits for the NASCAR fans,” said Davidson.
Race fans and their families and friends as well as non-racing families and friends will benefit as well with clean, safe, family friendly parks in some of the best locations in America.
“This is great news for RV Park owners and developers around the country. These new RV/Entertainment Centers will give the owner/developer the ability to convert or build their RV Park or site into a unique, one of a kind recreation and entertainment venue that fans and families alike will find exciting.” said Robert J. Moser, president and CEO of NASCAR RV Resorts. “There is no better combination of two more American sports/lifestyles/pastimes then NASCAR and camping.”
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America’s premier sports. NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport – holding 17 of the top 20 highest attended sporting events in the U.S. and is the No. 2 rated regular season sport on television. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and 20 languages. NASCAR fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport.
NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,) four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as two international series. Also, part of NASCAR is Grand-Am Road Racing, known for its competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars. NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S states, Canada and Mexico.. Based in Daytona Beach (Fla.), NASCAR has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Charlotte (N.C.), Concord (N.C.), Bentonville (Ark.), Mexico City and Toronto.
About Morgan RV resorts
Morgan RV Resorts is the largest private owner and operator of RV parks in the U.S. Family owned and operated, the company provides quality, unique, affordable vacation accommodations in some of the country’s most beautiful and family-friendly destinations.
About Silver Companies
Established in 1941, Silver Companies is a diversified real estate investment and development company. Silver Companies and private real estate investment funds that are organized and managed by the company are involved in the ownership and development of commercial, office, retail, hotel, residential and apartment properties..
The Signature resorts are in Naples, Fla., and Bar Harbor, Maine.
Morgan RV Resorts is the country’s largest privately owned RV park corporation. Morgan’s 41 RV resorts in 14 states offer RV owners camping and recreation facilities with over 17,000 lots in diverse locations such as the Adirondacks, the Chesapeake Bay, Cape Cod and the Florida Keys.
Sunland RV Resorts currently owns and operates seven RV resorts in Southern California which includes Golden Village Palms RV Resort, California’s largest and RV Resort Five of Sunland RV Resorts are strategically located in San Diego.
In announcing the Signature Resorts acquisition, Morgan RV Resorts co-owner Bob Moser and Sunland RV Resorts President Reza Paydar said they are excited to add this top of the line group of RV resorts to their portfolio.
“Signature Resorts is and has been the unmatched leader in RV living in America. Their properties have no equal in beauty, recreation and luxury living for Class A coach owners. They are the five-star choice in the field,” the new owners stated in a press release.
E. Randall Henderson Jr. will continue as president of the new Signature Resorts, a position he has held since 2004.
“With the Sunland and Morgan partnership, we are now expanding the Signature Resorts brand with the experience, resources and the team to set a new standard for luxury. Signature Resorts will serve those owners who demand the very finest in luxury RV living,” said Henderson, who pioneered luxury RV condominium ownership and has developed 23 RV resorts in 12 states and Mexico over the past 25 years.