Sun Communities Inc.’s RV Resorts division has purchased the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Western New York located near North Java.
The deal, effective April 18, brings the 100-acre family camping resort in Wyoming County into the corporate network of Sun Communities, which oversees management at 185 communities in 25 states. Jellystone is its first property in New York, Buffalo Business First reported.
Jellystone is part of Sun’s recent expansion into the RV park business. The company announced last month it invested over $250 million over the past 18 months in the acquisition and quality enhancements of RV communities.The purchase price was not immediately disclosed.
Jellystone was owned and managed privately since 2004 by Scott and Sue Crompton. An announcement to customers via email and Facebook issued Saturday (April 20) promised a smooth transition, as well as plans for improvements scheduled to take place during 2013.
Jackie Maguire was named new resort manager. Through its Facebook page, the camp promised the same park, same staff and same “great family camping location” but under new ownership. Plans call for keeping existing pricing in place, with all activities remaining all-inclusive.
The campground, which accommodates tents, RVs and cabin campers, includes a multi-level water playground, a lake for swimming and fishing as well as activities like mini-golf, go-carts and hiking.
Among the improvements completed already for the upcoming season, the park has upgraded its Lakefront Cabins and Boo Boo Chalets and will be adding a new structure to its wooden playground prior to opening weekend in May. Additional changes will include renovations to the pool and mini golf course; installation of a full court basketball court; and a larger golf cart fleet.
Based in Southfield, Mich., Sun Communities is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and operates manufactured housing and recreational vehicle communities.
Keith Russell, a rising star in the Jellystone Park network and a strong proponent of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), died unexpectedly over the holidays while visiting with his newest grandchild.
According to a press release, Russell, 65, co-owned and operated the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Horn Lake, Miss., with his wife, Penny. He died Jan. 2.
“I counted Keith as one of my closest friends in the franchise system,” said Rob Schutter, who holds dual roles as ARVC chairman and COO of Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), which franchises Jellystone Parks across the country. “I will greatly miss him, his sense of humor and his counsel.”
Russell built his park from scratch in 2007 and joined the Jellystone Park system in 2008. The Russells were named “Rookies of the Year” in 2009 and won Leisure Systems’ Pinnacle awards each of the following years. Their park also won Leisure Systems’ “Facility of the Year” award in 2010 as well as a “Landscaping Award” for park beautification in 2011.
Russell was well respected in the LSI system and was elected to LSI’s Franchise Advisory Board in 2010, just two years after joining the network.
“He was inspiring to the other franchisees,” Schutter said. “People loved to be around him. He was one of those unique individuals who captures your attention.”
Russell is survived by his wife, Penny, his son, Jimmy; his daughters, Holly, Jessica and Amy; and eight grandchildren.
Leisure Systems Inc., franchisor of Yogi Bear Jellystone Parks, has added two facilities to its nationwide system, according to a press release. Whispering Pines RV & Cabin Resort became the fifth Texas campground to join the network along with Uniontown, Ohio-based Clear Water Park Camping Resort.
Whispering Pines, a 30-year-old park in Tyler, offers 133 RV sites and 18 park model cabins. Owners Don and Jan Tardy, who acquired the park in May, said they wanted to join Jellystone Park chain to expand their marketing reach.
“I like the concept of Jellystone Park and I want to emphasize the fact that we are a park that caters to families,” Don Tardy said, adding that Whispering Pines will officially join the Jellystone Park chain on Jan. 1.
Originally built in 1947, Clear Water Park had been neglected for many years and needed major updating to make it competitive in today’s market.
Mert and Charlene Yoder, who bought the park 10 years ago, spent close to $700,000 in improvements and new amenities, including new pull-through campsites, cabins, a waterslide, a miniature golf course and a gem mining sluice – quadrupling the park’s business base.
“When we reopen May 1, we will reopen as a Jellystone Park Camp-Resort,” Mert Yoder said.
Rob Schutter Jr., president and COO of Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), promised an upbeat message for LSI’s franchisees at their annual Symposium held Nov. 5-8 in Covington, Ky., and he delivered.
Woodall’s Campground Management reported that during his annual LSI Updates presentation on Nov. 6, Schutter reported to a record gathering of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort operators that LSI’s 78 franchisees outperformed the RV park and campground industry in general as well as many American businesses in 2012.
“There wasn’t one down area in occupancy or revenue numbers in our franchise system from last year; every possible scenario we studied was up. Not many people out there in our industry can say that,” he said.
• System revenue totaled $71.4 million, up 12% from 2011 and up 8% for same parks from 2011.
• Camper nights (general sites) rose 9%.
• Rental unit revenue rose 17%.
• Extended stays were up 2%.
• Online reservations rose 13%.
• Deposits increased 15%.
• Store sales were up 9%.
• Ancillary products sales up 12%.
“This is great,” Schutter said, stating that the fine performance was due in large part to franchisees’ perseverance and dedication to improving customer satisfaction.
The revenue performance was well above industry average of flat to up to 4%, he noted, and the rental unit uptick exceeded the industry figure of 15%.
Rental units are a growing phenomenon for not only LSI franchisees but the entire industry as well, Schutter continued. Rental units with full service typically attract “non-campers” who want niceties they can’t find in a tent or a travel trailer and yet want a unique camping experience. Double-digit growth has been recorded the last three years. “Some people (parks) are not really taking advantage of this. This is an area that we can exploit for many years. We have not maxed out.”
To read the entire story click here.
The way Rob Schutter Jr. sees it, the transition period for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) from the prior administration of Linda Profaizer to CEO Paul Bambei’s tenure two years ago is officially over, and it’s now full speed ahead on a number of initiatives that are already building value for the Centennial, Colo.-based national trade association’s 3,000 members.
Schutter, president and COO of Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), the Cincinnati, Ohio-based franchisor of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, made this and other points during a recent interview with Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM) Editor Steve Bibler as he wrapped up his first year as ARVC chairman on the eve of the association’s annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo, Nov. 26-30 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Schutter will speak to members as part of the chairman’s annual address at a Nov. 29 breakfast meeting and during the “Awards of Excellence Gala” on Nov. 30. Schutter’s message will likely focus on the association’s efforts to concentrate on its core mission and solidify its member base to bridge the gap with non-members and unaffiliated states after experiencing some “growing pains and a learning process” over the past couple years.
“After a period of upheaval, I’m sure some members were curious if bringing in a person from outside (the industry) to run ARVC was right,” he said. “There was the transition from the Washington, D.C., area to two different locales in the Denver area. A lot of things were unsettled. You are now seeing some permanency in place. Members are very pleased things have settled down and the focus is once again on offering value to members.
To read the entire article click here.
Tracking over 230 lost site-nights for cabin rentals prompted Denny Quigley to step up and add two more cabins to his inventory at the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Kozy Rest near Harrisville, Pa.
“Last year, after hearing the reservation staff telling people we are sorry we don’t have a cabin available, I decided to have them start keeping track of the lost sales,” said Quigley, owner of the 164-site park, in a press release. “I was shocked to see the total lost sales from early July through October to be over 230 site-nights.”
The demand for cabin rentals is at an all-time high throughout the outdoor hospitality industry. Quigley stated that his cabin income is up 20% already this year.
That’s when Quigley started to look at cabin manufactures at the Leisure Systems Symposium, ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Convention and the PCOA convention. “We have a 5W park and I was looking for rentals to meet our standards,” Quigley said. “That’s when we went back to Fork Creek Cabins of Paradise, Pa. We had purchased two cabins from them in 2010 and they have been great.”
Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest was recognized as ARVC’s Medium Park of the Year last December, and Quigley says offering quality amenities is very important. “We really try to go after the ‘WOW’ factor in everything we do,” said Quigley. “It means a lot when we escort our customers to the cabins and hear them say ‘WOW’ when they walk through the door. The next thing we hear them say is that they need to show this to their friends or relatives.”
Fork Creek Cabins was Quigley’s choice because “They pay close attention to the details like the cabinetry and trim work. They use quality materials throughout the cabins. Jonathan Allgyer from Fork Creek cabins has been very flexible to work with on the floorplans and details. We wanted Moen faucets and Jonathan worked with his supplier to see that they were installed. From Dan Allgyer, the owner, to Amos the delivery and setup person, they really have our best interest in mind.”
Rising fuel costs have little impact on Thad and Rita Frost, who work as elementary school teachers.
According to a press release, they rent a seasonal campsite at the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Lincoln, Del., which is only 15 minutes away from their home in Milford. They leave their RV there for the whole summer and camp with their two children, 11- and 14-year-old boys, whenever they want, which is usually most weekends.
“Even though it’s close to home, we feel like we’re on vacation,” Thad Frost said. “I don’t have to drive two hours to feel that way.”
“Across the country, growing numbers of families are renting campsites at Jellystone Parks for the entire camping season, including many who live less than a half-hour away,” said Michele Wisher, a spokesperson for Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises Jellystone Parks across the country.
Frost said there are numerous benefits to camping close to home.
For starters, he said, his family can still have a weekend away from home, even if the boys have soccer or football practice. The Frosts can also bring their pets along whenever they want to.
“One of the reasons we picked this park is we have five pets — three dogs and two cats. Being this close, we’ll bring the pets out for a day or two and then take them home.”
Frost said Jellystone Park offers a fun, safe and secure place for families, and lots of organized activities for children, so they feel comfortable letting their kids have the run of the campground without having to supervise them every second.
“When my 11-year-old and I show up at the campground, he takes off as soon as we get there and I don’t see him again until 8:30 or 9 p.m. He meets other kids. He plays with them. He gets involved in activities. He’s always shooting basketball or riding bikes.”
In fact, when they’re at Jellystone Park, both of the Frosts’ children wind up doing more physical activity than they do at home. But since they are away from home, Frost and his wife can actually relax without getting involved in household chores.
During the school year, the Frosts even go to Jellystone Park during the week to grade papers or do other school work in the peaceful campground setting.
Frost said renting a seasonal campsite at a campground close to home is the best way to make use of an RV.
“We’re getting a lot of use out of our RV now,” he said, and it doesn’t matter as much what happens with fuel prices.
When Shawnie and Oliver McMichael took a weekend camping trip with their five kids and other family members a few weeks ago, they didn’t have far to go.
They camped at the Black Canyon Jellystone Park Camp-Resort – just a few minutes away from their home in Montrose, Colo.
“My husband wasn’t convinced it was going to feel like camping because it was so close to home,” Shawnie McMichael said. “But he actually liked it.”
While the campground has RV and tent sites, it also has lodge rooms that families can rent if they don’t have an RV or tent or if they need overflow space for large groups. The park, in fact, has had many improvements in recent years.
Formerly known as Country Village RV Resort, it was acquired three years ago by John Barber and a group of investors bought the park out of bankruptcy court.
“It was in pretty rough shape,” Barber said of the then mostly vacant 140-site park.
But after investing roughly half a million dollars in improvements, including a new swimming pool, a new septic system and new paint and carpeting for the park’s buildings, Barber and his investor group are now targeting the family vacation market by joining the Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts chain.
“We’re officially a Jellystone Park now,” Barber said, adding his park is the third in Colorado to join the national franchise chain, which is famous for offering fun, family activities throughout the camping season.
Barber is already developing an activities schedule that will include ice cream socials, indoor movies and scavenger hunts. He’s also planning several themed weekends, including a murder mystery weekend and a chocolate themed weekend later in summer. Halloween themed weekends are also being planned for the first two weekends of October.
Barber is also continuing to make improvements to his park, including expanding the campground store.
The park is located about 9 miles south of Montrose, 70 miles south of Grand Junction and is about 25 minutes from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Other Colorado Jellystone Parks are located in Estes Park and Larkspur.
Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV announced today (May 25) the launch of Operation Appreciation, an initiative designed to show its support for the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
According to a press release, CrossRoads RV and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort at Barton Lake in Fremont, Ind., are offering free lodging to any active member of the U.S. military. The park is donating a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV is supplying a Hampton destination trailer, which the company manufactures, to be used exclusively by active members of the U.S. military and their families free of charge.
Reservations must be made in advance with availability on a first come, first serve basis. An open house marking the event is scheduled for Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Barton Lake park.
“We wanted to do something special for U.S. service men and women to show our appreciation for their sacrifice, bravery and hard work that ensure our freedom and American way of life,” explained CrossRoads President Don Emahiser. “While experiencing the great amenities of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort, they will enjoy luxury accommodations in our Hampton destination trailer that includes a spacious living area, fully equipped kitchen, master bedroom, kid’s bunk room, and full bath.”
Emahiser added that there had been tremendous response from local military families.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort at Barton Lake is located in northeast Indiana 50 miles north of Fort Wayne. Any active member of the U.S. military wanting to make reservations should contact CrossRoads Marketing Director Dave Boggs at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 888-226-7496.
The tiny community of Harrisville, Penn., is about to increase its population by one — sort of — as TV and cartoon character Yogi Bear becomes the official host of newly converted Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest, the latest franchisee of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI).
“We are eagerly looking forward to being affiliated with Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks,” park owner Denny Quigley said. “The nationwide system of full-service Jellystone campgrounds stands for clean, safe, family fun and convenience and that is exactly what we have strived to provide our guests for the past 11 years. That’s what made us feel Jellystone Park was a good fit for us.”
The Quigley family has owned the resort, formerly known as Kozy Rest Kampground, since 2000.
Located 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, the 34-acre park offers RV and tent camping along with yurts and full-service cabin rentals, a swimming pool, miniature golf course, children’s playgrounds and planned activities. For the kids, Yogi Bear will make regular appearances. Opening date for the newly converted facility, which has 170 campsites, is April 15th.