Posts Tagged ‘Affinity Group’

The evolution of the company formerly known as Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) continues.

The name of the company was changed on May 2 to Good Sam Enterprises LLC, and today during a conference call to bondholders, CEO Marcus Lemonis offered the public a new description of the company.

He said the company could best be described as “a financial services company that has some clubs and magazines as marketing tools.”

“Roadside assistance is the No. 1 service offered by the company today. Roadside assistance has become the product of the day,” he explained.

Good Sam offers road assistance to nearly 500,000 RV, car and truck customers and is close to announcing major private label insurance programs with Flying J (400,000 in its database) and NASCAR (72 million fans nationwide) and is in negotiations on establishing similar programs with leading RV builders Thor Industries Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc., Lemonis said.

In preparation for the expected membership increase, Good Sam previously announced it has hired senior industry executive Ed Thor as vice president of business development. Thor joins the company after serving for more than 10 years with Coach-Net, a roadside assistance company focused on serving the manufacturers and dealers.

The swing toward the financial services emphasis would be a major redirection for the company which had been best known in recent years for its magazines and club member services.

Lemonis was named CEO less than a year ago but since that time, the company has disposed of six or seven businesses (primarily magazines) deemed not in the core focus.

In its quarterly report filed on Thursday (Nov. 10), the company reported revenues of $128.6 million for the third quarter of 2011 increased by $4.0 million, or 3.2%, from the comparable period in 2010.

Net income in the third quarter of 2011 was $2.0 million compared to $1.8 million for the same period in 2010.

For the nine months, revenues were $362.3 million, an increase of $0.6 million, or 0.2%, from the comparable period in 2010. Net income during the nine-month period was $4.6 million compared to a net loss of $6.2 million for the same period in 2010.

“We feel very good where our business is at today,” Lemonis said.

He said getting the company’s sales, general and administrative costs down has been a primary focus this year. Approximately 100 employees were let go this year from the organization, and Lemonis anticipates no more than a dozen or 15 additional layoffs systemwide.

He noted that the company incurred in the third quarter health insurance costs totaling $600,000 above the third quarter in 2010.

The company also has incurred severance costs this year as well as costs associated with the businesses it sold, he added.

Lemonis concluded saying he would be visiting with investors in California and New York in the coming weeks to expand upon certain details contained in the company’s financial report.

The company intends to make a replay of the conference call available through Nov. 23. The replay may be accessed by logging onto: http://earningscall.goodsamfamily.com/3Qearningscall.mp3

Affinity Group, once a major employer in Ventura, has made layoffs and restructured, putting its massive ocean-view headquarters campus up for sale for $9.7 million.

Affinity owns the Good Sam Club recreational vehicle club, the chain of Camping-World retail stores and a stable of niche publications focused on boats, trailers and motorcycles. The company faced as much as $700 million in looming debt payments and struggled to refinance as bond markets froze in 2008 and 2009.

But late last year, Affinity Group secured $333 million in a private placement — the source of the funds wasn’t disclosed — to refinance its debts. The company also appears to have restructured. CEO Michael Schneider has stepped down, and some of the magazine titles were sold, according to people familiar with the company.

Now, Affinity’s 72,649-square-foot corporate headquarters on 9.3 acres of land on Vista Del Mar Avenue in Ventura are up for sale. It is unclear how many jobs were housed there. In total, Affinity had about 460 non-retail employees in 2009, according to public filings. It is not known how many were laid off, but a former employee at one of the group’s magazines said operations were tightened to focus on RV-centric lines of business, such as the Good Sam Club and Camping-World stores.

“The way they’ve downsized at the company and eliminated various things — like my magazine that didn’t fit into their RV focus — it doesn’t surprise me that they wouldn’t want to stay in that building,” the former employee said. “It’s not a very warm environment because there have been consistent cuts. It’s been that way for years.”

Affinity has been in the building since 1994 after putting a major refurbishment into it.
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VENTURA, CALIF. – Affinity Group and the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest recreational vehicle (RV) owners’ organization, announce that Executive Director Sue Bray is leaving to form her own consulting business, Sue Bray Consulting, (www.suebray.com). Bray’s new business will focus on and utilize her expertise in marketing, managing and operating membership clubs and events.

Affinity CEO and President Mike Schneider made the announcement stating “Sue has dedicated her 33-year career to enhancing our members’ experience through excellent membership benefits development and service. Much of Good Sam’s phenomenal growth over the years can be attributed to Sue. We wish her the very best of luck in her future endeavors, and I’m proud to announce that the Good Sam Club will be one of her first clients.

Sue joined the Good Sam Club, a division of Affinity Group, Inc., in 1976 as chapter activities director. In 1979 she was named executive director of the Club, and became an Affinity vice president in 1980. During her tenure with the Good Sam Club, the organization grew from less than 200,000 members to nearly one million families today.

Sue spent most of her career with the Good Sam Club developing partnerships and benefits for members, including the popular trip routing service, an RV financing program, a member credit card, and was deeply involved in the design of the Club’s popular emergency road service. She marketed and managed Club events, including Affinity’s annual event, The Rally, which attracts upwards of 8,000 guests each year, and provided editorial direction for Highways, the Club’s monthly magazine.

Bray managed the Good Sam Club’s participation in several major charity initiatives, including the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Dogs for the Deaf and Hole in the Wall Camps. She also managed its legislative and lobbying efforts, which she’ll continue to do on behalf of the Club and its members.

In 2009, Bray was inducted into the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.—one of the youngest members and only the ninth woman selected for the RV industry’s most prestigious honor.

Also, included among Bray’s initial clients is the Venice Beach House (www.venicebeachhouse.com), an upscale inn located beachside in Venice Beach, Calif. and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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