Posts Tagged ‘NASCAR’

Camping World Inc. is charting a course of aggressive growth in the first quarter of 2012, reports Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World Inc. and its Good Sam Enterprises LLC subsidiary.

New Camping World stores, most combining rolling stock and aftermarket parts and accessories, are slated to open in a wide variety of U.S. locales in the year’s first quarter – bringing the Lincolnshire, Ill.-based company’s total store count to 85. Some of these new stores, Lemonis told RVBUSINESS.com, will result from an “integration” of an existing independent dealership.
“After an unbelievably strong 2011,” said Lemonis, “we believe that we have the infrastructure in place to kind of take that next step of growth. We are clearly in same-store growth mode and new-store growth mode – a combination of both.”

As part of this new expansion initiative at the nation’s highest volume RV dealership chain, Lemonis revealed, Camping World signage will soon surface in disparate locations like Conway, N.H.; Avondale, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; Redding, Calif.; St. George, Utah; Ashville, Raleigh and Fayetteville, N.C., and Lake City, Winter Garden and Cocoa Beach, Fla.

At the same time, Lemonis adds, the industry will soon learn of a new floorplan credit facility approaching $400 million and a new deal recently inked between Camping World and NASCAR involving roadside assistance – a major focus for Camping World in the year ahead.
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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

A patchwork quilt of recreational vehicles blankets the infield at Daytona International Speedway this week, but one stands above the crowd, literally and figuratively.

An elaborate semitrailer built by Rick Keller of York, Pa., may be the ultimate in infield engineering. Parked along one of the main thoroughfares, it captures plenty of attention, even in a place crowded with celebrities, oddities and the latest in luxury motor homes.

Perhaps it’s the burgundy canopy on the third-story deck, which can be seen from across much of the infield. Maybe it’s the deck itself, with its television screen and premium location offering a commanding view of most of the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

At night, colorful lights flash from the poles. The campsite has a fire pit — a must-have accessory for infield campers — and the requisite lounge chairs, but it also has so much more.

“It’s a good time,” Keller says simply. “I built it for my family and friends to come have a good time.”

It’s not just the average race fans who stop to gawk, envy and chat. It’s also haulers, crews and drivers, whose autographs now grace a dry-erase board on one wall. It even holds the name of NASCAR president Mike Helton, who also has stopped to chat with Keller. A full array of liquor spirals in an arrangement around a support pole. Bar stools with “The King” cut into the back sit along a counter, decorated with racing memorabilia.

All this is just what can be seen easily from the road.

A tour reveals a wall-mounted electronic system that controls the entire rig, from lights and dimmer switches to the deck and everything in between. Inside, an elevator hauls up all the equipment for the deck and canopy.

The kitchen, where friend Joe LoBianco was cooking Italian food on Friday, would be the envy of many home chefs. LoBianco pulled giant pans of meatballs and sausages out of double ovens, while stirring a large pot of sauce on a stove with six burners and a large grill. The end wall is lined with a stainless steel, commercial-sized double-door refrigerator and freezer.

A bedroom sleeps four, with a full bathroom. Immense toolboxes hold all the gear and supplies.

Keller and a group of employees, friends and family camp at seven races a year. They used to camp in a motor home. But Keller decided that situation could be improved.
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