By the middle of fall, Camping World will have more than 10 brand-exclusive dealerships open and operational.
Company Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis expanded on the dealership group’s Tuesday announcement about launching brand-exclusive stores. Although the Morgan Hill, California, store is the first with a Jayco-exclusive lineup, it soon will have company.
The Oklahoma City store will exclusively carry Jayco products and open in July. A Keystone RV exclusive store in northern Michigan will also open in July, along with a Jayco exclusive store in Little Rock, Arkansas.
A Keystone RV exclusive store in Lakeville, Minnesota, is scheduled to open in late July or early August. A Jayco exclusive store in Macon, Georgia, will open in August or September.
Lemonis said Camping World would open stores with exclusive brands from three to four other manufacturers whose names are yet to be disclosed.
“We are going to do a Forest River store,” the CEO said. “We have had some conversations with them on specific markets. So, we know we are doing that and then there are three other conversions that are on the 1-yard line with big manufacturers as well.”
Lemonis cited three primary reasons for the store strategy, starting with Camping World’s strong belief in the RV market’s strength.
“We believe the American consumer loves the RV business more than they ever have,” he said. “We do not see that changing anytime soon.”
Manufacturers’ work improving their brands and support is another reason. Lemonis said certain manufacturers have earned the right to stand apart from others because of their improved parts operations, better service support and improved customer experience.
He said exclusive store standards will be high, comparing the consumer experience to shopping at a luxury auto dealership such as Audi.
“Facility standards, sales, training standards, service standards, visual standards,” he said, “it will have all the standards we would want if we were the owner of that manufacturer.”
The third reason is to provide an opportunity for smaller RV dealers, who previously would not meet Camping World’s size or revenue standards as acquisition targets, to sell to Camping World and create generational wealth from their lifetime working in the RV industry.
“All the legacy dealers are trying to do is provide generational wealth for their life’s work,” he said. “It could have been something that their grandpa or great grandpa or grandma built that was passed on to their parents that was passed on to the most recent generations.”
In some cases, he said the next generation either is not interested in the business or already has other careers outside the RV industry.
“To have a family build a business for 10, 20, 30, 40 years and have nothing to show for it,” he said, “I think is an indictment on our industry.”