Now, lest you think I’ve been chewing on loco weed or smoking wacky tobaccy, given my often expressed low opinion of Camping World and today’s blog title, let me say that I never hesitate to point out the shortcomings of the RV industry. But I also think that when a person or a company does something good, it too, needs to be recognized.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the RV Hall of Fame Museum’s financial crisis, and that if the museum could not find some angels to help keep the doors open, the world would be losing a valuable resource. Well, an angel has come forward, in the form of Marcus Lemonis, Chairman of Camping World.
To help the museum meet its current financial obligations, while also guaranteeing the museum’s long-term success, Lemonis is pledging a combined total of up to $325,000. This would would make Camping World and the Good Sam Club the museum’s largest supporters.
This cash infusion would start with a $100,000 grant from the Good Sam Club for future naming rights for something at the museum to be determined at a future date. This is the same thing we see at sports venues, where a sponsor has a sky box, an exhibit hall, or even an entire facility named after themselves.
Lemonis has also promised to contribute one-half percent of the Good Sam Club’s annual membership revenue, as a contribution from Good Sam members. This contribution, based upon the Good Sam Club’s membership numbers, could fluctuate as those numbers go up or down. But Lemonis placed a minimum on the dollar amount of no less than $75,000 annually. The Good Sam Club currently has approximately 880,000 members.
In a news release I received from museum historian Al Hesselbart, Lemonis also proposes the addition of a Camping World accessory store as a tenant of the museum, with its annual rent equal to the facility’s projected 2011 operating budget deficit, not to exceed $150,000. The Camping World retail outlet would be housed inside the museum’s existing infrastructure, not in a separate building, and would involve only the company’s accessory items, and not include RV sales.
Lemonis said that his proposals are not without a few caveats. He would like the annual pledge by the Go RVing Coalition to the Hall of Fame paid on time, as previously promised. Lemonis added, “Also, I would like to see $2 from every Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) seal to go towards the operating budget of the museum. I believe that RV dealers across the country see the value in the Hall of Fame, and it’s the dealers who actually pay for those seals.” The cost of the seals, $20 per RV regardless of type, help to finance the Go RVing Coalition’s media and promotional buys for the year.
The Camping World chairman also noted the lack of support from the rest of the RV industry, saying that he would like to see the museum be able to raise $250,000 on its own from RV manufacturers and suppliers. “I’ll do everything I proposed,” said Lemonis, “But others also have to bring something to the table to help ensure that the museum becomes and remains viable.”
Even though I am no fan of Camping World, and after the latest fiasco involving my motorhome’s tires, I will never allow their RV techs to touch my Winnebago again, I applaud Marcus Lemonis for stepping up to the plate and helping to bail the RV Museum out. The rest of the RV industry damn sure isn’t doing anything about the problem.
Thought For The Day – It is the friends you can call at 4 a.m. that matter.