Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis: People misunderstood latest takeover

Camping World Holdings CEO Marcus Lemonis admitted on Wednesday that he’s “made some rookie mistakes” as the CEO of a public company.

“Mad Money” host Jim Cramer in an interview, adding that “the biggest learning curve” was how to communicate his corporate strategy to the public market.

One recent misunderstanding revolved around Camping World’s recent acquisition of Gander Mountain, a hunting, fishing and camping equipment retailer.

“I think what happened was people originally thought that we bought Gander Mountain to get into the big-box retail business,” Lemonis said. “[That’s] false.”

“We disclosed today at the Baird Conference, in a public environment, our real strategy behind the acquisition of Gander,” Lemonis, who also hosts CNBC’s “The Profit,” continued. “It was our backdoor entry into the market in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas, where we’re going to be putting RVs in most of those locations.”

Lemonis doubled down on the idea that while Camping World sells outdoor accessories, its primary business is in recreational vehicles, commonly known as RVs.

“We have 130 RV dealerships today. At the end of 2019, we’ll have 165, 160 to 165. That’s 20 percent growth,” Lemonis told Cramer.

Camping World’s business also has a technological twist: the majority of its business comes from an online database called the Good Sam Club. On Wednesday, Lemonis argued that Good Sam Club made his company “the category-killer.”

“That’s really how we make our money,” he said. “We acquire new customers and we find new people through the sale of RVs and the other products. And I think that’s different than people thought it was.”

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