Campers Inn RV, headquartered in Kingston, N.H., and one of the nation’s largest family-owned RV dealerships, has acquired Media Camping Center in Hatfield, Pa. and Clem’s RV & Trailer Sales in Stafford, Va., and Ellwood City, Pa.
In addition, Jeff Hirsch, president of Campers Inn RV, hinted that there could be more acquisitions to be announced in the near future.
Terms of the deals were not disclosed and Media Camping Center’s location in Media, Pa., is not part of the acquisition and will remain operational.
Hadden Smith of Media Camping Center will stay on as general sales manager of what will be known as Campers Inn RV of Philadelphia. The two Clem’s RV locations will be known as Campers Inn RV of Fredericksburg and Campers Inn RV of Pittsburgh, and Randy Giancola is expected to stay on in a yet-to-be-determined role. Both men are second-generation owners of the dealerships.
“I am extremely proud to welcome these outstanding businesses into our organization and as we do so, we are mindful to consider what the Smith and Giancola families created before us,” said Hirsch, past chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). “These businesses are built on the foundation of dedication and service to the customer. We are tasked with continuing their tradition of integrity and corporate citizenship, but that is exactly why we chose to acquire these businesses over any others. We are honored to carry that legacy forward.”
With the addition of these three new locations to its dealer network, Campers Inn RV grows to 13 full-service dealerships, all along the East Coast.
Hirsch told RVBUSINESS.com that the Pittsburgh location is relatively remote compared to the other dealerships. Given Campers Inn RV’s business model of clustered dealerships under the oversight of regional managers, he said “we’ll probably announce another acquisition in another 30-45 days in order to complete that pod.”
Hirsch said Media Camping Center and Clem’s RV are very similar to Campers Inn RV in their “dedication to customers and long-term vision of the industry.” He added that both have the “right product and relationship with manufacturers,” but Hirsch also sought to not overanalyze the transaction.
“I’d like to think it’s really not any more complicated than just knowing that it was right, and feeling good about something that would integrate well with our company plan,” he said.
Both Media Camping Center and Clem’s RV are full-service retailers offering sales, service and repair of new and used motorized and towable RVs, as well as parts and accessories departments.
Media Camping Center was founded in 1965 by Hadden Smith’s parents, E. Hadden and Bobbie Smith. The couple took their children on vacation in a rented Nimrod camping trailer and decided an RV dealership was a worthy endeavor that would involve the whole family. They opened the Hatfield location in 1972 as a Prowler travel trailer dealer, and the dealership has been one of the top volume dealers in the country for Fleetwood RV, Winnebago Industries Inc. and Starcraft RV.
“By joining the Campers Inn RV family, our store benefits from the resources of being part of a larger organization, and that will present opportunities to better serve our customers,” said Hadden Smith, president and general manager of Media Camping Center. “That’s what excites me, personally. We’ll be able to deliver an even higher level of product and service for RVers in our area.”
Clem’s RV & Trailer Sales was founded in 1964 by Randy Giancola’s parents, Clemente and Helen Giancola. Clem’s RV began selling BeeLine trailers out of the family’s driveway in 1964, and added Coachmen RVs in 1967 and remains the nation’s oldest Coachmen dealership. The retailer also carries the Rockwood line from Forest River Inc., among other products. In August 2013, Randy Giancola opened the Stafford location.
Giancola told RVBUSINESS.com he and his family had decided it was time to look for an exit strategy and, after seven months of discussion with Hirsch, it became evident the opportunity for Clem’s RV to become part of the Campers Inn RV organization was a “match made in heaven.”
“I was the luckiest guy in the world because I got to work with my dad every day of the year. Unfortunately, he passed away Dec. 29, 2012, and since then, for me, it hasn’t quite been the same,” Giancola said. “And I made a new friend in Jeff Hirsch. We became friends as we talked, and as I became friends with him I realized he has the vision and the culture that my father tried to instill in us. So, to continue my father’s legacy, there’s no one better than Jeff Hirsch and the Campers Inn RV organization to move that forward.”
Giancola, who noted that Clem’s RV is on track this year to break all previous sales records, said employees were notified this week of the transition. Giancola said he told them they now have a greater opportunity for advancement being part of the larger Campers Inn RV organization, and that the new ownership “mirrors the customer-focused culture” established at Clem’s RV.
“That’s what I sense with Jeff, that they do the right thing for the customer. And a lot of times the right thing is really, really hard to do. But you do it because we’re not here just for today. We’re not here just for 2015. I hope that many generations to come will understand how a great company acquired another great company and took it beyond customers’ expectations. A great family built this business and another great family is going to continue it.”
Clem’s RV and Campers Inn RV were recipients of a 2014 RVB Top 50 Dealers in North America award, with Campers Inn RV also earning the 2014 Innovation Award.
Other Campers Inn RV locations, all along the East coast, are: Kingston and Merrimack, N.H.; Raynham, Mass.; Union, Conn.; Mocksville and Kings Mountain, N.C.; Atlanta and Macon, Ga.; and Jacksonville and Leesburg, Fla.