Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an article in Inc. Magazine profiling Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises LLC President and CEO Marcus Lemonis, detailing his background, his philosophy on “turning businesses around” and his starring role in CNBC’s “The Profit.” To view the entire article click here.
I find the guy I’m looking for in the lobby café of a small hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He’s wearing a fuchsia V-neck sweater with matching high-top sneakers, which makes him simple to spot, even before you notice the as-seen-on-TV glow. He’s eating a bowl of granola with skim milk. It’s not what he ordered–he had asked the waitress for raisin bran–but who sends cereal back? Donald Trump, maybe. Not Marcus Lemonis.
Lemonis is in New York City today to shoot an episode of his hit reality show, The Profit, which debuted on CNBC a year ago, soared in the ratings this past spring, and returns for the second half of Season 2 in October. The Profit is a bit like business turnaround shows Bar Rescue and Restaurant: Impossible, except that Lemonis isn’t a consultant, he’s an investor. In that way, The Profit is more like Shark Tank, except that Lemonis isn’t fielding pitches from wannabes; he’s seizing control of family-owned “sick businesses,” as he calls them–a car dealership, a flower shop, a candy store–and fixing them. Invariably, things get messy. “In most cases, the people who apply to get on the show are really in need of more than just financial help,” Lemonis says gently, and when he offers more, as he often does–by calling out a bully boss or defending an overworked and underappreciated employee–that’s when viewers might see parallels with Dr. Phil or even the Dog Whisperer. A lot can happen in those 40 unscripted minutes.
While The Profit was on break, Lemonis kept going. He dove back into his day job as CEO of Camping World, a fast-growing, $3 billion national chain of recreational vehicle dealerships, and Good Sam, an affiliated RV travel club. He visited tiny Horton, Kansas, a failing prairie hamlet that he’s been trying to rescue with the same mix of cash, know-how, and entrepreneurial passion he brings to struggling small businesses on The Profit. And, through his personal investment fund, he bought more companies–notably Crumbs, the gourmet cupcake chain that he and a partner have vowed to rescue from bankruptcy.
To view the entire article click here.