Editor’s Note: The following article appeared in the Tampa Bay Tribune outlining the ongoing battle between aftermarket parts retailer Camping World Inc. and Lazydays RV SuperCenter. To view the entire story click here.
The Lazydays RV SuperCenter could soon have a new archrival — inside its own complex in Seffner, Fla.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Tribune, the Camping World retail store that sits within the broader Lazydays campus plans to start selling RVs, trailers and other major equipment in direct competition with Lazydays, after a bitter legal dispute between the two.
“We’ll have everything they sell, but for less,” said Marcus Lemonis, who oversees the Camping World chain of 90 stores, plus the Camping World RV Sales chain that includes Dusty’s RV and the Good Sam RV membership club.
The new operation could be up and running within a few weeks, Lemonis said, adding that he can bring more RVs from other dealerships he controls across Florida. The change adds to the long-running legal drama surrounding Lazydays.
Camping World opened a 20,000-square-foot retail store inside the Lazydays compound in 1995, and it remained the best-performing store in the chain until recently.
Lazydays founder Don Wallace sold the RV dealership in 2006, but Wallace still owns and controls the land underneath as landlord.
Wallace and current owners of the dealership remain in a long-running legal dispute, while the dealership has changed hands several times and filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The Wayzata Investment Partners private equity firm now owns the dealership.
Meanwhile, Camping World officials claim that a longstanding contract requires Lazydays to buy its RV parts and maintenance supplies from Camping World, though Lemonis says Lazydays started buying its supplies elsewhere.
“Don and I always had a good relationship,” Lemonis said. “The nature of the Lazydays business now is dramatically different. I’m not going to mess around with these turkeys anymore.”
Lazydays officials tell a different story.
They claim that a series of arrangements with Camping World prohibited Camping World from selling RVs within 50 miles of Tampa, yet several months ago, companies Lemonis controls rebranded an RV supply store 42 miles away in Bartow called Dusty’s Camper World into a Camping World RV store and started selling new and used RVs.