Outdoor Insight

January 2018

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6 • Outdoor Insight • January 2018 outdoorinsightmag.com NEWS/ANALYSIS OUTDOOR EYE G a n d e r O u t d o o r s h a s re-emerged from bankruptcy and and its new owner is looking to embrace the broader outdoor market. In a contracting and evolving brick- and-mortar retail world, Marcus Lemonis is intent on creating a $300 million outdoor specialty chain with an eight percent EBITDA margin range by 2019 that offers levera- gability in publicly held Camping World's ever-expanding universe. The Camping World CEO and real- ity TV star/entrepreneur knows what he wants from the emerging Gander Outdoors, which is set to open 15 stores in the first quarter and 60 total locations in 2018 with approximately 25 percent of them sharing a retail pad with a Camping World RV dealership to create an outdoor lifestyle center of sorts. "We could have probably opened the stores a little earlier," Lemonis told analysts in early November, "but it was about getting the leases right, the merchandising right and the customer experience right. "What we want to do is sell experi- ence. And what we won't do is what some other outdoor retailers have done, which is just sell on price all the time," proclaimed the star of CNBC's The Profit. "We believe we have to start with service after the sale as our lead, as opposed to selling solely and singularly on price." Gander filed for Chap. 11 bankruptcy last year and saw a Camping World affiliate purchase the lease rights to about 38 percent of the 160-door chain for $37.75 million – $15.6 million and $22.15 million for assets – including the e-commerce operations of Gander and Overton's. Outdoor consumers familiar with the previous Gander format will no longer see large 80,000- to 100,000-square-feet doors. Instead, Gander Outdoors locations will typically be 30,000- to 50,000-square feet in size that can deliver better merchandise turn rates and profitability to the new parent company. The first new Gander Outdoors opened in Lakeville, MN, in December with additional stores in the Gopher State expected to pop up in Bemidji, Baxter, Forest Lake and Duluth. Lemonis said Camping World's deci- sion to go all in on Gander and spend another $30-35 million on the relaunch and rebrand goes beyond creating prof- itable outdoor merchandise sales at the brick-and-mortar level. "We wanted to touch more (out- door) customers, to put them in our database, to sell more club mem- berships and credit cards," said Lemonis, who wants all businesses in Camping World's expanding portfo- lio – Overton's, TheHouse and Uncle Dan's – to have an online presence. With Gander Outdoors' emergence underway, the Camping World CEO dismissed any suggestions of further, big acquisitions for the company. Instead, the company is likely to give consideration to small boating, fishing or marine space brands that have a predisposition to being online and the ability to complement existing business units. — Bob McGee A n alliance of like-minded business leaders and entrepreneurs representing Maine- based outdoor product and recreation interests, recently launched Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB) with the stated aim of working collaboratively to ignite Maine's outdoor recreation economy. The initiative, which started as a conversation amongst six brands nearly a year ago at the 2017 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, has grown to more than 50 brand members and affiliates today, including Maine-based heavyweight L.L.Bean. Led by a board of directors and advisory board comprised of industry professionals, MOB intends to promote sustainable economic development by strengthening Maine-based outdoor brands through knowledge sharing, collaborative marketing efforts and access to professional resources. Jim Hauptman, founder of MOB and managing partner of ad firm Blaze Partners, says, "MOB aims to leverage Maine's reputation as a four-season haven for outdoor adventurers of all abilities in attracting more outdoor product companies to our state. And for those out-door product companies that have already made Maine their home, we want to establish a louder, more unified voice in helping to promote their products and services." MOB sees outdoor product companies as one of the key industries in helping to attract a younger workforce to Maine and believes outdoor product companies are a core component in Maine's economy. Outdoor recreation represents 8.2 billion dollars of annual spending and 76,000 jobs in Maine, according to a report issued earlier this year by the Outdoor Industry Association, notes Hauptman. George Gervais, Commissioner, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, notes, "These young, entrepreneurial companies are injecting new life into Maine's economy. They are providing good jobs, creating new products for companies like L.L. Bean to sell and promote, and using new marketing techniques to connect with their targeted customers worldwide." To learn more about MOB, visit www.maineoutdoorbrands.com. Maine Outdoor Brands Band Together in MOB Camping World Heads for Broader Market

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