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Opinion: A vendor summit, what a novel idea!

Opinion: A vendor summit, what a novel idea!
"Come in vendor slave, Emperor Lemonis will see you now."

By Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report

Camping World today announced it will host its third “product vendor summit.”  How special.

Emperor Marcus Eralius Augustus Tiberious Lemonis, the part-time CEO and chairman of Camping World, full-time Hollywood star host of The Profit television reality show, and part owner of more than 50 businesses unrelated to the RV industry, said this is a good thing for the RV industry.

“The objective of our annual summit is to create an efficient environment for vendors and suppliers to meet and communicate with our buyers,” said Lemonis in making the announcement.

What a novel idea. Only someone with the wisdom, testosterone and chutzpah of The Profit could come up with something so extraordinarily innovative as to create a efficient environment for vendors and suppliers to meet with the buyers of a wholesale distribution company.

My goodness, if Emperor Lemonis isn’t careful, the RV Industry Association will bestow upon him the next David J. Humphreys RV Industry Unity Award for bringing the entire RV aftermarket together for one industry-shaping event.

The problem is this type of meeting has taken place every single year I have been associated with the RV industry, so I know it goes back to 2000.

The RV Aftermarket Association’s annual executive conference was set up decades ago so that one-on-one meetings could take place between suppliers making parts and accessories and wholesale distribution companies that deliver the products to RV dealers.

In fact, the next such meeting takes place next week in none other than downtown Chicago, which, according to Google Maps, is precisely 33.1 miles from Camping World headquarters in Lincolnshire, Ill.

That begs the question as to why The Profit and his loyal minions can’t simply participate in that industry event rather than inconveniencing hundreds of other suppliers with yet another unnecessary meeting?

I am sure with enough advance notice the staff of the RV Aftermarket Association can outfit one of the meeting rooms with red carpeting and a gold throne so that suppliers can grovel before Emperor Lemonis and seek his favor.

You can never fail to underestimate the arrogance of the Camping World leadership who genuinely believe the entire RV industry revolves around their operation. Yet, their operation wouldn’t exist today without special pricing, sweetheart deals and extraordinary favors from key industry players.

To the best of my knowledge nobody other than The Profit has been able to extort three $10 million loans from the largest RV manufacturing company in the world, but that’s old news.

“So if you think you have what it takes to be the next Camping World vendor, come prepared to promote your product to our buyers with a 30-minute pitch,” said  Johnny Sirpilla, chief business development officer for Camping World and Good Sam, in the press release announcing the new unnecessary meeting.

It would also be a good idea for suppliers to come prepared with plastic sheets, Vaseline and vegetable oil because I suspect somebody is gonna get screwed in that deal.

The Camping World staff will bring the whips and chains. It’ll be great fun. Register today!

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report.


  1. You crack me up.

  2. Quote of the year! “It would also be a good idea for suppliers to come prepared with plastic sheets, Vaseline and vegetable oil because I suspect somebody is gonna get screwed in that deal.”

  3. Nice Job Greg!! Louisville is another option but yet his highness would have to walk around or maybe they could carry him on one of those thrones with 4 guys holding poles.

  4. Greg,

    To my knowledge RVAA will not allow Camping World to join their club because A large portion of their sales don’t fit the 2 step distribution model.

  5. Seems like Sir Lemonis has a touch of “EGO”! HAHA

    If he truly cared about the RV industry he would stop screwing over the people he “buys” and work with the industry leaders. I am a fairly prominent dealer, and not just in my own mind, but realize that he has yet to stoop to the level of the consumer, nor does he seem to care about the industry. Step up with your “influence” and change the industry for the better, like the rest of us are trying to do.

    Help create a mandate that the manufacturer do a thorough PDI of their products pre-delivery. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just have MINOR issues with your NEW products????

    Make a designated introduction time, even if it is in within a certain month and not a specific day, for all new year model product. Then ALL dealers would be able to plan ahead and balance their lot inventory.

    Take the time to know your industry and the people that are in it. It only takes one to two weeks a year, Indiana and Louisville. Nobody is too important to try and improve the industry you are in.

    His goal seems to be to put more businesses and people in his pocket and live off of the hard work and dreams of others. I personally would like to see just how much of HIS money he actually puts into his “business acquisitions”. From what I have heard, from some of the companies that were “purchased” by Mr. Lemonis and/or Camping World, the cash is just not there!

    Many were promised something yet it was not delivered. Haven’t we all been there???

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