Hitting the road Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2008

FreedomRoads was created in May of 2003 with the knowledge that the RV industry was fragmented.

Marcus Lemonis, the company’s chairman, saw that there was a tremendous opportunity to consolidate the top dealers in the top 100 markets. Other key factors included the future rights to acquire Camping World and the overwhelming statistic that 400,000 Americans turn 50 every month.

The difficulty in launching this concept was finding, growing and keeping great people. Lemonis knows that the ability to buy the business is not as challenging as keeping the original owners engaged and finding new blood to continue on the legacies in the local markets.

For Lemonis, entrepreneurship is the foundation of his company, is synonymous with risk and is the basis of how he operates. Any successful entrepreneur knows that risk takes on three forms: personal, emotional and financial. The first challenges one’s credibility and reputation, the second defines one’s self-confidence and the last proves that personal financial investment and opportunity will guide one’s choices and will lead to a more precise calculation of risk.

His company faced skepticism and criticism by competing dealers, manufacturers and the banking community. Throughout the last five years, Lemonis has proven his business model, improved on it and been able to learn from its best practices. Learning from success and failure allows the company to establish new vertically integrated products and services, open and acquire new businesses and, most of all, offer new opportunities to its people.

HOW TO REACH: FreedomRoads, www.freedomroads.com