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Prepping for RV growth, Lazydays' land deal frees up $56M

Inspired by a stronger-than-ever RV market and interstate expansion dreams, Seffner-based Lazydays — one of the top RV dealers in the country — raised $56 million in a recent land sale to help fund future growth.

"RV interest is as high as I have ever seen it," Lazydays chief financial officer Randy Lay said in an interview Tuesday. "There's an opportunity as we see younger folks and millennials coming into the market."

Lazydays wrapped up the $56 million sale of 130 acres of its Seffner property to Virginia-based Capital Automotive Real Estate Services, which specializes in land sale-leasebacks for auto and RV dealerships. Lazydays signed a 50-year lease to continue operating its business at its location.

Lay said it is better to free up that kind of money for the RV business than to leave it sitting there as land.

"This is a good time to invest in the market," Lay said.

Lazydays recently bought a small parcel of adjacent land from company founder Don Wallace, and this month will open a new Lazydays retail store in what had been a Camping World store.

Lazydays also has interstate ambitions. After buying a location in Arizona in 2011, this past October the company acquired the dealerships of Denver-based RV America. The new locations will all become rebranded as Lazydays, said Lay, as part of a marketing effort to extend the reach of the Seffner business name.

The RV industry is fragmented with 2,200 mostly privately owned dealers in the country, Lay said.

Some consolidation is inevitable and Lazydays — ranked among the top three or so RV businesses in the country — sees an opportunity to grow in the coming years. Camping World is the country's largest RV dealer with 115 stores.

Hence the land sale and the freeing up of $56 million. Lay said those funds would help finance growth, retire some higher-rate debt and reward shareholders. The company recently announced it was moving into the hybrid horse trailer and RV business, selling to the growing market of equestrian families.

The annual Florida RV Supershow, the area's major recreational vehicle show, opens for five days on Jan. 13 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

Lay calls the Supershow a "great barometer" for what's ahead in 2016.

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.

Prepping for RV growth, Lazydays' land deal frees up $56M 01/05/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 9:09pm]
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