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High rollers only

The Tampa Bay area's newest exclusive clubhouse is decorated in British West Indies style. It features antique elm floors, maple paneling and a granite bar. Formally clad waiters serve free breakfast, lunch and cocktails.

Lazydays RV SuperCenter is taking the pampering of its best customers to a new level. The huge recreational vehicle dealership east of Tampa just opened a swanky clubhouse for members of its Crown Club.

The catch? You can't buy a Crown Club membership. The only way to join is to buy a luxury RV priced at $250,000 or more. A new RV comes with a three-year membership (a used model will get you two years). It can be renewed only by buying another RV.

"People who buy these RVs on average trade every year and a half, so that's not an issue," said Stewart Schaffer, chief marketing officer. The club has grown to about 4,000 members since it was started in 2001. Other benefits include member events and first-class check-in for RV service.

Early reviews of the new clubhouse are enthusiastic.

"It's awesome," said Ed Miner, 59, a retired auto workers union representative who lives in Sebastian. Miner and his wife, Toni, are at Lazydays this week having their 42-foot Monaco Dynasty serviced.

"If we didn't have a high-line coach, this would make me want to go buy one," he said. Miner said they'll be ready to buy another RV when membership renewal time comes around, if not before. Their Dynasty is the third RV they have purchased from Lazydays.

The clubhouse is part of a $2.25-million upgrade of Lazydays' sales and service area for luxury RVs. "It all fits with trying to make Lazydays the preferred RV destination and not just a dealership," Schaffer said.

Lazydays' 150-acre site off Interstate 4 includes an RV park with swimming pool, tennis and shuffleboard courts and room for 300 RVs. It attracts visitors from all over the country, as well as local residents who come out for special events.

Schaffer said 12 to 15 percent of Lazydays RV buyers are in the Crown Club category. If you've got $280,000 or so to spend on an RV, you can get a new 40-foot Monaco Windsor with a leather sofa, satellite TV, washer-dryer, cherry cabinets and three slide-out sections that expand the living space when the RV is parked.

Last year the company had $750-million in sales and sold 8,842 RVs.

_ Helen Huntley can be reached at huntleysptimes.com or (727) 893-8230.

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