Marcus Lemonis

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Marcus Lemonis
Marcus Lemonis Image.jpg
Lemonis in 2019
Born (1973-11-16) November 16, 1973 (age 48)
Beirut, Lebanon
Alma materMarquette University
OccupationBusinessman, television personality, philanthropist
TelevisionThe Profit (on CNBC)
Spouse(s)
Roberta "Bobbi" Raffel
(m. 2018)
Websitemarcuslemonis.com

Marcus Anthony Lemonis (born November 16, 1973) is a Lebanese-born American businessman, television personality and philanthropist. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Camping World, Good Sam Enterprises, Gander RV and The House Boardshop, in addition to being the star of The Profit, a CNBC reality show about saving small businesses.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born to parents Abdallel (from Lebanon) and Nadia (from Baniyas, Syria) in Beirut, Lebanon, during the chaos of the Lebanese civil war and foreign invasions.[1] He was given the name Ricardo but was abandoned at an orphanage four days after his birth.[1] He was adopted during his infancy on July 29, 1974, by Leo and Sophia Lemonis, a couple living in Miami, Florida.[2] His adoptive father was Greek, and his adoptive mother was Lebanese.[citation needed]

Throughout his upbringing, Lemonis was exposed to the automotive industry, with his great uncle (Anthony Abraham) owning two of the largest Chevrolet dealerships in the United States. Lee Iacocca was a family friend who became a mentor to Lemonis and also a financial investor, loaning him millions to start a recreational vehicle business.[citation needed]

Lemonis graduated in 1991 from Christopher Columbus High School in Miami-Dade County, Florida. In 1995, he earned a bachelor's degree in political science, with a minor in criminology, from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives shortly after his graduation,[3] whereupon he refocused his career on the automotive industry.

Career[edit]

1996 Florida House campaign[edit]

Lemonis, appearing on the ballot as Marc Anthony Lemonis, lost to two-term Republican incumbent Bruno Barreiro, 42.44 percent to 57.56 percent.[4] The Miami Herald called Lemonis, a Democrat, a "political neophyte" but endorsed him because "he exudes energy and ideas."[5]

Automotive career[edit]

Lemonis worked for his great uncle's car dealership in South Florida, Anthony Abraham Chevrolet. That dealership was acquired by AutoNation in 1997, and Lemonis subsequently held several sales and managerial roles under the new ownership.[3] A family friend, Lee Iaccoca approached Lemonis and told him he wanted to "Create the largest RV chain" as the RV business model in the United States was "fractured". Iaccoca helped Lemonis start and acquire Holiday RV Superstores. From June 2001 to February 2003 he served as CEO of Holiday RV Superstores Inc. Following that, he co-founded a company called FreedomRoads and began acquiring RV dealerships.[6] In 2006, the company merged with Camping World with Lemonis as CEO, and then, in 2011, merged with Good Sam Enterprises, with Lemonis again at the helm.[7]

Camping World[edit]

As the CEO of Camping World, Lemonis sponsored NASCAR driver John Andretti in 2004. In 2007, Lemonis and Camping World announced they were taking over sponsorship of the NASCAR East Series from Busch Beer for the 2008–2009 seasons, rebranding it the NASCAR Camping World Series. Later that same year, they also announced sponsorship of the then Craftsman Truck Series, rebranding it the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, making the company one of the sport's top three sponsors.[8] They renewed their sponsorship in 2014.[9]

Crain's Chicago Business featured him in their 2005 edition of "40 under 40";[10] and in 2008, Ernst & Young named him "Entrepreneur of the Year".[11]

In October 2016, Camping World went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CWH) at $22 a share, giving the company a market value of approximately $2 billion. As of December 24, 2021, Camping World was trading at $39.56 per share.[12]

In April 2017, Camping World announced the acquisition of the assets of Gander Mountain, a camping, fishing and hunting gear retailer.[13]

In July 2017, Camping World announced the acquisition of The House Boardshop, an online retailer specializing in bikes, sailboards, skateboards, wakeboards, snowboards and outdoor gear.[14]

Television[edit]

Lemonis appeared on two episodes of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice.[15] In 2012, Lemonis appeared on an episode of ABC's Secret Millionaire,[16] returning to his hometown of Miami to help local charities.

In 2013, Lemonis became the star of the CNBC reality show The Profit,[17] which features Lemonis on the hunt for promising yet faltering small businesses. In the show, Lemonis invests his own money for part ownership in the businesses to make them profitable.[18]

In 2017, Lemonis starred in, and co-produced, the CNBC program The Partner, in which he searches for a business manager to assist him with running the businesses that he invests in on The Profit.[18][19]

In August 2021, NBCUniversal, Machete, and Lemonis were accused of harmful business practices by over 50 small businesses that appeared on The Profit.[20]

In 2021, it was announced that Lemonis and Nancy Glass had acquired the rights of the game show Let's Make a Deal.[21]

Philanthrophy[edit]

Lemonis founded the Lemon-AID Foundation in 2020. The foundation supports women and minority entrepreneurs as well as small businesses. Lemonis also founded the Business Learning Center, a virtual platform for resources and business tools for those struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[22] Lemonis's foundation started the "Plating Change" initiative to combat food insecurity through a partnership with Grubhub and the World Central Kitchen.[23] Lemonis has donated to his alma maters, including Christopher Columbus High School[24] and $15Μ dollars to Marquette University.[25][26] He has supported the Joffrey Ballet Bridge Program in the Chicago public school system.[27] In 2016–17, Lemonis launched a matching campaign to support the sports program at University of Miami.[28] After the 2020 Nashville bombing on Christmas Day, Lemonis established a fund to support the business owners affected by the event.[29]

Controversies[edit]

In November 2021, Pamela Perry sued[30] Camping World, Inc. and Lemonis for Breach of Contract, after defendants made a "promise to the citizens of Nashville for information identifying" the bomber in the 2020 Nashville Christmas bombing but refused to pay. A spokesman for Lemonis replied that the reward offered was for information leading to the "capture and conviction" of the person responsible for (and killed in) the bombing.

Personal life[edit]

Lemonis married Roberta "Bobbi" Raffel in 2018[31] and lives in Lake Forest, Illinois.[32]

Marcus Lemonis married his first wife, Ila Lemonis (nee Penfold), in 2003. However, during their marriage, he began dating The Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Franckel. Marcus and Ila subsequently finalized their divorce in 2017. [33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Andy Dehnart (9 April 2019). "On The Profit: My Roots, Marcus Lemonis learns more than his birth name in Lebanon". Reality Blurred.
  2. ^ Kim, Jae-Hae. "Go away with Marcus Lemonis". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b "40 Under 40 2005". Crain's Chicago Business. 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  4. ^ "General, Nonpartisan and Special Elections: Dade County, Florida". November 5, 1996. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  5. ^ "Miami Herald Archive Search Results". The Miami Herald. 6 November 1996. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018 – via Newsbank.
  6. ^ "FreedomRoads, LLC: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  7. ^ "Who is Marcus Lemonis? - Zap2it". Blog.zap2it.com. 2013-07-26. Archived from the original on 2013-08-03. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  8. ^ "NASCAR's hottest drivers and the companies that sponsor them". CNBC. 20 July 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  9. ^ "LEMONIS: CAMPING WORLD IN NASCAR FOR LONG HAUL". Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  10. ^ Scheffler, Mark (17 November 2005). "40 under 40 2005". Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  11. ^ Goldenberg, Sherman (2008-06-30). "Lemonis Recognized with Ernst & Young Award". Archived from the original on 2015-07-24. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  12. ^ Balakrishnan, Anita (October 7, 2016). "Camping World Holdings rises 3% after IPO". CNBC.
  13. ^ "Camping World acquires Gander Mountain assets in auction". Daily Herald. May 1, 2017.
  14. ^ Camping World Holdings, Inc. (27 July 2017). "Camping World Agrees to Acquire TheHouse.com, one of the Largest Outdoor Gear Retailers in the World" (Press release) – via BusinessWire.
  15. ^ "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice". Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  16. ^ "Marcus Lemonis: Miami". 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  17. ^ "The Profit – Home | CNBC Prime". www.cnbc.com. 11 August 2016.
  18. ^ a b de Moraes, Lisa (January 14, 2016). "'The Profit' Host Marcus Lemonis To Star In CNBC Spinoff, 'The Partner' – TCA". Deadline. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  19. ^ "CNBC Greenlights 'Cleveland Hustles' with NBA Superstar LeBron James and 'The Partner' with Marcus Lemonis". CNBC. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  20. ^ Samantha Handler (24 Aug 2021). "CNBC The Profit Host Alleged to Take Dozens of Companies IP". BloombergLaw.
  21. ^ White, Peter (August 10, 2021). "'Let's Make A Deal': Marcus Lemonis & Nancy Glass Acquire IP Rights To Classic Gameshow, Bring In Sharon Hall To Consult". Deadline Hollywood.
  22. ^ "CNBC's Lemonis Launches Lemon-AID Foundation". October 2020.
  23. ^ "Marcus Lemonis Charity Takes the Lead in Anti Hunger Fight".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "Center for Science and the Arts". 2016.
  25. ^ "Alumnus Marcus Lemonis donates $15 million to create Lemonis Center for Student Success". Marquette Today. 2022-02-26. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  26. ^ Slattery Lydia (February 11, 2016). "Over 400,000 raised by One Million Dollar Challlenge".
  27. ^ Christina Mancuso (August 2013). "Marcus Lemonis CEO of Camping World Makes Major Donation to Joffrey Ballets Bridge Program".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "UM and Marcus Lemonis Announce Match Marcus Campaign". December 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ Cameron Taylor (December 2020). "CNBC personality sets up fund for business owners affected by blast".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ "'Let the judge decide' says woman suing over rewards offered after Christmas morning bombing". WTVF. 2021-11-19. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  31. ^ Petit, Stephanie (22 February 2018). "Marcus Lemonis Is Married! The Profit Star Opens Up About His Wedding Day: 'I Cried'". Meredith Corporation. People. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  32. ^ "Reality TV star Marcus Lemonis buys next door to his Lake Forest mansion". Crain's Chicago Business. October 16, 2018.
  33. ^ Katuwal, Arun. "Marcus Lemonis Married His Second Wife after He Bought Her Business Deal". HollywoodMask. Hollywood Mask. Retrieved 3 January 2022.

External links[edit]