Marcus Lemonis

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Marcus Lemonis
Marcus Lemonis 2016-04-12 1069sdp.jpg
Born (1973-11-16) November 16, 1973 (age 47)
Alma materMarquette University
OccupationChairman & CEO, Camping World & Good Sam Enterprises
TelevisionThe Profit, CNBC
Spouse(s)
Roberta "Bobbi" Raffel
(m. 2018)

Marcus Anthony Lemonis (born November 16, 1973) is a Lebanese-born American businessman, television personality, philanthropist and politician. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Camping World, Good Sam Enterprises, Gander Outdoors 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]

Lemonis, named Ricardo, was born to parents Abdallel (from Lebanon) and Nadia (from Baniyas, Syria) in Beirut, Lebanon, during the chaos of civil war and foreign invasions. He was abandoned at an orphanage 4 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.

Lemonis was exposed to the automotive industry throughout his upbringing with his great uncle, Anthony Abraham owning two of the largest Chevrolet dealerships in the United States and Lee Iacocca serving as a family friend and later mentor and financial investor to Marcus, loaning him millions to start a recreational vehicle business. Lemonis graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in 1991, he went on and earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in criminology from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1995, and 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] despite being endorsed by the Miami Herald. The newspaper called Lemonis, a Democrat, a "political neophyte" but endorsed him because "he exudes energy and ideas."[5]

Automotive career[edit]

Lemonis worked for his grandfather'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 2008-09 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 18, 2018, Camping World was trading at $14.46 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]

Personal life[edit]

Marcus Lemonis married Roberta "Bobbi" Raffel in 2018,[20] and lives in Lake Forest, Illinois.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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". Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  9. ^ "LEMONIS: CAMPING WORLD IN NASCAR FOR LONG HAUL". Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  10. ^ Scheffler, Mark. "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.
  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. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Reality TV star Marcus Lemonis buys next door to his Lake Forest mansion". Crain's Chicago Business. October 16, 2018.

External links[edit]