Many know him as the “business turnaround king” and host of CNBC’s prime time reality series The Profit, but his rise to stardom is no Hollywood construction. Lemonis’ notoriety has been established by his tenacity, shrewdness and determination. His biggest success is as the chairman and CEO of Camping World, the nation’s largest RV and outdoor retailer, and Good Sam, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization. While some may rest on their laurels with such a résumé, Lemonis’ unique vision and large ambition keep him looking forward. On The Profit, he lends his expertise while using his famous “three Ps” principle (People, Process, and Product) to assist struggling businesses around the country from a variety of industries. Watch him in his quest to help small businesses on The Profit on CNBC.
Lemonis was born in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon in 1973; and, at nine months old, was adopted by a Lebanese and Greek couple living in Miami, FL. As a young child, he was exposed to positive and prosperous business values at his family-owned Anthony Abraham Chevrolet. His entrepreneurial spirit bloomed at age 12, when he started a lawn mowing service in order to generate money to open a candy business. He graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in Miami and moved to Milwaukee, WI to attend Marquette University, where he studied Political Science, Criminology and Economics.
He returned to Florida after graduation and ran for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. At 22, with no political experience, he gained the endorsement of the Miami Herald. Though he lost the campaign, Lemonis refocused and held several automotive sales and managerial roles. It was a conversation with family friend and former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who advised Lemonis to get into the camping and RV business, which put him on the path to eventual chairmanship.
Lemonis has streamlined the RV industry, buying and developing more than 100 RV companies from dealerships across the country and turning them into Camping World RV SuperCenters. After combining Camping World with Good Sam Enterprises in 2010, Lemonis now leads nearly 7,000 employees in over 100 U.S. cities, and recorded close to $3 billion in sales in 2014. Lemonis teamed up with NASCAR in 2014, to renew Camping World’s sponsorship of the Truck Series through 2022. The extension affirms the RV and camping company’s commitment, continuing a relationship as title sponsor that dates back to 2009. In 2015 it was announced that Camping World would be the title sponsor of the Independence Bowl. The long-running, annual college football game will be known as the Camping World Independence Bowl and will kick off the yearlong celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of Camping World and Good Sam.
He is also an award-winner. Lemonis was named RV Business Magazine’s “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2007 and landed in Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40” list in 2005. In 2008, Ernst and Young named Lemonis “Entrepreneur of the Year.”
His philanthropy started in college, where he served as the president of Marquette’s Student Athletic Committee and planned a citywide clothing drive to help the homeless of Milwaukee. Over the years, he has also contributed time and money to various organizations including: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, NVEEE (National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment),New Journey’s Transitional Home, Neat Stuff, Ravinia Festival Association, RV/MH Hall of Fame &Museum and the Joffrey Ballet Bridge Program.
Just when you thought his plate was full, Lemonis added real estate investment across the country and a variety of new product lines and services to his holding company Marcus Lemonis Enterprises LLC.
Marcus Lemonis drives results through collaborations, partnerships and relationships. His advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is simple: stay focused, work hard, know your numbers, and be disciplined.
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