A major RV and camping equipment dealership has announced plans to locate in Sidney.
Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis met with community leaders Monday and announced on Facebook that his company would be adding dealership and distribution locations in Sidney and Lincoln.
Expectations are that the business would bring 150-200 jobs to Sidney. Approximately 50-60 of those jobs would be in the retail dealership and offices. Sidney and Lincoln will be the first Nebraska locations for a nationwide dealership that already has more than 130 locations.
Lemonis did not give a specific time frame, but the dealership is likely to open in 2021. In addition to Camping World, the company partners with Gander Outdoors, Overton’s, The House and Good Sam.
Lemonis, who also serves as host of “The Profit” on CNBC, praised Sidney on a Facebook video as a town that helped build the country. He said as the home of Cabela’s, Sidney helped found and explore the great outdoors, making it a great fit for his company.
“We’re proud to be bringing our colors to this town,” Lemonis said. “I’m a big believer that American towns built this country, and that while there’s lots of great American towns in this country, I needed to be in this one.”
As a native of Florida and a fan of the Miami Hurricanes, Lemonis said it was tough for him to become a Cornhusker, but he was overwhelmed by the welcoming and the hospitality he found in the state.
“I am proud to be welcomed by amazing Cornhuskers right here in this state,” he said.
In addition to the RV operation, Lemonis said he is partnering with a local group to open up a 3PL specifically dedicated to small businesses.
“There are hundreds of thousands of square feet of distribution centers here that have been a part of Cabela’s for years that are no longer occupied,” he said. “For a lot of people, unfortunately, those jobs moved somewhere else. But I believe that Sidney, Nebraska, is a great center point on the U.S. map to allow small businesses who have e-commerce businesses to have a 3PL here in Sidney, Nebraska.
"Great labor. Great know how. Great location, and it allows you to tackle the west coast of the United States with a very low cost of operating and a low cost of distribution.”
Cheyenne County and Sidney economic development director Melissa Norgard said some former Cabela’s employees have found themselves working for Camping World at other locations, and some of those individuals were telling Lemonis about Sidney and the talented people of the community.
“His business, obviously, is also in the outdoor space, and he noted several times when he was speaking (Monday) that they have some areas that there is room for growth and opportunity, and he feels like some of the talent here in Sidney can help him grow his business and become better in some of those areas,” Norgard said.
The locations in Lincoln and Sidney will bookend the state and provide Lemonis with the visibility and access he desires for his dealerships. The facility in Sidney will be located east of Bomgaars and south of Wal-Mart on a 14-acre piece of land that will be easily visible from Interstate 80.
“It’s going to be right off of I-80,” Norgard said. “He’s notorious for putting up a big flagpole with big flags to draw attention and get people off of the interstate, so overall, we’re really excited for the opportunity. It’s going to bring new jobs, it’s going to bring a new retail footprint.”
Sidney city manager David Scott said similar businesses have been successful in Sidney before, and he believes Camping World has made a good decision in locating in Sidney.
“I think it’s great,” Scott said. “I don’t know why they wouldn’t choose Sidney. We’ve been successful at this kind of business in the past, and I think we’ll be successful in the future.”
Scott said Sidney has the qualities businesses are looking for.
“We have the people, we have the resources,” he said. “We have everything that they need to set up shop. Sidney is a great place to be.”
Norgard said Lemonis talked about helping revitalize the downtown area of Sidney.
“We’ve seen so many great small businesses come out of post-Cabela’s,” Norgard said, “and I think that will give some of those small businesses an opportunity to really grow and maybe learn from somebody like him, in addition to revitalizing our main street where we’re working on an updated downtown master plan. We’re hopeful he can come in with some great ideas from what he’s seen as successful in other small communities.”