THE BUSINESS How far from the corporate ladder do your fantasies take you? How about a 12.5-acre lakeside resort with plenty of repeat business from bear hunters, snowmobilers, and families with recreational vehicles? What this 51-year-old facility lacks in glitz it makes up for with an unbeatable location, near national forests and a major highway. Seasonal attractions include fishing, berry picking, hunting, cross-country skiing, and dogsledding. (And you thought your schedule was hectic!) Buy in and you get seven cabins, 34 RV or camping sites, and a general store. The owners are ready for new challenges; you'll probably need two full-time managers, plus a few part-timers.

PRICE $550,000 (50% owner financing possible)

OUTLOOK The United States' 8,000-plus privately owned campgrounds are doing just fine, racking up 90 million camp nights annually. Resorts like this one, serving budget-conscious vacationers, should thrive regardless of where the economy heads. You could boost sales by gearing advertising toward snowshoers and mountain bikers, or by adding new attractions such as guided hunts. There's plenty of room for new RV slots, too, at a cost of just $5,000 for each "slab."

PRICE RATIONALE A well-priced business like this one may be even better than a fire-toasted marshmallow. Campgrounds with small to midsize RV facilities tend to sell for 7 to 7.5 times recast earnings, plus the value of store inventory. Using the average of the past three years' recast earnings ($67,474), you'll get a range of $472,318 to $506,055. Add inventory, around $14,000, and you're ready to close the deal.

PROS With views and recreational opportunities this good, you could feel as if you're on vacation 365 days a year.

CONS If you succeed in attracting more year-round vacationers, you'll spend those 365 days working instead.

*before depreciation, interest, taxes, and owner compensation
Financials 1994 1995 1996
Gross Revenues $212,856 $202,460 $214,000
Recast Earnings* $64,944 $64,820 $72,658

Inc. has no stake in the sale of the business featured.

The magazine cannot confirm the accuracy of financial or other information offered by the seller. Inquiries should be directed to Bruce "B.W." Hughes, Nancy Koron Realtors, 800-700-0480.