The Business For 35 years the members of one family have set the mood for campfire sing-alongs and ghost stories at this 60-year-old American Camping AssociationÑaccredited compound. During the camp's four- and eight-week programs, as many as 100 boys and 110 girls, aged 7 to 15, are lodged separately on the 53-acre site. But they do mingle at social events, and they share 1,392 feet of lakefront footage and facilities. The kids live out their summer dreams at the camp's riding stable, theater, computer lab, golf course, tennis courts, go-cart track, boat launch, and rifle and archery ranges. It's no wonder the staff positions -- there's one staffer for every three campers -- are considered desirable summer jobs. Nevertheless, the owner, having spent every summer of his life at camp, is ready to find a different place in the sun.

Financial Summary 1991 1992 1993
Gross revenues $682,168 $605,075 $712,848
Recast earnings before $207,803 $179,865 $243,819
depreciation, interest, taxes, and owner compensation

Price $495,000 (business assets only); $1,100,000 (business and real estate)

Outlook Poison ivy and bug bites haven't eaten away at camping's perennial popularity: both attendance and the number of camps nationwide have remained constant, with about 5 million kids attending an estimated 8,500 day and overnight youth camps nationwide. In 1992 this camp experienced a dip in enrollment that reflected a bearish economy, but historically, the camp's sales have risen steadily, and it's been among the pioneers of off-site day and overnight trips. A new owner ought to modernize the buildings and consider establishing a day-camp program. And its extensive list of activities makes this camp a natural for lucrative family camping sessions.

Price Rationale Experts agree that the high multiple -- the price is slightly more than four times 1993 cash flow of $260,332 -- is acceptable because of the real property involved. And since it falls right between two appraisals ($900,000 as a replacement cost and $1,250,000 via the income approach), the business-assets-plus-real-estate price is reasonable. The price for the business assets alone, based on a $530,000 appraisal, is fair, given the camp's revenue history. Depending on the size of the down payment, a buyer might be able to improve the terms of the sale.

Pros Enduring demand. The campers pay their fees even if it rains, and camp is just another word for fun, fun, fun.

Cons The work is seasonal and hard. And how many verses of "Kumbaya" can you take? -- Robina A. Gangemi

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 Roger Rumble at Bosch Inc., 616-375-9000. n

Published on: Apr 1, 1995