b'BUSINESS INSIGHTS nBY JEFF CRIDEROpen Road Resorts Continues to Expand Portfolio of Campgrounds Open Road Resorts LLC is a four-year-old, Heath, Texas-based com-panythatownsandoperatesan attractiveportfoliooffourcamp-grounds in some of the most sought-after locations in the country. One of its parks, Red Rock RV Park in Island Park, Idaho, is in a scenic lo-cation 30 minutes from West Yellow-stone,Mont.,andthenorthwest entrancetoYellowstoneNational Park.Twoothers,PolsonMotor- anRV,whileOmstromgrewup coach Resort and the Polson/Flat- campingwithhisfamilyonLake head Lake Kampgrounds of AmericaErie. Inc. (KOA) Holiday are about 90 min- They later left Citadel and looked utes south of Glacier National Park infor opportunities to do something Montanas beautiful Flathead Lakemore entrepreneurial. A friend sug-area.gested they consider investing in the Its other park, Dallas NortheastRV park business, and after research-Campgroundisabout40minutesingthelatesttrendsinvolvingRV from the center of Dallas.sales and campground demand, they OpenRoadsco-foundersChasequickly realized the campground in-BeckerandJamesOmstromtolddustry was the right niche to target WoodallsCampgroundMagazinetheir efforts. they have every intention of expand- Wewantedtostartabusiness ing their company with more acqui- that we could invest in that we could sitions,primarilyparksinhanddowntoourfamilies,Om-sought-after destinations that couldstrom said, noting that he has four use an infusion of capital to providechildren,agestwotosix,while abettercampingexperiencethatBecker has two kids, ages three and meets or exceeds the expectations offive. todays camping consumer.They also liked the resiliency of While both Becker and OmstromOpen Road Resorts was founded in 2019 and now features four resorts and its owners planthecampgroundbusiness,which arecampingenthusiasts,theysayto expand. Photo: Polson Motorcoach Resort rides the ups and downs of the econ-they have learned a great deal aboutomy better than other businesses. the strengths and weaknesses of theStreet, including Bear Stearns and JPas THOR, Winnebago, Lippert andThe reason we liked it is that its RV and campground businesses inMorgan Chase.Patrick Industries, as well as hotels,not as cyclical as some other indus-recent years, and they know where toThey eventually landed jobs at acasinos, cruise lines, airlines, restau- tries,Omstromsaid.Whenthe target their investments.hedge fund called Citadel LLC, whererantsandrentalcarcompanies,economy goes south, hotels or cruise Beforetheyco-foundedOpenthey became familiar with a varietyOmstrom recalled.lines or amusement parks tend to see RoadResortsin2019,Beckerandof consumer leisure products.Whiletheywerelearningabouta dip. You dont see as big of a dip in Omstrom spent many years workingWeinvestedinpubliclytradedconsumerleisureproducts,bothcampgrounds. Its more resilient to as investment analysts for some ofequity companies, including the RVBecker and Omstrom had an interestthe ups and downs of the economy the best-known companies on Wallmanufacturers and suppliers, suchin camping. Becker himself ownedand more resilient than other indus-tries in the leisure sector. BeckerandOmstromwerealso enticed by the relative shortage of campsites. Jim and I were trained to recog-nize that the place where you want to invest your money is where there is a bottleneckinthesupply,Becker said, adding that the campground in-dustry constitutes its own sort of bot-tleneckwithahugeimbalance between supply and demand. We knew why people were buy-ing RVs, but there has been a massive caponthesupplyofnewparks, Becker said. This has happened, he said, partly because many jurisdictions do not want more campgrounds or RV parks in their communities. Those that will allow the construction of new camp-grounds or RV parks, or the expan-sionofexistingones,oftenhave lengthypermittingprocesses,he said, which can bog down the private park development process. Develop-ers frequently tell WCM it can take three years or more to develop a new campground or RV park, depending on the location. Asaresult,whilethousandsof new RV sites are being built across the country, either at new parks or throughtheexpansionofexisting 38 April 2023 Woodalls Campground Magazine'