A new owner for Chelsea's Lloyd Bridges Traveland

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Lloyd Bridges Traveland RV, a longtime family-owned business in Chelsea, is going to be changing hands in the coming months.

In the announcement about the change, Camping World said it has reached an agreement to acquire the Lloyd Bridges Traveland RV dealerships in Chelsea.

The acquisition is anticipated to close early in 2022, according to Camping World.

“We continue to pursue dealership acquisitions to expand our market share and we are excited to expand in Michigan, which has great RV demographics,” said Marcus Lemonis, CEO and Chairman of Camping World Holdings, in the announcement. “We are honored to add an iconic family brand that has been providing exceptional customer service to RVers for over 55 years. The Lloyd Bridges acquisition strengthens our footprint and allows us to more effectively service our RV and outdoor customer base.”

Camping World Holdings, Inc. is headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois. According to the announcement, together with its subsidiaries, Camping World is America’s largest retailer of RVs and related products and services. There are over 185 locations in 40 states.

The Sun Times News has reached out to Lloyd Bridges owner Jerry Bridges for comment and will soon update this story.

Going back to the early 1970s, Lloyd Bridges Traveland has stood as a success story in local businesses. It’s location on south Main Street has long been a recognizable building for those heading to and from I-94.

Here’s part of the company’s history as found on its website:

“Lloyd Bridges Traveland picked up speed in the late 60’s when the Dodge Motorhome became the Travco Motorhome, designed by Ray Frank, a molded fiberglass body 27 feet long powered by a Dodge 318 v8 engine. Travco’s were considered the most luxurious motor home of the times and sold for $13,000. Ray Frank also designed the Explorer motor home which our father sold. This was a 21′ aero dynamic fiberglass, self contained motor home built on a 1 ton Dodge van. It was designed to sleep up to 4 people and sold for $6,900. Our father also sold Champion Motorhomes that sold for $6,599. In 1969, our father was one of the top 10 Dodge truck dealers in the United States and the number 1 Travco and Champion Motorhome dealer in the U.S. In 1972, we moved our operation from Walled Lake to our current location in Chelsea, Michigan where we developed a Chevrolet franchise and continued to sell motor homes and trailers.”

Lloyd Bridges now has two locations in the Chelsea community.

In its announcement, Camping World described some of its plans this way: “The East facility is located at 12721 E Old US Hwy 12, while the West facility is located at 1603 S Main Street, and they both will transition to the Camping World brand and be the Company’s eighth and ninth locations in the state of Michigan with more planned. The SuperCenters will include a wide range of new and used RVs from top manufacturers in addition to a full assortment of RV and outdoor products and accessories.”

Camping World, and its sister company, Gander RV, bill themselves as “prime destinations for everything RV.”

Here’s some of its description in the announcement: “Our vision is to build a long-term legacy business that makes RVing fun and easy, and our Camping World and Good Sam brands have been serving RV consumers since 1966. We strive to build long-term value for our customers, employees, and shareholders by combining a unique and comprehensive assortment of RV products and services with a national network of RV dealerships, service centers and customer support centers along with the industry’s most extensive online presence and a highly trained and knowledgeable team of associates serving our customers, the RV lifestyle, and the communities in which we operate. We also believe that our Good Sam organization and family of programs and services uniquely enables us to connect with our customers as stewards of the RV enthusiast community and the RV lifestyle.”

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