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LSI: Wisconsin Park Financially Sound

August 8, 2008 by   - () Leave a Comment

The financial difficulties befalling the Three Bears Resort in Warrens, Wis., are overshadowing the ongoing success of the adjacent Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort.
Both properties are owned by Van Der Molen Recreational Properties Inc., which announced last week that the Three Bears Resort, which includes a 93-room hotel and conference center, indoor and outdoor waterparks and skate park, may close as soon as Sept. 29 unless it is sold, with the loss of about 244 jobs.
While the resort is experiencing financial difficulties, “the campground is financially sound,” said Rob Schutter Jr., president and COO of Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), franchisor for the Jellystone Park chain.
The 740-site campground is one of the largest in the LSI chain and is its largest revenue producer, Schutter told Woodall’s Campground Management.
Income at the campground is down slightly this year, Schutter revealed, “but nothing you would not expect” given what occurred earlier this summer. In June, floodwaters closed major interstates in Wisconsin and many campground reservations were canceled.
Schutter said the problem surrounding the Three Bears Resort is an isolated example. “The other parks in the system, for the most part, are having a very good year,” he said.
In a press release issued last week, company President Edward Van Der Molen said his firm is actively seeking a buyer or buyers for the property. “The process of selling the resort has been under way for several weeks, and we have a number of interested parties in various stages of fact-finding about the possibility of closing a sale or partnership agreement,” Van Der Molen said.
“Some potential buyers are interested in the Jellystone Park campground only, some are interested in the hotel only, and some parties are interested in controlling the entire resort property,” he said.
“The continuing rise in gas and oil prices and their subsequent effect on the transportation and travel plans of Americans has affected our business like many other businesses,” Van Der Molen said in the press release. “It has not been possible to keep growing the resort at its projected rates during the current difficult economic conditions many of our guests find themselves in.”
Schutter said he has not spoken with Van Der Molen about his situation but he did assist by putting individuals in contact with him who might be interested in buying all or part of the facilities.
Van Der Molen did not return calls to Woodall’s Campground Management for comment on this story.

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