They’re coming out of the woodwork

The institutional money investors are falling all over themselves in their rush to jump into the RV park and campground business. Some, apparently, need to do their homework better.

We (my wife and I) recently received a letter from Sam Salamone of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, expressing his desire to buy our campground. The letter acknowledged that we probably “get a fair amount of ‘spam’ letters from other people,” which is why Sam “took the time to hand address and sign this letter personally.” He then went on to assure us that “I’ve actually taken the time to research your park and area already,” and that he is “certain that we can offer you a fair price, with the cleanest terms, and schedule the closing according to your needs.” Since we closed on the sale of our campground just about seven months ago, that seems unlikely.

The letter did, however, close with three (!) requests that I call Sam when I “get the chance,” so in a spirit of RV park collegiality I did. Twice. Each time my call went to voice mail, and each time it did not get returned.

While awaiting the return call that never came, I “actually” took the time to research Sam. There isn’t much to find. Sam is the owner of The Salamone Group, LLC, which has been around all of five months and so doesn’t have much to say for itself. He also is head of the “acquisitions department” of Millennium Assets Group, also of Mt. Juliet, which is one of those vaguely cutting-edge names loaded with undefined promise–not to be confused with the multi-billion-dollar Millennium Management hedge fund, or the (misspelled) Millenium Asset Group of Denver. Unfortunately, Sam Salamone’s lack of attention to detail extends to his own name, which apparently he has not noticed is misspelled as Salmone on the group’s web site.

(Then again, the site also describes the “Trasaction Size” of its deals in headline type on its home page, so it’s probably not fair to single out Sam from the rest of the brain trust.)

While Millennium Assets Group presents itself as focused on apartment and mobile home park acquisitions, RV parks seem to be an afterthought ginned up by the recent explosion in campground sales–but only if they can be run more like trailer courts. Sam’s letter disclosed that he had “just closed” on a park in Alabama and was preparing to close on a second, in Tennessee. The Alabama acquisition, however, is little more than a glorified parking lot and is not accepting short-term stays.

No telling yet how the Tennessee campground will be run, but it seems reasonable to expect more of the same.

Author: Andy Zipser

A former newspaper reporter who worked at a variety of newspapers, from small community weeklies to The Wall Street Journal, I finished my "normal" work life as the editor of The Guild Reporter, official publication of the union representing newspaper workers. On retiring, I and my wife bought a campground in the Shenandoah Valley and--with the help of our two daughters and their husbands--operated it for eight years, first as a KOA franchisee and then as an independent family-owned RV park. We sold the campground in May, 2021, and live in Staunton, Virginia, a short walk from our grandsons' home.

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