Companies

Case Study:

Grand Design RV

“I’ve had the great fortune to build two businesses with Summit, and their market insight into the recreational vehicle sector helped open new growth opportunities. They’ve been an accessible, active partner in growth, while always managing to give us the trust and freedom to run our business.”

Don Clark Grand Design RV

Don Clark, Co-Founder and CEO

Location:
Middlebury, Indiana
Leadership:

Don Clark
Bill Fenech
Ron Fenech

Founded in:
2012
invested in:
2014
Status:

Acquired by Winnebago Industries 2016

Summit Team:
Jay D. Pauley
Case Study:

Grand Design RV

Manufacturer of towable recreation vehicles

More than tripled EBITDA within two years of Summit’s investment

Grew headcount to more than 800 employees

Acquired by Winnebago for approximately $500 million in 2016

Don Clark, Bill Fenech and Ron Fenech founded Grand Design RV in 2012 to introduce innovation in the recreational vehicle market, offering high-quality, feature-packed towable fifth wheel RVs with an intense focus on customer and dealer satisfaction. The trio had been part of the ownership team of Summit portfolio company Keystone RV, which was acquired by Thor Industries in 2001. Leveraging their combined 50+ years of experience in the RV industry, the founders built Grand Design from the ground up and were seeing tremendous growth with a unique business model that enabled industry-leading quality and the agility to quickly respond to fast-changing customer preferences. Seeking a trusted partner to support this rapid growth and the company’s expansion plans, Don, Ron and Bill chose to work with Summit.

How Summit helped:

  • Provided a growth equity investment in 2014
  • Collaborated closely with management to evaluate new product lines, expand into the multi-billion dollar travel trailer market segment and launch new manufacturing facilities
  • Helped establish a board of directors and formalize corporate governance
  • Led negotiations with strategic acquirer Winnebago Industries, providing significant support in managing the process and structuring the transaction

Grand Design became one of the fastest-growing RV manufacturers in the history of the RV industry, shipping more than 25,000 units within four years. In 2016, Winnebago Industries (NYSE: WGO) acquired Grand Design to accelerate its expansion into the towables business. Today, Grand Design operates as a distinct business unit within Winnebago led by Don Clark, and the company continues its commitment to customer service and product innovation through its portfolio of well-known, premium fifth wheel and travel trailer brands.

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