San Diego KOA Celebrate 50-Years in Outdoor Hospitality Business
Third-generation Kampgrounds Enterprises, Inc Capitalizes on Outdoor Industry Trends with New Purchases and Development as America Goes Camping
San Diego KOA Celebrates 50 Years with $3 Million Pool Complex
SAN DIEGO – As Kampgrounds Enterprises, Inc. (KEI) turns 50, the third-generation family-owned business is poised to continue its growth in the booming outdoor hospitality and camping industry.
At its flagship San Diego KOA campground resort, KEI marks its anniversary year with the completion of a new $3 million Resort Pool complex. This project caps off several rounds of recent development projects at all of KEI’s campground properties, ranging from creating big rig friendly campsites and wider roads to adding deluxe cabins, tipis, and Eco Tents.
The 50th celebration prompted a proclamation from County Supervisor Cox that recognized August 10th as San Diego KOA Day throughout San Diego County.
From the original San Diego campground founded 1968, KEI has expanded and now owns and operates six Kampgrounds of America, Inc., (KOA)-affiliated campgrounds, including Grand Canyon KOA, Flagstaff KOA, St. Louis West KOA, Williams/Circle Pines KOA and Palm Springs/Joshua Tree KOA.
In addition, the company has added services in management consulting, project development, RV storage and U.S. distribution and sales of glamping-style Eco Tents from Eco-Structures Australia.
Since the third generation family members joined the company in active leadership roles in 2007, revenue has nearly tripled, rising from $3.5 million to a forecasted $12 million in 2018. With $50 million in actively managed assets, KEI seeks new opportunities in purchases, management and development opportunities
Citing a thriving camping and outdoor hospitality industry, KEI president Mike Bell expects the company’s growth to continue.
“In today’s fast-paced, plugged-in world, we see that our guests turn to camping as a way to spend quality time with family and friends, to de-stress, to enjoy the outdoors and to make memories,” Bell said. “More than 77 million North American households are camping households, according to a KOA study. That includes six million new households since 2014.”
“We expect those trends to continue, and we are actively seeking more outdoor hospitality purchases, management and development opportunities.”
KEI was founded in 1968 by Ted and Carol Bell in Chula Vista, Ca., just south of downtown San Diego. Ted built the campground on days off from his job working as a detective for the Chula Vista Police Department. Their son, Mike Bell worked at the campground from the age of 13 and joined the company full-time after college with his wife Rowena. Mike’s sons Josh and Clint and daughter Molly were raised working at the campground and all now serve in executive roles in the family business.