Long years touring trade shows fold out into sales
October 2, 2006
Kamp-Rite Tent Cot Inc. comes from Lovelock to the Silver & Gold Venture Capital Conference in Reno this week, seeking expansion funds. The company sells the Kamp-Rite Original Tent Cot. As its name implies, it’s a fold out cot topped with a tent.
“We’re the only ones making this product right now,” says Bill Ferrari, the company’s president. “There are so many applications we haven’t even touched yet.”
One possibility: Disaster relief efforts. The tent-cot was used after Hurricane Katrina.
Now Ferrari hopes to attract sufficient capital to increase inventory another 25 to 30 percent. That would satisfy retail orders. Sales are currently $3.5 million a year, but Ferrari’s five-year goal is to exceed $20 million in sales and take the company public.
The product is sold through retail outlets such as Sportsman’s Warehouse, Bass Pro and Big 5 Sporting Goods. It’s also sold online. And, the U.S. military is a big customer. Sales are split about 60 percent retail and 40 percent military, says Ferrari, who declined to state how many units were produced each year.
Manufacturing is done in China, but a staff of five handles distribution from Lovelock. Ferrari, who’s from California, chose Lovelock because its location on Interstate 80 lets him tap into a transportation system that connects central Nevada’s mining industry to the Port of Oakland. And, he says, because rents there are reasonable.
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Kamp-Rite occupies a 12,000-square-foot warehouse on an acre plus in downtown Lovelock. It opened a second location in Australia three months ago.
The tent-cot comes in single or double-wide. The single model is seven feet long, has insect screening, weighs 18 pounds and supports up to 300 pounds. It even converts into a lounge chair. Prices range from $129 to $219, depending on size.
The tent cot inventor, Gerold Howard, created the pop-up product about 15 years ago but never took it to market, says Ferrari. So he picked up the idea, made some changes and was off to the races.
It took five years and a lot of effort, plus a lot of capital, to launch the business, Ferrari says. Plus long years touring the trade show circuit. He found private investors to augment his own funds in capitalizing the venture.