Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis: The hardest thing about taking a company public

Marcus Lemonis takes Camping World public

Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World Holdings, took the company public on Friday in an initial public offering that raised $251 million.

The recreational vehicle dealership offered 11.4 million shares at about $23 each on Friday, an exciting day for Lemonis who himself owns 38 million shares and retains majority control of the company.

For the serial entrepreneur who invests in and consults for many businesses on CNBC's "The Profit," taking his own company public was a decision that brought up a lot of difficult questions.

In fact, one year ago, Lemonis told CNBC that he preferred not to take his companies public.

"I think the fundamental challenge that a business has to really face when it's thinking about going public or not is: Are you going to change the way you think about the business, and your philosophy?" Lemonis said.

"And are you going to change the way you run the business?"

Those questions were the same ones he faced numerous times on the bank roadshow before the IPO.

Are you going to change the way you think about the business?
Marcus Lemonis
chairman and CEO of Camping World

"I notice that when I went on the roadshow, there were a lot of questions," Lemonis said. "Will you change this, and will you change that?"

"My answer was, you know, 'No I won't change it.'"

The CEO says he does not plan on selling his shares and plans to use the $251 million in capital raised to pay down long-term company debt.

Marcus Lemonis
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

The entrepreneur says he wants to continue prioritizing the experience of his employees and his customers. He also does not want to change the philosophies that guide Camping World.

"The philosophy of the business and the results of the business are really tied together," he said.

"If you change the philosophy, you change the way you think about earnings or you change the way you think about revenue, by definition, the results have a high likelihood of changing," said Lemonis. "I'm not willing to take that chance."

His overarching theme on going public: If something is working, stick with it.

CNBC'S "The Profit" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT.

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