The Coloma/St. Joseph KOA Holiday, a renowned name in Michigan’s outdoor hospitality sector, is celebrating a significant milestone – 50 years of service.
As per a report, this landmark anniversary is not just a reflection of the campground’s longevity but also underscores its evolution and contribution to the industry.
Established in 1974, the Coloma/St. Joseph KOA was among the first franchisees of Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA), now the world’s largest network of privately-owned campgrounds.
The site, originally a blueberry field in Hagar Township, has grown into one of KOA’s best-performing locations, showcasing the potential for transformation in the campground industry.
The current owners, Mark and Karla Lemoine, who took over in 2016, are the second owners of this family-operated business.
Their tenure has been marked by significant capital improvements and service expansions, turning the campground into a sought-after destination in Michigan’s Great Southwest. This transformation is a testament to the evolving demands of the outdoor hospitality market and the need for continuous investment and innovation.
To commemorate their golden jubilee, the Lemoines have announced a charity initiative, pledging to donate 50 cents for every guest night in the 2024 season to the Care Camps Foundation.
This foundation supports medically supervised camps for children with cancer, reflecting the campground’s commitment to social responsibility. Additionally, a special event is planned for August 2-4, 2024, inviting local dignitaries and community members to join the celebration.
According to Karla Lemoine, they are honored to positively impact the local community and help people unplug from their daily lives.
“This passion to serve others has also resulted in blessing us with a growing, small business, so we also feel a strong desire to give back to others. One of the ways in which we do that is by supporting Care Camps,” she added.
The Lemoines’ approach to employment also offers insights for the industry. Since 2016, they have provided seasonal employment to a diverse workforce, including students, retirees, and Workkamping couples. In 2022, they moved to full-time, year-round management, serving an average of 15,000 guests annually. This employment strategy not only supports the local economy but also ensures a high level of guest service, a key factor in the success of any outdoor hospitality business.
The extensive reinvestment into the campground is a blueprint for others in the industry. The Lemoines have upgraded the General Store, Café, restrooms, Club House, and manager’s residence. They’ve also added deluxe patio RV sites, Glamping tents, deluxe cabins, and an expanded pool deck, along with updated plumbing, electric, and HVAC systems. Such investments are critical in meeting the evolving expectations of guests and maintaining a competitive edge.
Looking forward, the Coloma/St. Joseph KOA is set to introduce high-speed broadband Internet and renovate 22 sites to increase the number of full hook-up, deluxe patio sites. These upgrades, catering to the modern camper’s needs, demonstrate the importance of adapting to technological advancements and guest preferences in the outdoor hospitality industry.
The Coloma/St. Joseph KOA, operated by Fifth Level Hospitality, Inc., offers a range of camping options and amenities, positioning it as a leading destination in southwest Michigan. Its evolution over 50 years serves as an inspiring model for campground and outdoor hospitality operators, emphasizing the importance of adaptation, community engagement, and continual improvement in this dynamic industry.
Featured image from Coloma / St. Joseph KOA Holiday.