The former Jonestown KOA campground, a staple in Swatara Township, embarks on a new chapter under the ownership of James Townsley and his family.
The Townsleys, a Lancaster County-based contractor family, acquired the campground for $2.3 million in October, according to Lebanon County property records, a LebTown report highlighted.
This purchase represents a significant shift in the trend of campground acquisitions, contrasting with the national movement towards private equity-driven consolidation. Notably, the Jonestown KOA was sold last year to a private equity holding company for just over $3.5 million, highlighting this trend.
The Townsley family’s journey in the outdoor hospitality sector began with investments in mobile home parks. Their experience includes owning and recently selling a mobile home park in Tennessee, followed by their venture into campground operations with the acquisition of Deer Run Camp Resort in Carlisle. This site boasts a range of amenities, including a dog park, fishing pond, ball courts, pools, a playground, and disc golf.
Renamed Cozy Corner, the Jonestown campground is poised for significant enhancements under the Townsleys’ stewardship. James Townsley, overseeing the operations, plans to upgrade the existing frisbee golf area and replace the pool liner during the off-season. The family aims to elevate the campground to resort status.
The Townsley family’s approach to managing the campground is a collaborative effort. James Townsley, along with his father and brothers, is actively involved in the site’s cleanup and preparation for the upcoming season. This hands-on management style is already receiving positive feedback from customers.
Townsley acknowledges the differences and challenges presented by the Jonestown site compared to Deer Run. However, he is determined to “flip the script” on its operations, focusing primarily on cleanup and creating an inviting atmosphere for guests.
His vision extends beyond mere management. Townsley enjoys the role of a host on a larger scale, relishing the opportunity to meet and interact with people from various backgrounds.
The sense of community among campground operators is strong, as Townsley points out. He emphasizes the collaborative nature of the industry, where campgrounds often recommend each other when they reach full capacity. This practice not only fosters a sense of camaraderie but also ensures guests always have a place to stay.
Townsley’s involvement in the annual PA Camping Association conference further demonstrates his commitment to the industry. His participation allows him to stay abreast of industry trends and network with fellow operators, contributing to a collective effort to enhance the camping experience across Pennsylvania.