For 40 years, Cloud 9 Ranch Club, Inc. has been celebrating the beauty, excitement and fun of the Ozark mountains of Southern Missouri. The ranch covers over 6,300 acres of natural resources and feels like a cross between a small town and a resort community. It is a not-for-profit family camping resort once owned by a group of investors which transitioned to a member-owned corporation during a re-organization in 1998.
For the next ten years the ranch waivered between great successes and heartbreaking lows. In 2009, during a period of turnover in management, poor employee morale, and owner discontent, Gene Muenks was elected President of the corporation’s governing Board of Directors. Gene recognized the need for outside assistance to bring the ranch back to what it had once been and through a member forum learned about SCORE.
Together a team of 3 SCORE mentors and several members of the management and Boards of Directors of Cloud 9 worked tirelessly to bring a glorious place to explore, seek adventure and relax back to the beautiful Ozarks.
SCORE has an ongoing relationship with the Cloud 9 Ranch leadership and continues to offer advice in corporate financial issues and ways to improve its infrastructure and employee–managerial relations.
General Manager Coy Jackson, reflected on SCORE’s impact on the organization saying, “I would recommend any size business and anyone planning a business to have SCORE as a part of the operation and use them on a regular basis.”
This family camping resort includes a restaurant, convenience store, laundry services, gas station, stables, horseback riding, cattle, ATV trails, rentals for its owners and guests, and 6 full service hook-up RV campgrounds.
Through renewed marketing efforts the ranch has helped to ride the wave of seasonality by promoting activities like deer hunting and special events, to increase revenues during typically off-season months.
In 2011, the ranch increased yearly revenue by select cutting trees in a logging program. The process of select cutting allowed them to preserve the natural beauty of the park and still take advantage of thinning the trees that were already dead or dying. With proper forestry instruction, the trees were harvested before they lost complete value.
Although Cloud 9 Ranch’s progress is ongoing and they still sometimes meet with occasional cash flow issues, under the skilled leadership of general manager Coy Jackson and with continued guidance from SCORE, the ranch has changed the way business is being handled in the day-to-day operations – for the better.
As with many small businesses stuck in a rut, the marketing efforts of Cloud 9 had hit a slump. SCORE mentors sought to correct this and grow revenues by adding a position of “Events Coordinator and Marketing Director” to the staff. A creative marketing plan was devised to promote the ranch with minimal costs through a full event program.
The program proved to be extremely successful and resulted in nearly 400 new memberships in 2011, compared to just 4 new memberships the prior year.
In 2010, the SCORE team also aided extensively with the search for a new General Manager for the ranch. This new appointment was critical in overseeing many of the other positive changes SCORE assisted with within the organization including implementing a better cost accounting system, re-evaluating the ranch’s fee structure and developing an employee flow chart. Through a rigorous search process, Cloud 9 hired Coy Jackson as General Manager and it has turned out to be a perfect fit. For the last 3 years, Coy has enacted continuous improvements to the ranch's operations.