Rayjus Outdoors in Morris invited Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis into its shop to help it turn its business around for Tuesday night’s episode of “The Profit.”
What Lemonis found is a business with issues and one co-owner who said he plays a racist persona on a local radio station.
“On the radio, this is not me, I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio,” co-owner Ray Odom said in a promo for the episode, set to air at
9 p.m. Tuesday on CNBC.
“I’m going to say what every other man wants to say, that doesn’t have the (expletive) to do it.”
Odom’s persona “Crazy Ray” hosts an evening show on 100.7 WRXQ-FM Coal City, an Alpha Media station that is a sister station to Joliet’s 1340-AM WJOL.
As for the other Rayjus co-owner, Justin Romines, he made it clear he isn’t racist.
“I don’t like sexist or racist things,” Romines said during the episode. “Absolutely not.”
Promos for the episode highlight business issues at Rayjus, located at 1302 Spruce St. in Morris, including worker conditions it compared to a sweatshop and the owners’ regular Friday fishing trips instead of work.
“The company’s on life-support, and I know that,” Romines said on one of the show’s previews. “I’ve known it for several months, several years.”
“I see the numbers, and they suck,” Odom said in the preview.
The name Rayjus is an amalgam of the first names of its owners.
In an interview with The Herald-News on Monday, Odom said he and Romines began talking to the show’s organizers in June, and Lemonis and his crew came to the business in September or October to film and interview.
On a whim, Odom had filled out a form requesting to be on the show last year, knowing, he said, that Lemonis headed Camping World, and Rayjus also is a business that caters to outdoor enthusiasts.
“He’s kind of plugged into the outdoors world,” Odom said.
And Rayjus wasn’t pulling in as much as the owners had hoped it would.
Although sales were good in the busy season, January through June, the numbers went down significantly in the off season.
Rayjus’ staff said on the previews that a couple of payroll checks had bounced.
Rayjus Outdoors manufactures customized athletic jerseys, sun shirts, T-shirts, hats, neck gaiters and other apparel. They also produce banners, flags, lamb blankets, towels and tablecloths, all to the particular specifications of the customer.
Odom admitted the owners go fishing now and then. He may go on two fishing tournament circuits a month, and Romines might go on one. But he hasn’t taken a vacation in three years, Odom said.
“He did give us some free advice,” Odom said. “He has helped us look at things differently. ... We’ve streamlined how we do some production.”
Odom said the business also has hired a local accountant to help them with their books.
“We’ve had to learn as we grew,” he said. “I’m a disc jockey at the start, and Justin was IT.”
Odom said he actually was glad to hear staff pipe up with complaints.
“We can’t fix problems unless we know about the problems,” he said.
“The facility is literally a sweatshop, the employees are up in arms, and one of the owners has a troubling side gig,” promo text for the episode read. “If Marcus can’t get these unfocused owners to make some radical changes to their culture, their company will capsize.”
“If they don’t make a deal with [Lemonis], we’ll all be looking for jobs,” an employee said during a promo video for the episode.
Odom said air conditioning is already in the budget for this year.
“The business right now is thriving,” he said. “We’ve gone through some changes, and we’re moving forward.”
Sales are more than $1 million a year, the pair said in July. In one show promo, Lemonis reveals the company also makes jockstraps, lamb coats and goat leg warmers.