An upstart destination club founded by Jason Bindra, a former High Country Club member, Paragon Destinations seeks to be financially everything that Bindra's former club was not.
In August and September of 2008, Bindra and other High Country Club members began to sense trouble at the industry's leading value club. "A lot of things were hidden from members and some of the things we were led to believe were factually inaccurate," said Bindra. "I had a fair idea of what prospective members want in a destination club and that translated to a business plan. Once High Country Club filed for Chapter 7, we could step in to fill the void."
Bindra's intuition proved accurate as High Country Club's President and CEO Christian Kirschner was forced to change the club's business model. "The economy has and continues to negatively affect the prospects for High Country Club and the way we are able to operate," wrote Kirschner. "Since the beginning of 2008, we have seen our ability to raise capital become increasingly difficult, our investor sources have not come through, the ability to obtain credit is not available and consumer confidence is deteriorated."
High Country Club's attempt at a merger fell through and the club introduced various plans that sought to move the club to a sustainable model that could survive with no new sales. The club drastically reduced its staff and began the process to liquidate properties, but ultimately were unable to survive the storm. In January of 2009, High Country Club filed for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy and the near 400 members were left without a club and a bleak chance at ever getting any of their membership deposit returned to them.
With the errors made at High Country Club at the forefront of the new club's vision, Paragon launched with a focus on financial transparency. The club will provide financial results annually in addition to disclosing salaries of executives and quarterly financial updates of outstanding debt obligations, membership counts, and current levels of both equity and debt. "From the club standpoint, Paragon will be quite different from High Country Club. We see several things wrong with the destination club industry. New members are looking at clubs in a different eye than old members. They want security of deposit and more disclosure around how it is being spent."
Knowing that members would be averse to putting down another sizable membership deposit to join a new club so soon after losing their money at High Country Club, Paragon launched with a leasing strategy that would not require a membership deposit to join. The original portfolio of homes are leased with costs being covered by annual dues. As the club approaches about fifteen properties, the club will transition and begin to start charging a membership deposit to join and subsequently begin financing properties that the club will own. Ultimately, the club plans to purchase properties debt-free.
Paragon Destination is still evaluating interest in their Founders offering which will determine the size of their launch portfolio of properties.
To learn more about Paragon Destinations, please visit any of the club's quick links found to the right or request a free copy of our Destination Club Guide.
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