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With The Westchester Bank Behind Them, White Plains Business Ramps Up Camps

Published 10/05/2015

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. ­­ Over the past six years, White Plains­based CampGroup has added several facilities to its portfolio, which now numbers 16. More could be on the way over the next few years, with The Westchester Bank playing a large role in the the business’ expansion.

Andrew Benerofe, Chairman of the Board of CampGroup LLC, said The Westchester Bank has worked with his business as it continues to grow, and the Bank’s superior service has been incomparable.

“I can call (President and CEO) John Tolomer any time, 24/7,’’ Benerofe said. “And he returns the call. It doesn’t matter if it’s Saturday, Sundays or holidays. He’s very accessible. When you’re talking to the head guy, you don’t get pushed around. It’s quite convenient and quite good for our business.”

Most of CampGroup’s facilities are in New England. Four are in Michigan, and Benerofe said he expects to add a location in Long Island soon. The youngest camp in the group is 65 years old. Others have been around for more than 100 years.

A father­and­son team of Dan and Bruce Zenkel started purchasing camps in 1998 as an investment opportunity. Benerofe, friends of the Zenkels, became an investor and board member. The Zenkels are no longer involved in the board or daily operations of the camp. Benerofe’s son, Mark, a former teacher and basketball coach in New York City, is now the CEO of Camp Group.

Andrew Benerofe, who is the President at Benerofe Properties Corp. in White Plains, said he had a previous business relationship with Tolomer. When Tolomer came to lead The Westchester Bank in 2009, he quickly moved to work with him again for CampGroup.

“We had developed quite a strong relationship,’’ Benerofe said. “It was a natural for us to go work with The Westchester Bank.”

CampGroup runs a wide range of camps. Camp Akeela, in Vermont, is described on its website as a “co­ed, overnight camp where quirky kids thrive.” Camp Winadu is a boys sports camp in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Camp Wicosuta is a high­energy girls overnight camp in New Hampshire. Greenwood Camp for Boys is in Michigan, offers more than 40 water and land activities and is located midway between Detroit and Chicago.

“The stated mission of CampGroup is to 'enrich children’s lives' and that’s what we focus on doing,’’ Benerofe said. “Camps are an important component in forming the character of the child.”

Benerofe plans to continue to grow the company. He can do so with confidence, knowing The Westchester Bank stands behind them. “It makes a big difference when you have a bank that believes in what you’re doing,’’ he said.