Duck Donuts sold to private equity firm

Photo courtesy Duck Donuts

Duck Donuts and its franchises have been acquired by private equity firm NewSpring.

Free Fenix, a Charlotte-based hybrid investment company, partnered with NewSpring on the deal, “providing a significant investment to further accelerate growth,” the company said in a news release.

Duck Donuts started out on the Outer Banks, founded by Russell A. DiGilio, whose family had vacationed here for years. In 2006, the first store opened in Duck, and soon became a staple for beach-goers.

Shops in Kitty Hawk, Corrolla, Kill Devil Hills, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach and Northern Virginia followed, with the company franchising in 2013. Today, Duck Donuts operates one international and 101 U.S. franchise locations across 21 states.

“Duck Donuts could not be more excited to partner with the NewSpring team, who offer a wealth of knowledge and experience that will elevate our brand to the next level,” DiGilio said in a statement. “The past 14 years have been an amazing journey and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the dedication, passion, and trust of our franchisees and corporate team members. I look forward to watching the brand continue to evolve and build on the success we have already achieved in such a short period.”

In conjunction with the deal, DiGilio remains a significant owner but has stepped down as CEO. Betsy Hamm, formerly chief operating officer, will take on the role, focusing on building and protecting the franchise brand while driving company growth and profitability, the release said.

“At NewSpring Franchise, we seek out multi-unit brands with a loyal customer base and a fast-growing geographic footprint, said Duck Donuts perfectly fits that model,” said Patrick Sugrue, NewSpring General Partner. “Duck Donuts is differentiated by its customer experience and CEO Betsy Hamm has done a tremendous job expanding the company’s presence in communities across the country to position the company for future growth into new markets. We are thrilled to partner with Betsy and her team to take Duck Donuts to the next level.”

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