Duck Donuts Provided

Duck Donuts has been sold to private equity firm NewSpring but the company's local franchises will remain with their current owners.

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 of North Carolina, founded by Russell A. DiGilio, whose family had vacationed there 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. There are several Northern Virginia locations, including Arlington, Herndon, Bristow and Woodbridge.

While franchisees retain ownership of their respective shops, NewSpring will oversee company-wide franchise operations.

"The impact to the local donut shops is minimal at this point," said Larry Scherer, co-owner of two Duck Donuts stores in Northern Virginia. "I think we'll see good things come out of this. We'll see better marketing plans, more focus on growing the brand nationally. But from a local store operations perspective,
the core product, our donuts, are not going to change."
Former CEO Russ DiGilio said the company wouldn't be where it is today without the "dedication, passion, and trust of our franchisees and corporate team members."
“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. 

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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