Duck Donuts chain sold to private equity firm with big plans for expansion


RADNER, Pa. (WNCT) — Duck Donuts, the popular doughnut chain that got its start on the Outer Banks, was sold to a private equity firm in Pennsylvania with big plans for expansion on the horizon.

An affiliate of NewSpring Capital, a private equity firm based in Radner, Pa., announced the purchase on Wednesday. A partnership with Charlotte-based Free Fenix was announced with plans “to further accelerate growth.” The franchise currently has 101 stores based in 21 states, primarily on the East Coast.

Across Hampton Roads, there are locations in Chesapeake, Suffolk, Williamsburg, Norfolk and several in Virginia Beach. The Outer Banks locations include Avon, Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and of course Duck.

Kristin Kellum, a representative for Duck Donuts, told 10 On Your side all the local Duck Donuts franchises will remain locally owned and operated.

The sale gives NewSpring Capital majority stake in the company now, she explained, but there are no plans for corporate owned stores at this point.

The franchise got its start in 2007 in Duck, N.C. It began to franchise in 2013. The headquarters and corporate store are in Mechanicsburg, Pa., where founder Russ DiGilio lives.

“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,” said DiGilio. “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.”

NewSpring Capital said in a press release that DiGilio, who is a significant owner, also stepped down as CEO and named Betsy Hamm, formerly COO, to the role. Hamm will be in charge of building and proetcting the brand, officials said.

“At NewSpring Franchise, we seek out multi-unit brands with a loyal customer base and a fast-growing geographic footprint,” said Patrick Sugrue, NewSpring General Partner. “Duck Donuts perfectly fits that model.

“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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