Duck Donuts acquired by Radnor-based private equity firm, announces new CEO

The lobby of one of Duck Donuts’ over 100 franchises across the country. PHOTO PROVIDED.

Mechanicsburg donut franchise Duck Donuts has been acquired by a Radnor-based private equity firm in a move that the local franchise says will provide the resources it needs to accelerate its growth to more markets.

Duck Donuts and NewSpring Franchise, a private equity firm focused on investing in franchise and multi-unit concepts, announced on Tuesday that NewSpring acquired Duck Donuts for an undisclosed sum.

As part of the transition, Russ DiGilio, founder and original CEO of Duck Donuts, announced he will be stepping down from his position and Betsy Hamm, the company’s former chief operating officer, will be taking over the role.

Duck Donuts opened its first locations in Duck and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The company became a franchise in 2013 and has since grown to over 100 locations open across the country and one in Dubai.

By the end of this year, the company expects to open an additional 30 locations. By 2022, it plans to increase the number of stores it opens annually to 50.

In its eight years as a franchise, Duck Donuts has primarily reached franchisees organically, something that it hopes to improve upon as it looks to see further expansion in the Midwest and West, said DiGilio.

“People had an experience at one of our locations, they approached us and if we thought their location would be well served we would work with them,” he said. “About a year and a half ago, it dawned on me that if we were going to accomplish our goals to really expand our brand in a more robust way, we couldn’t do what we did on the east coast in the Midwest and the West if we allowed it to grow organically.”

Betsy Hamm, the new CEO of Duck Donuts. PHOTO PROVIDED.

Along with the resources to grow into more markets, the acquisition allows Duck Donuts to tap into NewSpring’s knowledge and experience. The team at Duck Donuts is fairly new at the franchise business and will need the assistance as it grows into new markets and looks for new opportunities in markets it already operates in, according to DiGilio.

DiGilio will continue as a significant owner of the company. He said that the company is in great hands with Hamm at the helm. Hamm has been with the company for nearly five years.

The acquisition comes at a great time for the company, which recently hit the 100 franchise milestone, which only 16% of franchises hit, according to Hamm. She said that the coming months will see Duck Donuts not only expand into more markets, but also look at backfilling markets it’s in already and open locales in non-traditional locations like amusement parks and theaters.

Duck Donuts is the second of five franchises being purchased by NewSpring Franchise. The firm looks for brands with a loyal customer base and a fast-growing geographic footprint and Duck Donuts was a perfect fit, said Patrick Sugrue, NewSpring General Partner.

“Duck 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,” he said. “We are thrilled to partner with Betsy and her team to take Duck Donuts to the next level.”