Six North Shore resort properties are now under new management due to an investment sale announced Tuesday.
Ownership of Odyssey Resorts and Development will change hands to a group of Minnesota-based private investors led by Blackburn Investment Management, a private investment firm, and Madison Hospitality Group, a resort management company.
Odyssey's North Shore resort and vacation home properties include Beacon Pointe in Duluth; Larsmont Cottages, Breezy Point Cabins on Minnesota Highway 61; Grand Superior Lodge in Two Harbors; Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen; and East Bay Suites in Grand Marais.
Odyssey was founded in 1997 by CEO Robert Ryan and expanded its operations to include over 300 team members.
"I'm very happy for the successful sale," Ryan told the News-Chronicle on Wednesday. "It was not my initial intention to sell all of the properties at once, but felt like it was a good option with a good buying group that would keep the company together."
Blackburn and MHG were initially looking into acquiring one of the resort properties, Caribou Highlands Lodge. Ryan has owned Caribou Highlands with his older brother, who he said wanted to sell the property and step back from the business. Conversations with Blackburn and MHG led to the decision to sell the entire portfolio.
"We invest in a variety of businesses that we see potential in, and Odyssey definitely stuck out to us in this respect," Blackburn CEO T.J. McMillan said in a press release. "Our core focus is to continuously improve the customer experience, thus increasing the value that Odyssey provides to its current and future guests."
The details of the sale were not disclosed, but Ryan said the sale in a single transaction allows the team to maintain and improve service by keeping the same staff.
"By selling the properties, the main office and real estate office at once, every single employee was also hired by the entity," Ryan said. "That was very important for me as I want to see the resorts' culture and atmosphere to continue on with the same staff running the resorts."
Ryan will also continue to partner with the company during the transition period.