Treetops Resort

Borrower Story: Treetops Resort

Treetops Resort is one of the greatest year-round vacation destinations in the U.S. Nestled near the far-north convergence of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, the resort features natural surroundings that are second to none.

In the winter, visitors enjoy the resort’s 23 scenic ski slopes. And in the summer, Treetops’ 81 holes of championship golf (including North America’s #1 par 3 course, Threetops) challenge amateurs and professionals alike.

Amenities such as heated pools, corporate meeting rooms, a full-service spa and salon, bike trails, and more, make this 2,100-acre Gaylord, Michigan resort appealing to guests of all ages.

Of course, all of these amenities come with a cost.

It takes a significant amount of capital to keep Treetops Resort up to date and provide the highest level of service to guests.

A Turnaround Story in the Making

When General Manager Barry Owens joined Treetops Resort in 2010, the company was wrestling with significant challenges.

Michigan’s “most spectacular resort” had been operating at a loss since the 2008 financial crisis. And while the travel and leisure business climate had stabilized, Treetops’ financial condition made it virtually impossible to invest in property improvements.

Barry had a turnaround plan that was ready to go.

But without capital to modernize the resort’s facilities, Barry’s roadmap for growth could not be implemented. More than 400 American jobs hung in the balance, and families were depending on the resort’s success for their livelihoods.

That’s when Barry began discussing financing options with North Avenue Capital (NAC).

NAC and the USDA B&I Program

After discussing the turnaround strategy for Treetops Resort and the critical need for capital, a solution was found.

North Avenue Capital developed a loan structure using the USDA Business & Industry Loan Program to finance the much-anticipated renovation projects. As the loan documents were drawn up, Barry noted,

“Strong financing partners are scarce in this industry and economic climate. NAC and the USDA are assisting our team to make Treetops Resort one of the premiere destinations in the country.”

Alex Louis, Managing Partner for NAC had this to say about the new projects at Treetops Resort:

“The capital improvements made with this loan will elevate Treetops’ facilities to be in line with the extraordinary recreational experiences and excellent service already found at Treetops Resort.”

With a new capital infusion, the future now looks bright for Treetops Resorts.

Destination weddings, corporate retreats, and family vacations are being planned. And as the guests arrive, they will soon be treated to Treetops’ newly renovated facilities.

Treetops’ employees can now look forward to stable long-term career opportunities. And the prestigious resort will once again put Gaylord, Michigan on the map.

NAC’s Chief Executive, Ben Chatraw commented,

“NAC is proud to be part of the Treetops Resort story, and this financing structure is the quintessential example of the USDA B&I program at work: generating meaningful growth that impacts rural communities and the very real people that are investing their lives in these businesses. This impact is exactly why NAC exists.”

With blueprints in hand and this infusion of the funds needed to complete the work, Barry concluded,

“NAC has shown their commitment to small businesses in northern Michigan and specifically Gaylord.”

"We were introduced to North Avenue Capital, and we began to go through the process there of what might be available and in particular the USDA program. It fit perfectly for what we needed to do. North Avenue Capital has been incredible in helping us get through that and get this done."

Barry Owens

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