In March of 2011, a new plan for development of an equine destination resort in central Florida was launched with Tom Golisano’s purchase of the Florida Carriage Museum. Since that time, the lush museum property has evolved The Grand Oaks Resort of today with a variety of new features including our RV Park, covered arena, and new guest accommodations and amenities.

Tom Golisano is a noted American entrepreneur and philanthropist. Golisano is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Paychex, Inc., the second largest payroll processing company in the U.S., and he served as its President and Chief Executive Officer until 2004. He founded the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation in 1985 to provide and improve services for individuals with developmental disabilities, and he and is the Special Olympics’ largest individual contributor. Golisano has often been recognized for his entrepreneurial, civic, and philanthropic achievements and endeavors. Paychex is a Fortune 1000 company, and Golisano was listed among Forbes’ Top 10 Bosses in the U.S. for three consecutive years, beginning in 2002.


Vice President & Managing Partner

Mr. Warriner was no stranger to the Florida Carriage Museum and its holdings and along with the rest of the equine community held the efforts of the founder in high regard. Market conditions post 2007 severely compromised the value of all Florida properties and made a business plan to breathe life into the project a challenge much greater than initially anticipated. Both Warriner and partner Laureen Oliver developed several plans, all with the intent of expanding the offering of the property while keeping the equine influence alive. One investor with an intimate knowledge of the Museum and its holdings was B. Thomas Golisano, a successful businessman with many turn-around-successes to his credit. Crafting a plan that fulfilled his requirements and would lead to a potentially profitable plan demanded all of the team’s resources and the scrutiny of Mr. Golisano. The exercise also revealed one of Mr. Golisano true passions: a good business plan that also embraced his appreciation for the richness and colors of the land.

Warriner had been instrumental in marketing both resort and competition based equine ventures throughout the US, South and Central America and the Pacific basin. He has a 40-year history in real estate specializing in properties with an economic or functional obsolescence.

The team crafted a mission statement that included embracing all equine disciplines, the remarketing of the property as a full-service resort, full food and beverage services and a country club environment with the primary amenity remaining equine pursuits, vacation rentals and tourism-based attractions.  When Mr. Golisano accepted the business plan from the team the acquisition and commencement of the business plan began in early 2011.

Key accomplishment on the property to date include:

  • Designed and constructed an outdoor arena  with flexible footing and lights (145 X 275).
  • Designed and constructed an indoor/covered arena with flexible footing, lights, seating (170 X 300).
  • Designed and constructed a 60-slip premium RV facility that will support visitors to the resort and add to the housing inventory.
  • Designed and constructed a full-service restaurant and lounge suitable for weekend live entertainment and social events throughout the year.
  • Added additional hazards and arenas in support of driving, dressage and polo.
  • Added a built-in pool with spa.
  • Added a unique Gift Shop & a Coffee Shop.
  • A complete redesign of irrigation, grass types designed for heavy use, landscaping and designated performance areas.
  • Redesigned an aging hay barn into a period wedding venue/chapel that is now home to weddings almost every weekend and our very own Cowboy Church on Sunday mornings.
  • Added a 40,000 sq. ft. Golf Putting Course & developed our Golf Academy.
  • Added an outside bar for the Golf Putting Course called “The Nineteenth Hole”
  • Designed and constructed 20 brand-new one- and two-bedroom cottages

The concept was clear: take a magnificent property whose target market was narrow and expand it to multi-discipline/entertainment and tourism. Develop shoulder and summer seasons to enhance the successful winter program already in effect. Make the resort a truly grand year-around destination for vacationers, travelers, tourists, and neighbors alike.


Kacy Tipton-Fashik

Assistant Manager of the Resort

352.750.5500 • Ext. 229


PLEASE NOTE: All guests and competitors must view and sign our liability release online.


3000 Marion County Road

Weirsdale, Florida 32195