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VOL. 114 | NO. 101 | Wednesday, May 24, 2000

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Dairy Queen opens Blizzards hit DeSoto County By LAURIE JOHNSON The Daily News For several generations of Memphians, the name "Dairy Queen" conjures fond memories of celebrations surrounding childhood birthdays, ballgames and good report cards. Starting this month, DeSoto County families will be able to begin establishing their own Dairy Queen tradition. One of the nations top treat food retailers has opened its first next-generation store in the area, at 5066 Pepper Chase Drive in Southaven, Miss., just off the Interstate 55/Church Road exit. Owned by Doug Causey of Southaven, it is the first Dairy Queen Brazier in the community and the first of several Causey plans to open in DeSoto County. The new 1,650-square-foot restaurant represents the Dairy Queen systems newest model store, which features a combination of modern and nostalgic design elements that pay homage to the Dairy Queen heritage yet still meet the needs of todays time-conscious customers. The interior decor features chrome trim and a red and blue color palette, reminiscent of a poodle skirt and pompadour-era ice cream parlor, as well as a large black-and-white mural depicting the exterior of a 1950s Dairy Queen store. Its equipment and customer service technology, however, are state-of-the-art, for the fastest and safest food service possible. "We want to honor the past and peoples memories of Dairy Queen, but still offer the conveniences customers expect today, including hot food items and efficient service," said Causey, a former executive for a Fortune 500 manufacturing firm and a native of Jackson, Miss. The Southaven store, which opened May 15, offers indoor seating for 44 customers and outdoor seating for 32. It has about 50 full- and part-time employees. Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Its menu offers customers more than 100 items, from rich treats such as the brands ever-popular Blizzard milk shakes and new Smore Galore, a concoction of ice cream, graham cracker, cocoa fudge and marshmallow topping, to healthy low-fat fare such as the non-fat, no-sugar-added DQ Fudge Bar. The store also features a full line of hot food items, including hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches. "A family can visit us and find something to suit everyones taste buds and nutritional needs," said Causey, noting that a nutritional guide is available at the store. Causey said opening the Southaven store marked the fulfillment of two lifelong goals to run his own business and return to his home state. He said he chose DeSoto County because there was no Dairy Queen in the area, and because the county has one of the fastest-growing populations in the country. "I also just love ice cream," he said. He said he chose Dairy Queen, as opposed to another franchise, because he believed it had the best ice cream products in the fast-food business, and because the brand is so well recognized and respected. Relatively lower start-up costs and fewer obstacles to opening also played a role in Causeys decision. "The initial investment to open a franchise is a lot less," he said. "Other stores require a lot more money than Dairy Queen and some require that you work in one of their stores for a year before you can even apply. Dairy Queen just didnt have as many hurdles." Causey said he also liked the fact that all Dairy Queen stores are individually owned. "As a franchisee, I wont be in competition with a company-owned store," he said. Since its opening, traffic through the Southaven store, located just down the street from the Northwest Mississippi Community College campus, has been brisk, Causey said. "Business has been very good so far." Causey said the store was the first of several he plans to open in the county. Causeys partner in the venture is Dennis Allen, who will manage the Southaven store. "Were looking forward to introducing new Southaven customers to Dairy Queen products," said Allen, a 17-year veteran of the restaurant business who lives in Walls, Miss. Founded in 1940, Dairy Queen is the leading operator of treat stores in America, and the inventor of reduced-fat, soft serve ice cream. The company has hundreds of franchisees, many of whom have long histories with Dairy Queen many through several generations of the same family. Consumers tend to form a stronger emotional bond with Dairy Queen than any other fast food outlet, said Gary See, vice president of marketing for the Dairy Queen system. "Our focus groups have shown that people tend to treat themselves and their families with visits to Dairy Queen," he said. "They equate Dairy Queen with memories of special times spent with family and friends, such as after-school events, celebrating a teams win or birthdays." Today, International Dairy Queen Inc. is part of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a company owned by Warren Buffett. In making the acquisition of Dairy Queen, Buffett, a regular visitor to the local Dairy Queen for years, said, "We have put our money where our mouth is." IDQ develops, licenses and services a system of more than 5,927 Dairy Queen stores in the U.S., Canada and other foreign countries, as well as 384 Orange Julius stores and 35 Karmelkorn Shoppes.
PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396