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Dairy Queen set to return to area

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Construction crews work on tearing down Peoples National Bank to build a new Dairy Queen on May 7 in Rocky Mount.

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

After more than half a decade of being absent from the Rocky Mount dining scene, Dairy Queen will be returning to the city in a location on the northeast side of Golden East Crossing mall.

Minneapolis-based Fourteen Foods is converting the former Peoples National Bank office at 1321 Benvenue Road into a Dairy Queen Grill & Chill full-service restaurant. Fourteen Foods is the largest Dairy Queen franchisee and also is a family-run and faith-based business.

"We're super-excited to come to Rocky Mount, I mean, excited to establish ourselves in the community," Fourteen Foods spokesman Jeff Wright said. "We do a lot of community support, supporting schools, churches, libraries, youth sports organizations — and want to kind of be that hometown team player."

Wright declined to specify when the future Rocky Mount Dairy Queen Grill & Chill is going to begin serving customers. He said Fourteen Foods, for competitive reasons, does not release such information until nearer the opening date.

As far as what customers can expect once the restaurant is open, he was quick to emphasize Dairy Queen being known for its Blizzards and soft-serve ice cream as well as their chicken strips and hamburgers. Blizzards are a combination of sundae and big-name toppings with soft-serve ice cream.

"And we really focus on providing a great experience, providing first-class customer service in kind of a family friendly environment for everyone to come out and enjoy," he said.

Planning documents at City Hall show the future Rocky Mount Dairy Queen Grill & Chill is going to have 84 seats and a drive-up service window.

Fourteen Foods has 222 Dairy Queens in 13 states. In North Carolina, Fourteen Foods has locations in Williamston, Winterville, Burlington, Asheboro and Lenoir.

This is going to mark Fourteen Foods’ first entry into the Rocky Mount market — and the business picked quite a busy place to locate in the city.

State Transportation Department data shows an average daily traffic count of 19,000-22,000 on the segment of Benvenue by Golden East.

The Dairy Queen chain can be traced to 1940, with the first location opening in Joilet, Ill.

In 1997, billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathway acquired Dairy Queen for $585 million. The chain is headquartered in the Minneapolis area.

Dairy Queens could be found in the Twin Counties until late 2013.

The Telegram reported the closure of three locations of which members of the Hamad family had been franchisees. A Dairy Queen spokesman at the time said the franchisees had failed to fulfill contract obligations but did not elaborate.

The former Rocky Mount Dairy Queen had been at 1800 Benvenue Road northwest of the intersection of Goldrock Road. The other two Dairy Queens had been just off the Interstate 95-N.C. 4 interchange in Nash County and just off the U.S. 64-U.S. 258 interchange in Tarboro.

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