Note: This story has been updated.
A local family-owned business is set to celebrate an amazing 70 continuous years of providing Richland Countians with delicious food and wonderful memories. On June 23, both Dairy Queen locations will be offering many favorite DQ treats on sale for $1.70. For kids there will be face painting, tattoos, balloons and fun from Noon to 3:00 PM.
You may remember the jingle “In the land of Dairy Queen, We Treat You Right” or ads featuring Dick Clark declaring DQ “An American Original” or Dennis The Menace and the words Scrumpdillyishus Dairy Queen.
Maybe you remember opening day, August 11, 1948 when John and Winnie Mulherin opened their DQ store at the corner of Glessner Avenue and Wood Street. Cones were 5 cents and sundaes and milkshakes were 25 cents. It was right after WWII. America was rebuilding and families were reuniting and growing.
The Mulherins knew the creators of the new “soft serve” ice cream and five of John Mulherin’s siblings went into the DQ business in other states. Originally from Iowa, John and Winnie ventured the furthest east and purchased the franchise rights for Richland County, Ohio. When they opened there were only 100 stores in the nation.
Now there are over 6,400 in 30 countries. Dairy Queen grew so fast that it is the company credited with being the foundation of the franchising industry that is known today.
In 1955 the Snack Bar was built next to the DQ and was known for Sloppy Joes, French Fries and Root Beer served in a frosted mug by car hops. The second generation, Jed and Mary Mulherin ran the Snack Bar and then operated the DQ from 1966 to 1987.
During this time, the original store and Snack Bar were razed and the current store was built in 1976. A second store was built on Ashland Road in 1987 by the third generation, Mike and Stephanie Mulherin with the original store being operated by siblings Pat and Maureen Mulherin. Pat and his wife, Jana, have operated the Glessner Avenue store for over 25 years. Fourth generation, Joe Mulherin manages the Ashland Road store and many of the fourth generation continue to work part time. “We have several generations of employees who have worked here as well” said Pat Mulherin. “When we say we own a Dairy Queen people always have a memory to share be it their favorite treat, it was their first job, or that it seems like we’ve been here forever”, he added.
Over the years, “Dairy Queen” has found its way into song lyrics, books, movies and has made history. They brought us Dilly Bars, Blizzards, Cakes and more. The Richland County stores are still the places to find kids and families together. The reason for this success? Just ask any Mulherin family member and the answer is the same; it’s the people of Richland County who first welcomed John and Winnie Mulherin in 1947 and for the continued support of our community. We plan to be here to “Treat You Right” for many years to come.
Source, Photo: Submitted press release