After nearly six months of work, the Columbia Dairy Queen reopened to customers on Feb. 3.
The remodel involved replacing virtually everything in the building, from lighting to menu panels, and even tearing down some walls.
It is now considered a Dairy Queen Grill & Chill 2.0.
“Almost every thing you see in here is new,” said new owner David Lipe.
The Columbia fast food joint has been closed since Aug. 14, when Lipe and new general manager Don McDade decided to close it down for the remodel after buying it from the previous owners.
Although they knew the location needed extensive work, Lipe said they both wanted to purchase the franchise.
“We just saw an opportunity with Dairy Queen,” said Lipe, who also owns Dairy Queen locations in Belleville and O’Fallon. “This is a great area. We want to be a part of not only Columbia, but Monroe County.”
In addition to Lipe and McDade, the Columbia Dairy Queen has many new staff members, with only five employees from the previous ownership still working there.
“We’ve got a great new staff,” Lipe said.
“They have no problem with great customer service,” McDade, a Germantown resident, added.
That was evident the first Sunday the establishment reopened when a grandmother called to ask if her family could celebrate her granddaughter’s 16th birthday there.
The employees not only accommodated the family – who took up an entire section of the business – by serving them, but also letting them bring in party favors and similar items.
“It’s a fun, family environment,” McDade said.
Lipe and McDade said they plan to extend that attitude toward the community overall once the new store gets more settled in.
They plan to do that by working with Columbia’s schools, sports teams and organizations to provide fundraising opportunities.
“We’re just excited to be part of the community,” said Lipe, who lives in O’Fallon.
Call 281-1700 for more information about fundraising opportunities or follow the location on Facebook for more overall – including an upcoming promotion for Dairy Queen’s 80th anniversary in March.