If you went to Butler High School in the last 50 years, you probably remember the Dairy Queen next door.
The Butler Township business has been a fixture for six decades. It’s been locally owned and franchised by father-and-son team Jim and Eric Edwards for 51 years. This time of year the business is usually gearing up for another busy summer season, but that’s not the case this year.
The business has recently hit a snag- a big one. The Edwards were forced to close last week because of a disagreement with the franchiser.
Eric Edwards said corporate DQ found him in non-compliance because of his ice cream machines. Corporate wants them updated so all shops across the country have the same ones, but Edwards said they just bought new machines a few years ago- to the tune of thousands of dollars- they passed state inspections this year- and there’s no reason to buy new ones.
Edwards believe this move is just one in a series over the last few years in an effort to get the ‘little guys’ out. But, the Edwards don’t want out. They say this is their livelihood; they love this community; and hope to resolve the issue with the franchiser.
“Just let us work and serve the community,” Eric Edwards said. “I’ve been coming to this shop every morning for decades to work. I don’t know what to do with myself.”
Dean Peters, director of communications for the American Dairy Queen Corporation, said in a statement that the company does not take the termination of franchise agreements lightly but that confidentiality agreements prevent them from discussing the specifics.
“American Dairy Queen Corporation does not terminate franchise agreements lightly. We have many franchisees in our system who have owned and operated DQ locations for 40, 50 and even 60-plus years. There are a multitude of factors that go into decisions when franchises may need to be terminated. Again, those decisions are not taken lightly. Unfortunately, due to confidentiality agreements, we are unable to respond to or discuss specific allegations,” the statement reads.
Jim and Eric Edwards said they’ve received a tremendous amount of support from the Butler community since the closing. They hope corporate DQ will notice it and work with them to re-open.
You can contact the American Dairy Queen Corporation at 866-793-7582. You can also fill out an online contact form here.
“In our never-ending quest to serve you to the fullest, please do not hesitate to call, write, or email us with any of your problems or concerns,” according to Dairy Queen’s website.