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Landmark Fallowfield DQ has new owners

| Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 6:46 p.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Owners Kim and David Smith, look over poster in front of the Dairy Queen in Fallowfield Township. On Tuesday, June 18,2013.

Dave Smith grew up on a dairy farm just outside Smithton.

Even today, Smith and his wife, Kim, live on 300 acres of farm land in the area, toiling in grain and beef.

“I went from making the milk to selling the milk mix,” Dave Smith said.

That's because the Smiths recently purchased and reopened the Dairy Queen, located on Route 88 in Fallowfield Township.

The Dairy Queen was opened in 1954 by Jim Marchell. He received it as a wedding present from his father, who knew the territory manager for Dairy Queen.

Marchell owned it for one year before selling the business to Levina and Bill Cominsky.

The Cominskys owned the business for 10 years before Harry P. Roberts bought it, operating the business with the assistance of his wife, Bernice. They ran it through 1974, and their son, Jim, took over in 1975.

The Dairy Queen began serving food in 1979 in addition to the signature ice cream treats.

Operating a Dairy Queen franchise is nothing new to Smith and his wife, Kim, a teacher in the Yough School District.

For 10 years, the Scottdale area couple has owned and operated the Dairy Queen in Herminie, located on state Route 136 near Yough High School.

“I had an interest in the ice cream business and the man who built the building in Herminie worked with my wife at Yough,” said Dave Smith.

So when the Smiths learned that the Valley DQ was on the market, they jumped at the opportunity.

“I thought it had some good potential,” Dave Smith said. “It needed some remodeling.”

It had been a 12-month store for many years, but the former owner closed the DQ Dec. 10 with the intention of selling it. The Smiths completed the purchase at the first of year and opened in March.

Customers are slowly welcoming them back after the restaurant reopened.

“They've seen the remodeling we've done and welcomed it,” Dave Smith said. “The older generations have especially appreciated what we've done for the business.”

The Dairy Queen's expanded menu as a part of its Fun Food campaign – including hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs and ice cream, such as blizzards, has made the restaurant a popular location, Dave Smith said.

The restaurant is rooted in the community, Dave Smith acknowledged.

“We're seeing the older generation still come here for ice cream,” Dave Smith said. “They've come here for years and are very pleasant customers. We hope to keep improving and remodeling it and make it someplace that everyone wants to stop at it.”

Dave Smith said the nearly two-year project will include extending the drive-thru around the building, installing new signage, changing colors of the building, installing neon lights, fixing parking lots, and placing more tables outside.

Debbie Keefer, executive director of the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the reopening of the DQ is welcomed by the businesses and the community.

“The Dairy Queen has been an iconic meeting and eating place for all of these years,” Keefer said. “It represents a million memories made by thousands of customers.

“It is nice to know that you can still count on the Dairy Queen quality and service that we are all used to. The chamber is especially pleased that the new owners have made a substantial investment in the property and we wish them the best of luck in providing another 50 years of ice cream, food and good times.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or