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December 20, 2013

New Dairy Queen owners refresh space, service

MILLEDGEVILLE — Dairy Queen of Milledgeville has been a staple eatery for more than 40 years for many area residents with a sweet tooth and those craving a meal in the company of good friends and family. 

Formerly owned and operated by Carl and Judy Cheely since 1970, the Milledgeville Dairy Queen has been under the ownership of business partners Al Autry of Dublin, Steven Stembridge of Juliette and Scott Roberts of Milledgeville since Oct. 7.

As the Dairy Queen company continues to make strides to move its 6,500 restaurants into the 21st century, the Milledgeville eatery’s new owners are in the midst of making headway for modernizing the space and service.

“We spruced up the property, redid the parking lot, put in a new fence in the back and did a lot of appearance upgrades. We even started walking food to the table for customers as part of the customer service aspect,” Autry said. “In today’s society, people are in a hurry and they don’t have time to wait or want to cook. We’re training the current employees right now to work with the speed of the business to be more efficient.”

The trio has been in business together for the past three years with the Zaxby’s company.

“We purchased our last Zaxby’s store last December in Pooler, Ga.,” Autry said. “About six months ago, we decided to get involved in Dairy Queen as a way to branch out. We’re still growing with the Zaxby’s brand and are even looking at other Dairy Queens.”

The local Dairy Queen business began as a walk-up restaurant, and in 1973 the current building was built to welcome customers to dine-in. 

According to the Cheelys, the restaurant sold more food items than any Dairy Queen location nationwide in 1985.

Fernie Etheridge and James Edy made their usual weekly trip from Wilkinson County to the local Dairy Queen for lunch Friday. 

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