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Dilworth DQ closes to make way for bigger Casey's General Store

The Dairy Queen in Dilworth will be torn down for expansion of a Casey's General Store.Dave Wallis / The Forum

DILWORTH—A longtime hangout for sweet treats here didn't open its doors as usual this spring—a sign that change is coming to the Highway 10 corridor between Fargo-Moorhead and Minnesota lakes' country.

The Dairy Queen on the south side of the highway, in place since 1981, is being sold to Casey's General Stores of Ankeny, Iowa.

Owner Shawn Gode said it was built by his grandmother and has been operated by the family. Gode grew up working at the DQ and ran it for four years before buying it in 2016.

He said the deal with Casey's presented itself late last year, and he needed to jump on the opportunity.

"I'm kind of sorry people aren't going to be able to get ice cream there anymore, but you gotta do what you gotta do," Gode said.

According to Dilworth city administrator Peyton Mastera, Casey's will tear down the old DQ to make way for expansion of its store next door, to the west.

Mastera said while he hates to lose the summertime fixture, he's optimistic about the change.

"Hopefully, the new development will become a new staple of the community," Mastera said.

The Casey's store to be expanded and remodeled is at 1 Center Ave. E. Casey's bought it in May of 2014 as part of a wholesale purchase of former Stop N Go stores.

Sam James, director of finance at Casey's General Stores headquarters, said they want to make a "newer, bigger, nicer store" for the Dilworth community and those who pass through.

He said Casey's has a contract to purchase the Dairy Queen and is expected to close on it shortly.

Asked whether a DQ franchise could be located in the store, James said he doesn't believe it's part of the plan. However, about a half dozen Casey's stores do house A&W restaurant franchises, so "certainly we're not opposed to a franchise," he said.

James said when Casey's remodels an existing store, they typically add a kitchen to feature their made-from-scratch pizzas and donuts and made-to-order sub sandwiches.

If the quality of a building is in question, they tear it down and start new.

Another Casey's General Store is located nearby at 311 Center Ave. W. on the north side of Highway 10. It's just three blocks west of the one to be expanded.

Asked if that Dilworth location will remain open, James said it's too early to say whether the community would be best served with two stores or one larger store.