SHARPSVILLE — Instead of barn-style grey shingles and bright red walls, the building in downtown Sharpsville now sports walls in hues of bright tan and orange.
Interior work is also being done on the building at 30 N. Walnut St., Sharpsville. Other planned improvements include a drive-thru, equipment installation and paving, all to be done in preparation of the building's reopening as a Dairy Queen.
If things go according to plan, owner Paul Herrmann said he expects the store to open sometime this summer.
"We hope to be open in July, probably sometime in late July," Herrmann said.
The building was previously a Country Fair gas station and convenience store for 40 years, until the business announced it was closing in July last year. The closure meant Sharpsville lost its only gas station, even though North Walnut Street is used by 22,000 vehicles daily and serves as the main thoroughfare through Sharpsville and into South Pymatuning, Sharpsville borough Manager Ken Robertson said.
"Somebody is missing out on an opportunity to put a gas station here in Sharpsville," Robertson said.
However, the new Dairy Queen will make a "perfect" addition to the Sharpsville and South Pymatuning business communities, with the property better suited for a restaurant than the previous gas station, which didn't offer much space for customers who wanted to park or use the station's one pump, Robertson said.
"It was a great location for a store, but the property was kind of crowded for people trying to park, get gas and go," Robertson said. "It didn't work well as a gas station."
Aside from the new location in Sharpsville, Herrmann was previously the owner of the Dairy Queen located on Saranac Drive in South Pymatuning for more than 10 years. However, the Saranac Drive location was a seasonal location that was only open from April to about October.
Classified as a "brazier store," the store sold a limited menu of ice cream and fast food items compared to other Dairy Queen locations, while employing about a dozen people and some outdoor seating. When completed, the new Dairy Queen in Sharpsville will employ 40 to 50 people with interior seating for 56 people, and a patio area out front would provide further seating for up to 16 people.
"With this new location, there's more traffic, it's more accessible to a bigger population, and people are able to walk there," Herrmann said.
Aside from the "grill and chill" menu, the new location will also offer breakfast at some point later this year, Herrmann said.
"We wanted to get the store up and running first, so I'd say we'll be serving breakfast before the end of the year," he said. "The closest Dairy Queen that I can think of that offers breakfast is probably in Columbiana County."
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