In the 45 years since Hudsonâ€™s own Dairy Queen opened, nearly a thousand students have crossed the threshold to start their first job. Thousands more children, adults and dogs have enjoyed the soft frozen treats that are what kicked off the Dairy Queen franchise in the 1940s.
Its roots are in Illinois. In 1938 a father and son team talked a good friend into selling a product they had been experimenting with, a soft frozen dairy product. Within two hours over 1,600 servings were dished up.
In those days, franchising was unheard of but with the initial success and potential of the new product, it seemed like the best approach. The first store opened in Joliet, Ill., in 1940. According to Dairy Queenâ€™s Web site, when the United States entered World War II in December 1941, there were less than 10 Dairy Queen stores. Shortly after the war, the system took off. With only 100 stores in 1947, the number grew to 1,446 in 1950 and nearly doubled in five years to 2,600 in 1955. Today, there are more than 5,900 Dairy Queens worldwide.
Photo: Margaret A. Ontl.