Chilling out: Longtime customers swap memories as A-frame Dairy Queen closes

Dairy Queen's more than 50-year-old store in the classic red, A-frame building on U.S. 41 in Naples closed Sept. 3, 2012. The next day, the new DQ Grill & Chill opened three blocks north at 694 Ninth St. N.

Photo by COREY PERRINE, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

Dairy Queen's more than 50-year-old store in the classic red, A-frame building on U.S. 41 in Naples closed Sept. 3, 2012. The next day, the new DQ Grill & Chill opened three blocks north at 694 Ninth St. N.

— Hot eats, cold treats and sandy feet.

That's what made the A-framed Dairy Queen on U.S. 41 unique.

As the community said goodbye Monday to the 1950s-era Naples landmark, people swapped stories of first dates, first solo bike rides to get ice cream, and of course, the convenience of leaving the beach to get a quick cup of soft-serve nearby.

A new indoor Dairy Queen is opening a few blocks away at 694 Ninth St. N.

"Change is inevitable, but I'll miss this one," said Jon Evans, 50, a lifetime Naples resident. "It's all I've ever known. It's a trademark to see people standing in line with sandy feet."

When he was 10 years old, Evans said, his parents let him ride his bike from his home on Central Avenue to Dairy Queen at 410 Ninth St. N.

"It made me feel like a grown-up," he said, before posing for a photo in front of the order window.

As Evans captured one last moment with his camera phone, Isabelle Krichel, 74, was standing at the window, ordering a pineapple milkshake.

"I've been coming here for 15 years," said Krichel, a volunteer at the nearby NCH hospital. "I know I can still go two blocks up the street, but I just thought I needed to come in here for old-time memories, before my shift at 4 p.m."

Krichel, originally from a small town in Iowa, said the Naples Dairy Queen reminded her of days spent getting ice cream with her late husband and their German schnauzer, Happy Jack.

"He always knew he was going to get a little dish, too," Krichel said of the dog, her head turned down, hiding a smile.

When the slogan was, "we treat you right," Joyce Wass began her family tradition.

"We came back to say goodbye," said Wass, who moved to Naples in 1976. "When I first moved here there wasn't a lot to do, so I brought my kids here. Now I bring my grandkids. I'll miss the landmark part of it."

The Naples location opened in 1958 or 1959 and has been in the midst of a legal battle for the past three years.

"I hope they retain this building," Krichel said. "It's a part of old Naples; so many historic places are going by the wayside."

While plans for the building aren't known yet, some people are ready for the indoor DQ Grill & Chill to open.

"I was just standing here thinking how great it would be to be in a new place and to stand in air conditioning," Miranda Koggan, 70, of Naples, said while fanning herself.

Until the windows latched for the last time, bicyclers and bikers pulled up, ordered a sundae or Blizzard and sat on the bright-blue painted benches as comments like, "one more chance," "last time" and "all our landmarks are going," continued.

"It's sad, but time has to go on," said Desiree DeBerandis, 34, of Naples, who came to Dairy Queen as a child, socialized as a teenager and now brings her 5-year-old niece. "But I definitely had some good memories here as a kid."

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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