As Tim and Carol Tanner close the doors of Dublin Dairy Queen Oct. 21 one of their primary concerns lies with their employees.
Dairy Queen, along with other businesses in the 152,900-square-foot Olde Sawmill Square Shopping Center on Sawmill Road in Columbus, is closing as owner Casto plans redevelopment for the strip center.
Casto has gotten permission from Columbus to move a telecommunications tower behind the center, with possible plans to knock down a portion of the center for redevelopment.
Casto officials have so far been mum on possible tenants, but neighbors report they have heard rumors of Walmart.
According to Mr. Tanner, a Dairy Queen has been at the Olde Sawmill center since it opened. The Tanners have owned the 7730 Sawmill Road location for 10 years.
The couple employs 30 to 35 people at the height of business in the summer and maintains a staff of about 20 during the school year.
"I feel bad for our kids," Mrs. Tanner said. "They're out of a job."
Jordan Corbin has worked at Dairy Queen for about three years and can see his house from the back door of the business.
"It's fun here," he said. "We're all friends."
Corbin's mother has gotten him a job at another business, but he said he hates to see a business he frequented as a child close.
"I used to play here," Corbin said. "I was probably 7 (years old) when I started coming here."
Students from the nearby Davis Middle School and Olde Sawmill Elementary School visit the business and are known by name by some employees, as are some residents.
"We want to stay. We love these people behind us," Mr. Tanner said of the neighborhoods around the strip center.
Dairy Queen's lease that was running month-to-month was originally set to be terminated Sept. 30, but the Tanners had already committed to donating one of the business' popular items, Blizzards, to an autism walk and the Columbus Marathon.
"We got the OK to stay because we were committed to charity events," Mrs. Tanner said.
But as of Oct. 21 the business will close and Oct. 31 the keys must be turned over.
The autism walk and Columbus Marathon aren't the only community events the business has been involved in over the years.
"We're involved with the Kiwanis frog jump and the Fourth of July event at Coffman High School," Mr. Tanner said, adding they also work with high school athletic groups.
In addition to working in the area, the Tanners also live a short walk from the strip center.
"We do a lot of walking in the neighborhoods," Mrs. Tanner said.
"We see families walking, running (and) riding bikes. I don't see how (the proposed redevelopment) can't affect that."
As for the future of Dairy Queen in the area, plans are uncertain.
Mr. Tanner said they'd like to move to a vacant spot in Olde Sawmill Square Shopping Center, but they've gotten no answer yet.
Casto has told them an answer could come in January or February.
"We love Dublin. We love being here," Mr. Tanner said. "We'd love to come back here, but that's six months away."