Dairy Queen on the way to Steamboat’s Central Park Plaza | SteamboatToday.com

Dairy Queen on the way to Steamboat’s Central Park Plaza

Ice cream store, Orange Julius to open, possibly in summer

Central Park Plaza’s leasing agent

Central Park Plaza's leasing agent, Justin Brockman, of THF Realty, confirmed Sunday that a Dairy Queen ice cream restaurant containing an Orange Julius is moving this summer into the plaza's south wing, next to Mountain Eyeworks. The Dairy Queen could open July 1. Mountain Temp Services will move across the plaza, to a location next to the City Market grocery store.
John F. Russell

— After a winter of heavy snow and a spring of surging runoff, there's going to be some Blizzards in Steamboat Springs this summer.

Leasing agent Justin Brockman, of THF Realty, confirmed Sunday that a Dairy Queen restaurant, with an Orange Julius inside, is coming to the south wing of Central Park Plaza, near Qdoba Mexican Grill. Local owner and manager Stacy Schulz said opening date is uncertain, but she's hoping for July 1.

Schulz, a Steamboat resident for 11 years, said she grew up in a town with a Dairy Queen and had often thought about trying to open one here. Dairy Queen opened its first soft-serve ice cream restaurant in 1940 and now has more than 5,900 restaurants worldwide, according to its website.

"For a lot of people, it's that childhood memory," Schulz said of the restaurant's appeal.

Schulz said the Steamboat Dairy Queen won't serve hamburgers or fries, as some do, but will offer hot dogs and panini-style sandwiches in addition to the array of ice cream treats, including the well-known Blizzard sundaes. The Orange Julius will feature smoothies.

The restaurant's arrival will trigger some shuffling in Central Park Plaza. Brockman said the Dairy Queen will open in the space occupied by Mountain Temp Services, an employment agency that will move to the plaza's north wing, between the City Market grocery store and Colorado Bagel Co.

The new ice cream restaurant also could have a new neighbor. Brockman said Annie's Home Consignments is opening a shop in Central Park Plaza, in the south wing next to Mountain Eyeworks. Brockman said Annie's will combine two adjacent retail spaces for its new location.

Annie's Home Consignments owner Annie Tisch and Sundance at Fish Creek manager Bob Larson could not be reached Sunday to confirm or discuss the move.

Central Park Plaza, which is anchored by Walmart, is facing a couple of tenant-related uncertainties.

Brockman said Sunday that he didn't yet know the fate of the plaza's Blockbuster video rental store, in light of Englewood-based Dish Network Corp.'s recent purchase of Blockbuster Inc. Brockman said bankruptcy courts still are determining which Blockbuster leases could be terminated or kept. He said he hadn't heard a decision about the Steamboat location.

As for the Village Inn, which occupied a prominent, end location in the plaza's south wing before closing in April 2010, Brockman said there's no news about a potential new tenant.

"I'm surprised that hasn't leased yet," he said. "I think that's a really good end-cap."

Dairy Queen could boost leasing efforts by attracting more customers to the plaza's south wing — but ice cream also has proven to be a tough sell on that side of the city.

A Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream business closed in October 2009 in Wildhorse Marketplace, across Mount Werner Road from Central Park Plaza. Schulz said Sunday, though, that the popularity of soft-serve and the busy traffic in Central Park Plaza, among other factors, gave her confidence for Dairy Queen's success.

She said the company provides extensive preparation for new owners.

"You go through high levels of qualifications and training to make sure that you're going to have a successful business," she said.

Managing a Dairy Queen will be a change of taste for Schulz, who currently works for Honey Stinger. She laughed at the thought of moving from an energy-food company to an ice cream restaurant.

"To make things even better, I have a nutrition degree," she said. "Doesn't mean we can't have a treat once in a while."

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or email mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com