Dairy Queen could be coming to Powell

Hopes to build along highway on city’s west side

Posted 4/22/21

If all goes as planned, Powell could be in for a treat. 

Aaron Davidson, co-owner of the Dairy Queen franchise in Cody, approached the city council Monday to work out a land deal that would …

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Dairy Queen could be coming to Powell

Hopes to build along highway on city’s west side

Posted

If all goes as planned, Powell could be in for a treat. 

Aaron Davidson, co-owner of the Dairy Queen franchise in Cody, approached the city council Monday to work out a land deal that would accommodate a Dairy Queen in Powell. 

“Powell seems like a logical extension to kind of grow that Dairy Queen business,” Davidson said. 

He and his business partner bought the location in Cody just a couple weeks before the pandemic hit last year, forcing it to close down indoor dining. They’ve managed to get through it and are now looking to Powell. 

Davidson said the Dairy Queen corporate office, which scrutinizes every potential location before approving it, did a preliminary study on a franchise location in Powell. That initial study showed potential, he said. 

Davidson looked at a few commercial properties in town that could suit the new restaurant, but the corporation turned down those options because they didn’t quite have “the visibility required to make it a profitable venture,” he said, adding, “They just want to help us be successful.” 

What the restaurant really needs, he said, is a spot on the west end of town along U.S. Highway 14-A.

“That through-traffic during the summer is a pretty big part of its viability,” Davidson explained. 

They found a lot next to Gottsche Therapy Rehabilitation and Wellness.

Access to the restaurant would be from Wyoming Avenue to the north, as it’s unlikely the Wyoming Department of Transportation will permit access from the highway; Davidson said he can work with that. 

“It works great for us … The main thing is just that visibility to get people to stop,” the restaurateur said. 

However, there’s been some other complications with the lot.

To meet Dairy Queen’s width requirements, the franchisee had to buy some land from the neighbor on the west side, North Fork Investments LLC. The parcel is also not long enough, which is where Davidson hopes the City of Powell can help.

The city owns a sliver of land between the parcel and Coulter Avenue, where a sidewalk is located. The franchisee only needs one-tenth of an acre between the parcel boundaries and the sidewalk. 

“It would actually take out some of the unseeded area,” City Administrator Zack Thorington noted.

The council voted to give city staff the go-ahead to do the administrative work in preparation for a sale.

“I think it’s a good idea and a nice spot for it,” Councilor Steve Lensegrav said. 

The property needs to be appraised, and the city will need to advertise the intended sale for three weeks. Then, a public hearing has to be held describing the sale and the plans for the land.

Wyoming statutes permit a municipality to sell land without putting out a competitive bid, if the council determines the land’s intended use would create an economic development benefit to the town. Without that benefit, any land sale over $500 has to go out for a competitive bid. 

Davidson said the construction budget for the new location is $1.5 million. 

“So there’s some dollars that will come into Powell,” Davidson pointed out. 

He said the location in Cody employs about 30 full-time equivalent positions during its peak month of July.

Davidson said Dairy Queen’s corporate office will take about eight weeks to do its approval process, but he’s shooting to open the store by the end of the year.

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