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New Ellsworth (Wis.) DQ owner's ready to make public feel welcome

ELLSWORTH, Wis. -- Although the Ellsworth Dairy Queen is the first food service venture he's owned, Josh Wolfgram has plenty of experience serving customers.

Wolfgram has worked with the public at car dealerships, in a business supply enterprise with his brothers and even at another Dairy Queen--the one in his hometown, Hudson. So the new local owner is eager to run an inviting establishment.

"I want to make it as comfortable as possible for people," he said Friday, after buying the franchise and property from Jim and Sandee Coughlin the middle of last month. He'll be moving to the on-site residence soon, he added.

He's already spent a month in training through Dairy Queen, he said, at St. Clairsville, Ohio, for two weeks and at Youngsville, Pa., for two more weeks. He was trained in dealing with customers and employees, how to package and present food, and handling equipment, especially cleaning and sanitizing it, among other skills. He expects to attend yet another week focusing on the business end sometime next winter.

Wolfgram said he intends to improve the facility here, bringing his own style to the enterprise. His specific plans are still to come (he mentioned there will be a new menu board as one upgrade); meantime, he's counting on help from 14 employees, two of whom are full-time and one of those a 20-year veteran at the Ellsworth location. The DQ's winter hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, expanded to 9 p.m. in April and 10 p.m. after school ends for the summer. Phone 273-4461 to place orders.

"We'll be open year-around," he said.

To date, the new owner's found "Blizzard" treats are a top seller, he said. He's noticed the hot food offerings are popular, too. As the seasons change, he suspects trends in customer's tastes will follow.

A friend of his owns the Hudson Dairy Queen and he worked there for awhile, Wolfgram said. That operator made him aware of the availability of the outlet in the village's west business district and he also worked here for a couple of weeks in December. He's long thought about owning his own business.

"I've wanted to own it, build it and grow it," he said.

Read more in the print version of the Pierce County Herald March 5.