Business

Oak Harbor Dairy Queen to reopen

"Blizzards are coming back to Oak Harbor. Along with Dilly bars, chili cheese hot dogs and ice cream cakes.Many people — including the person who owns the building and corporate officials — were surprised when the Dairy Queen in Oak Harbor closed without warning last month. Building owner Pat Lorentson of Snohomish said she and her husband plan to reopen both the Oak Harbor and Mount Vernon ice cream and fast food restaurants by the end of the month.But she’s not even sure why the businesses closed in the first place.Lorentson said she and her husband have been running Dairy Queen restaurants for 23 years. They built the Oak Harbor Dairy Queen building in 1988 and ran the business for years. Six years ago, they sold the Oak Harbor and Mount Vernon Dairy Queen franchises to Jack and Lenea Heinemann of Canada and have been renting the buildings to them since.But Lorentson said the Heinemanns stopped paying rent for several months and she wasn’t able to get hold of them to find out what was going on. “I wanted to see if we could negotiate to lower the payments and help them get by,” she said.Finally, she got frustrated and took the Canadian couple to court.Then without warning, she said the Heinemanns closed both Dairy Queens. Worse yet, she said someone took all the grilling equipment at the Mount Vernon restaurant and all the supplies from the Oak Harbor business. Lorentson said the equipment technically belongs to her. “They’ve broken the law,” she said. After she replaces the equipment and supplies, Lorentson said she plans to re-open the restaurants and run them herself. She said there are some very dedicated employees at the Oak Harbor restaurant, so starting up again should go relatively smooth.She says the biggest difference under the new management will be happier employees and a happier atmosphere for customers. "

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