Dairy King‘s owner is hopeful for a buyer to keep the “icon of Woodbine” alive. Jeff and Carolyn Jones announced via Facebook that Dairy King on East Thompson Lane will close operations on August 3rd. The 50-year-old business has suffered since COVID-19 disrupted life in March.
On July 27th, owners Jeff and Carolyn Jones posted their heartfelt message to patrons, supporters, and their community on their social media. Dairy King located at 306 East Thompson Lane has been a neighborhood staple since Dudley “Big Daddy” Jones and his wife Thelma bought a walk-up diner at 431 East Thompson Lane. Jeff Jones bought the restaurant from his parents in 2000 and the flood of 2010 forced them to the current location.
Now Jones says they “simply cannot make ends meet” after losing their catering clients during the onset of COVID-19 in the second week of March. He explains they’ve exhausted Small Business Administration funds and are operating on barely half of their regular revenue.
There comes a time in a man’s life when he must make exceedingly difficult decisions: Due to circumstances beyond our control, effective August 3, the Dairy King will cease operations until further notice. Under the current conditions, we simply cannot make ends meet. We lost all catering jobs the second week of March. We cater to churches, schools, and offices so no explanation is necessary. That is 25% of our sales. We are maintaining 70% to 75% of our normal restaurant sales which translates to a 50% loss of income. We cannot pay 100% of our expenses with 50% of our income. The funding we received in April from the SBA has also been exhausted. Words cannot express how much Carolyn and I appreciate the continued prayers and support from our community, you have been so gracious and generous. We could not have made it this far without your donations and patronage. For the record: Next month, I will be 63 years old. I have been working 60, 70 and 80 hours per week for 32 years straight. I am exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. ALL our energy is poured into the business. We have very little time off and we rarely take vacations. I just cannot keep doing this at my age. Not to mention, we are still in massive debt due to the relocation after the flood. With all this being said, Carolyn and I made the decision to put the property and/or the Dairy King brand up for sale at the beginning of the year. We have been thinking about this for years and obviously, it is a difficult decision. The property was listed in February and after only four days, a potential buyer submitted a “Letter of Intent”. A few weeks later, the virus hit and everything was cancelled. I really cannot imagine my life without the Dairy King in it. After 50 years, it becomes part of your DNA. Our family has had an amazing run. I am so proud of the legacy my parents left. The wonderful product and the reputation of community service preceded me. It was an honor for me to buy the business in 2000 and try to continue to meet the standards my folks had established. Dairy King has the greatest fans on the planet and that was on display the past four months. We sold 400 t-shirts, that is amazing. Hopefully, there is someone interested in buying the Dairy King brand and would like to keep this icon of Woodbine going. Carolyn and I would stay on and train and try make it a smooth transition. Until that time, going forward, we are in a position to keep the catering business going if and when this pandemic is over and churches, schools and offices can operate at full capacity. Again, on behalf of entire Jones family, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for 5 decades of support, it is very humbling. My mom and dad were rock stars. It has been my pleasure to walk in that huge shadow, not only in business, but also in my daily walk as a believer. We have been truly blessed.
Jeff and Carolyn
Jeff Jones also mentions that they chose to put the property and the Dairy King brand up for sale at the beginning of the year. He hopes someone will step up who is willing to adopt his family’s legacy and carry on the Woodbine tradition.
Dairy King will close the doors on August 3rd.