Dairy Castle is on the market. After recently opening for the season, owners Rob and Jane Best listed the local ice cream shop for sale last week.
But customers do not need to fear the business closing down anytime soon.
“We will keep it running at least until the end of this season, and even open again next season, if we have to,” Rob Best said.
The business is not in any sort of financial trouble. In fact, business has only grown since the Bests purchased the ice cream shop nine years ago. However, as they approach age 50, Rob Best said it’s time to retire.
“We’ve been in business for over 25 years, and we are just ready to start slowing down,” Rob Best said. “Getting into the big 5-0 numbers, it gets a little tiring after a while. My wife, Jane, will come in at 6:00 a.m. to get things ready.”
As of now, Rob Best said he has not had any inquiries about purchasing the business.
“It’s a good business and a good living, as long as you are willing to put the time in,” Rob Best said. “I don’t see anyone changing it.”
Rob and Jane Best have made few adjustments to the business since they purchased it in 2008. Rob Best said he hopes the next owners will continue to keep the business the way it is. Many of the foundational elements of the business, including the original recipes from 1963 and customer service, are what Rob Best said keep the experience special.
Rob Best said what he will miss the most are the people.
“I get to know a lot of people in this community and always have,” he said. “I appreciate what they have done for me, and I hope we have served them well. I think we have. Business has grown a lot over the last nine years…It’s been good to us.”
Serving DePauw students has been a memorable experience for Rob Best. He said that students students originally only came in for ice cream, but now they come in for food and to hang out. He enjoys that the business has become more of a destination than a place to simply come and go.
When Dairy Queen opened in the community in 2014, Rob Best said it didn’t impact business at all.
“We have our own niche market and they have theirs,” he said, adding that the long-standing tradition of Dairy Castle is what has kept the business alive. “It is a pillar of the community.”
Lindsey Smith, an employee of Dairy Castle for four years, said she is excited about the business being up for sale.
“I know it’s what the owners Rob and Jane really want, so I’m super excited for them,” Smith said. “My favorite part is the atmosphere. I just love the family environment. Rob and Jane are like family to me, and I love them dearly. It’s a good place to work.”
Dairy Castle employee Cassidy Pridemore said the owners are what make the establishment what it is.
“I will probably go somewhere else if we get new owners,” Pridemore said. “I just like working for Rob and Jane. Everybody here gets along really well.”