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The Dairy Queen History
The soft-serve formula was first developed in 1938 by Douds, Iowa-born John Fremont “J.F.” “Grandpa” McCullough (1871‒1963) and his son Bradley. They convinced friend and loyal customer Sherb Noble to offer the product in his ice cream store in Kankakee, Illinois. On the first day of sales, Noble dished out more than 1,600 servings of the new dessert within two hours. Noble and the McCulloughs went on to open the first Dairy Queen store in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois. While this Dairy Queen has not been in operation since the 1950s, the building still stands at 501 N Chicago St. as a city-designated landmark. Since 1940, the chain has used a franchise system to expand its operations globally. In the US, the state with the most Dairy Queen restaurants is Texas. Dairy Queen International is the parent company of Dairy Queen. In the United States, it operates under American Dairy Queen. IDQ is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. At the end of its fiscal year 2014, Dairy Queen reported over 6,400 stores in more than 25 countries; about 4,500 of its stores (approximately 70%) were located in the United States. DQ was an early pioneer of food franchising, expanding its 10 stores in 1941 to 100 by 1947, 1,446 in 1950, and 2,600 in 1955. The first store in Canada opened in Estern, Saskatchewan, in 1953. The red Dairy Queen symbol was introduced in 1959. The company became International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ) in 1962. In 1987, IDQ bought the Orange Julius chain. IDQ was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 1998. Dairy Queens were a fixture of social life in small towns of the Midwestern and Southern United States during the 1950s and 1960s. In that role, they have often come to be referenced as a symbol of life in small-town America, as in Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections at Sixty and Beyond by Larry McMurtry, Dairy Queen Days by Robert Inman, and Chevrolet Summers, Dairy Queen Nights by Bob Greene.