Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Dairy Queen Dream: Area couple succeeds in venture

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  • JACKSON COUNTY - Bob and Terri McCloy were high school sweethearts. They graduated from Parkersburg South High School in 1988 and were married 21 years ago.
    Terri worked as the Director of a Charleston based educational non-profit organization and Bob was on the road logging time as a Field Consultant for Dairy Queen, a national restaurant chain famous for its proprietary soft serve ice cream and all-beef burgers and hot dogs.
    His work kept him on the road as his territory included 50 stores in West Virginia, Kentucky and sometimes North Carolina. He trekked as far as Maine when his services were needed for a grand opening.
    Ironically, the Ripley and Ravenswood Dairy Queen restaurants were under Bob’s thumb as part of his territory.
    “I liked my job but the road was wearing me down and I wanted to be home in the evenings,” said Bob. “I was living out of a suitcase, basically.”
    Things were going well for the couple and they decided to take a peek at a farm in Given that was listed for sale in a local real estate guide.
    “I told Terri that I was going to schedule an appointment to look at this farm and before we knew it, we were Jackson County residents.
    Five years ago, the couple realized Bob’s dream of owning his own shops when they seized an opportunity to purchase the Ravenswood and Ripley locations. This would allow Bob to put his suitcase in the closet and be home with his family. That same year (2008), the couple welcomed their first child into the world when their daughter Ellie changed their lives forever.
    “She is such a blessing to us, she has enriched our lives in so many ways,” said Terri.
    “While we were adjusting to parenthood we had both given up our careers to focus on the shops. It was a tremendous risk for our family but we were determined to build something and we went for it.”
    Sales at both locations were sagging and the McCloys knew they had some remodeling to do if they were to lead the shops towards current, modern restaurant standards.
    Ripley was remodeled n 2009 with old, battered seating being removed, relocated and replaced and a new dining room design.
    “We are fortunate that business has grown to where we really need more seating. We are going to address this in the near future,” said Terri.
    The Ravenswood location, right off of the I77 Ravenswood/Silverton exit is currently under renovations.
    The Ripley location opened its doors in 1951 and that original structure is buried in the current structure that was updated in the early 1970’s.
    Page 2 of 2 - “You can remove a ceiling tile and see the hand hewn beams that still show hatchet marks. We would love to have a photo of the original walk-up restaurant. We have been unable to locate one. If anyone in Jackson County has one, we would be so appreciative to get a copy of it for our dining room,” said Bob.
    Ravenswood’s location was moved from the downtown area to its current location in 2003.
    The couple credits hard work, a hands on ownership approach and the efforts of quality management to their success.
    Amanda Smith, Ripley’s Store Manager has been on the job for four years and has a keen attention to detail while keeping the store clean and the employees knowledgeable about their product.
    Tara Vanwinkle has made her presence known in a short time (about a year) in Ravenswood with her hard work and unique skill set.
    The McCloys have built their dream on community involvement. Earlier this month, during the Fourth of July parade in Ripley, the McCloys gave away ice cream sandwiches during the parade. They were hand made by the McCloys and their employees - - three thousand of them.
    “We had a generator and a freezer on the float to make it happen,” laughed Terri.
    The local business also donated 500 servings of ice cream to Main Street Ripley’s celebration of West Virginia’s 150th birthday.
    “We were honored that we were asked to participate,” said Terri.
    For the last four years, over three days on Labor Day weekend, both locations offer ninety-nine cent banana splits as 840 were sold last year.
    In January they offer customer appreciation day when their entire menu is half price for a whole day. The McCloys work the entire day in the restaurants. This promotion is in its third year.
    “We try to accommodate fundraisers as best we can. We really want to give back to the community,” said Terri.
    What’s next for the McCloys ?
    “We have some ideas for the fourth of July that we are working on developing. Its top secret stuff right now,” laughed Bob.
    Whatever it is, if Bob and Terri are behind it, it is sure to be a success.
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