The owners of the Dairy Queen and Orange Julius at Southgate Mall closed their doors last week after more than 40 years in operation, and potential tenants already are eyeing the prime location, the general manager confirmed Tuesday.
A sign on the gate in front of the DQ said the following: "After 42 years, we at Dairy Queen have decided to close our doors. Thank you, Missoula. DQ and OJ Crew."
Southgate Mall general manager Tim Winger said the four owners were in their 80s and 90s and decided they were no longer interested in running the business.
"They just ran out of gas with wanting to be open, and we left in a really good relationship," Winger said.
The popular Dairy Queen on Higgins Avenue remains open, but co-owner Jim Auger said in a text message the shop has been getting questions from customers.
"I just wanted to clarify that we are not closing," Auger said.
The DQ at the mall sits near its main entrance, and Winger said a food vendor and a couple of other potential businesses are looking at the space.
"I think yet this year we'll have somebody operating in at least part of it," he said.
Other businesses are preparing to open at the mall. Staff are preparing for a Lululemon to open in September, Winger said. Noodle Express is reopening in August at a different location in the mall, and a sushi and ramen shop will open the same month.