Iconic Sanibel Dairy Queen closes after 52 years

Reporter: Annalise Iraola Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

Here’s an inside scoop on some local history.

The iconic Dairy Queen on Sanibel is closing down after being around to soft serve generations.

The ice cream shop will close after taking too much damage from Hurricane Ian.

After Ian, it sustained water damage, and it’s missing some red shingles, but the Sanibel Dairy Queen is still unmistakable.

“I used to come here as a kid,” said Jeff Burns, global real estate advisor for Sotheby’s. “I’ve probably been here hundreds of times, eating and enjoying the ice cream.”

The Dairy Queen is now for sale after 52 years of ownership by the Meyers family.

“This is kind of like an iconic listing on Sanibel, you know, you have the Sanibel Lighthouse, a few other places that people, you know, absolutely recognize. They talk about Santa Island, and the Dairy Queen is one of them,” Burns said.

It is listed along with two neighboring plots for $2 million, and the listing is getting lots of attention.

“It’s probably getting 15 to 20 calls a day,” Burns said.

The Meyers family bought the Dairy Queen on Sanibel in 1972, just one year after it first opened.

“It’s been an adventure, to say the least,” said Ronald Meyers Jr. “You know, everybody enjoys an ice cream.”

Many Meyers family members worked in and ran the Dairy Queen over the years.

“It was a great place for them to start working as young people, and from there I just decided it was something that I wanted to keep in our family for quite a while,” Meyers said.

After Ian and due to their age, the Meyers family made the difficult decision to sell the location.

For many Southwest Florida locals, like Mary Ann Cowart, family memories were made at the Dairy Queen.

“It was just fun to say, hey, if you do well on a math test, or a spelling test, we’ll stop by and have a Blizzard on Friday,” Cowart said, “so we really, it was just a lot of great memories of the Dairy Queen.”

Regardless of what comes next, the Sanibel Dairy Queen holds a special place in people’s hearts.

“I so hope that somebody buys it and loves it as much as the islanders love it,” Cowart said. “It may have to change to meet codes, but I hope the spirit of the Dairy Queen continues, and they keep it as a DQ.”

So even if it maybe missing some of those red shingles, with a little love and new equipment it could easily come back.

The real estate advisor said that although getting a franchise permit on Sanibel is a challenge, the Dairy Queen franchise for this property is grandfathered in.

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