Fort Frances Dairy Queen changes hands to new family legacy

Natali Trivuncic
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

For the first time in 60 years, Fort Frances’ Dairy Queen has a new owner. Yogesh Patel became the new owner of the local Dairy Queen in November which was formally run by Christin Thomson and her sister Candice Thomson Kadikoff.

Patel said he has friends in Fort Frances who told him it was a good opportunity and also said the people and the town are really nice.

Patel said he grew up in a small town in India until he was 22, when he then he moved to Canada. His father is a farmer and he said because of him he knows a bit about farming and that he enjoys the small town atmosphere because it reminds him of where he grew up.

“The town atmosphere is very attractive to me. It is in my heart,” Patel said.

He said it is also nice not to be stuck in traffic anymore, which was a common problem when he lived in Edmonton. Now he enjoys a much more peaceful lifestyle.

Thomson, who started wiping counters at the Dairy Queen as soon as she could reach them, said she never envisioned that one day she would be running the business. She had dreams of becoming a professional golf player even going away to school on a golf scholarship. but had to put those dreams on hold when her dad got sick.

Thomson and her sister then took over the business and ran it for 13 out of the 60 years.

She said that over the years they have doubled in sales and gone through a few renovations, making it quite a different business since their grandparents and father ran it.

Although business at the Dairy Queen was booming, Thomson said they were ready to move on.

“We just had different personal interests that we wanted to pursue and we kind of felt that it was time,” Thomson said.

As the third generation to run the business, Thomson said it was a hard decision to come to because of the family ties.

“It’s the family connection that is the hardest to move on from but we’re very proud of what we did to carry on that tradition and it will always be something that we can be proud of that our family did and put their best into it,” Thomson said.

Her grandfather Elgin Thomson brought the Dairy Queen to Fort Frances when it was just starting as a walk up ice cream stand. Thomson said she remembers her grandfather as ‘the ultimate customer service guy.’

“He really loved what he did. He wore the original very clean uniform and he would have his little paper hat that he would wear,” Thomson said. “If anything, as we move on that’s the kind of passion that I want to have for that things that we continue to do and want to bring into this community as well.”

Thomson said they will miss the community and seeing everyone on a regular basis, as well as their employees who have become like family over the years.

“It’s always been an extension of our home,” Thomson said. “It was always a place that when we were kids I looked forward to stopping in and visiting my dad so that’s probably my fondest memory is just popping in and seeing him in his office, that is what I will always remember.”

Thomson said they are happy with the new owner and they wish them all the success.

Due to COVID-19, Patel said they are only able to have the drive through open but that it hasn’t slowed down business. Patel has been a previous business owner in Edmonton but this is his first Dairy Queen. He lived there for 10 years before moving to Fort Frances with his wife and toddler.

Patel said Christine and Candice helped him a lot when he was first taking over and is very grateful for that. He also is grateful to the community for welcoming him and being so kind.

“And in the future I will always be ready to help the community in any case that arises,” Patel said

While his daughter is a little young to start helping around the business, Patel said she enjoys coming to the store and eating the french fries.