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Dairy Queen eyes Whistler

But the chain needs a franchisee owner first

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The Concept Development Manager for Dairy Queen Canada believes his company is on the cusp of opening a store in Whistler.

Dairy Queen re-branded its stores in 2003 as DQ Grill and Chill and Steve Leavens said that once a letter-of-intent is signed his company could start work on a "Grill and Chill" store within the next four months.

Leavens indicated that the twist in this deal is that DQ Grill and Chill needs a franchisee to run the store or they will not be coming to Whistler, even if their lease proposal is approved.

"This is the most immediate type of opportunity, that’s why I’m aggressively marketing, because if we do not have the right candidate (for franchisee) we’re not going to be there at all," said Leavens.

"It’s not something we’re going to open and run corporately. But if we can get what we need then we could be beginning construction realistically four months from now."

While restaurant space in Whistler is a rare commodity there are a few spaces that could host a DQ Grill and Chill.

The space formerly occupied by the Whistler Noodle House next to the IGA in Marketplace would be the most obvious choice because it is near another big chain restaurant, McDonald’s. But there is also space available in the building that houses the Royal Bank and Busterinos.

Leavens said it would be premature to mention the location because nothing has been signed and the landlord has been negotiating with other potential tenants.

"We don’t have a lease yet by any means… but I would say it’s a matter of days before you see a 4x8 sign in the windows of the location because that’s one of the conditions in our letter.

"Right now it’s all about marketing to identify the franchisee person who will own and operate it," he said. "They have to be a local person and they must have restaurant experience and they’ll have to hire three full time managers and they would need to have $300,000 in unencumbered cash just to meet our criteria.

"In Whistler Village I do believe you do need to be a proverbial genius to run this and to understand the village. That’s why it’s mandatory that the person has a reputation and has been in Whistler Village for enough time that they will have a secret to success."

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