Abbey Minke

ST. CLOUD – St. Cloud’s Red Barn Dairy Queen has a new owner and a new plan to stay open all year long.

Jake Asfeld has taken over for Virgil and Lori Flock, who owned the Red Barn Dairy Queen, located along Highway 10, for almost 30 years. Last year, the Flocks took to Facebook to announce their plan to retire and sell the business.

Unfortunately, the Flocks weren’t having much luck finding a buyer – which Asfeld learned from his daughter, an employee of the restaurant.

“When she told us it was closing for good, I said, ‘no, there’s no way,” Asfeld explained. “So I stopped by, talked to (Virgil) and he said yeah – they couldn’t find anybody to keep it going.”

Get our free mobile app

Asfeld, who worked in fast food during his teens and early 20s, has spent the past two decades working for a variety of John Deere Dealerships.

“I was in a different career at the time, and I decided this is a great opportunity to start my own business and keep it going,” he added.

The Red Barn will be St. Cloud’s only year-round Dairy Queen – a decision made at the corporate level, Asfeld said.

“Dairy Queen kind of said, ‘you got away with being closed three months every year for the last however many years – you’re going to have to be open now,” Asfeld laughed. “And they made sure I was aware of that before I signed off on it.”

“That definitely wasn’t going to be a deal breaker for me,” he added.

Red Barn Dairy Queen reopened Wednesday, with most of the former employees deciding to return.

“We got about 90 percent of the staff back,” Asfeld said. “And without them, we wouldn’t be open. There would have been too much training to do, and too much to learn for a new owner and new employees.”

Asfeld says the restaurant will be closed later this year for a month in order to tackle some interior remodeling and equipment upgrades.

As for the building’s well-known exterior?

“For now, (Dairy Queen) has agreed to let us keep the barn look instead of the look of newer Dairy Queens,” Asfeld said. “They agreed that it’s kind of an iconic building in the area – everyone knows it.”

Advice from Minnesotans to Southerners Experiencing Winter