Dairy Queen named local Business of the Year
By JACKSON WILSON
It has been quite the journey for Lula Hampleman and her family.
The Hamplemans moved to Virden upon buying the local Dairy Queen in 1988.
Upon hearing that this particular DQ building was for sale, Hampleman never knew Virden even existed.
“When I was first told about it, I’d never heard of Virden,” Hampleman said in a past interview with Cindy Ladage. “However, I then knew it was a charming small town like my home in Pickneyville, so it fit right into the kind of atmosphere I was used to.”
Hampleman now continues her working life in honor of her husband, Kenney, who passed away 11 years prior to the Dairy Queen’s 2023 Business of the Year recognition.
“Everyone knew Kenney,” Hampleman said. “It is easy to recall his friendly face and he always had a kind word to say and joined in conversations with the diners.”
Hampleman has been involved in the DQ buisness since 1976.
“This is the only job I know,” Hampleman said. “I feel like Dairy Queen is a good Company. It is very family oriented, and that is a good thing.”
According to a column released by Ladage, the Dairy Queen has become a key part of the Virden Community’s fabric as a place where families congregate after a youth ball game, or for a meal when residents don’t feel like cooking. It’s also the place where people have dined in and driven through with both kids and their dogs.
Hampleman feels like she has truly found a second home in Virden.
“There’s a lot of work for us to do, but it’s very rewarding,” said Hampleman. We have good kids that work here. My brother and sister-in-law (married to my other brother) work here. All my kids live here.”
Hampleman also feels like she belongs during work shifts as well, due to the reliability of her employees. All 17 hired individuals are native to the North Macoupin area (Girard and Virden) with the exception of one that commutes from Springfield.
“I feel like we are a family, even though the kids that work here aren’t related, I feel like they are family. I’ve had so many kids work here over the years, some have even met and married.”
Hampleman has even played piano at the Grace Southern Baptist Church, as well as a couple of her workers’ weddings.
As a family-oriented person, Hampleman is always pursuing opportunities to give back to the community.
“I used to play for the solo contest at the school, and I try to give free ice cream to businesses and to support the local sports teams and work with the schools, churches and nursing homes,” Hampleman said.
Per Hampleman, the Virden branch is one of few Dairy Queens that, to this day, specializes in the creation and sale of homemade Dilly and Buster Bars.
Dairy Queen is located on Virden’s main drag at 1003 Springfield St.
For more information, call 217-965-4287.