BUCKHANNON — Many years ago, Buckhannon-native Chris Brake decided to open his own ice cream stop after working for Dairy Queen in different capacities for more than 10 years. On April 3, 1998, Brake’s Dairy King opened its doors to the public at 2A Clarksburg Road, in Buckhannon. Since then, Brake’s Dairy King has been a local icon and hot spot for an endless amount of first dates, meals among co-workers, families and friends, and social gatherings filled with big smiles that end with delicious ice cream.
After nearly 24 years of serving the community, Brake has decided to close the business and pursue his next journey. Due to recent staffing issues, Brake and his team have unfortunately been unable to fill shift vacancies and find reliable workers. Brake explained, “Around Labor Day, we lost three of our key adult employees to jobs that provide health insurance, and since then, we’ve been unable to find adult workers.” Despite the struggle with staffing, he shared his gratitude for the many loyal employees he’s had the pleasure of working with over the past 24 years. “I’ve had some great kids come through here over the years, and getting to have some influence on them has been the highlight,” Brake stated.
Brake’s daughter, Abbie Brake Williams, shared her bittersweet farewell Friday morning to the business that has always been a part of her life. She shared, “On one hand, I’m hopeful that my dad will get an actual break for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, but on the other hand, this is a very real grief. While it might sound strange, this business is a huge piece of our family and my relationship with my dad. Not many kids get the opportunity to work side-by-side with their parents, and there is something really special about it—about how and what we learn about life and about each other. There will never be enough thanks in my mouth to honor all of the thanks in my heart—both to the community for their support of this business and to the man who built it.”
Chelsea Loudin worked at Brake’s Dairy King for 15 years, where she built a relationship with the Brake family, and the community. “The best part of my job was the relationships I made with my customers. They became family. I grew up there. Learned a lot of life lessons. I’m very thankful for Chris and my coworkers who were always there for me,” Loudin expressed.
Brake said he already has new opportunities lined up for himself in the near future. He joked, “For once, I’ll get to be the employee, not the employer. The supervised, rather than the supervisor.”
Brake’s Dairy King will officially close on Sunday, November 14 at 8:00 p.m. Stop in for a banana split, a razzle, their infamous potato soup, and so much more before they’re gone! Brake’s food and culture will be dearly missed by an entire community of people, and folks far beyond Buckhannon. Best wishes on the next chapter in life to Chris Brake and family from your neighbors next door at The Record Delta!