On Tuesday evening, Kevin Welsh, owner of Dairy Queen, and his crew met at the Homewood establishment. But unlike a typical summer evening, they weren't serving the shop's popular ice cream treats. They were busy securing the building after it was heavily damaged when an SUV slammed into it early that morning.
The impact of the crash destroyed much of the east wall of the building on the corner of Ridge Road and Gladville Avenue. The vehicle came to rest almost entirely inside the shop.
Two people were injured in the crash, which occurred about 3:30 a.m. Police are investigating the incident and have not released information about the cause or the condition of the vehicle's occupants.
By mid-afternoon the Welsh family posted a message on the shop's Facebook page thanking the community for an outpouring of support and sympathy. The family pledged to rebuild and continue the shop's tradition as one of Homewood's most popular summer spots.
"Rest assured we will rebuild and it will be the same community staple that everyone has come to know and love," the message stated. "We are most thankful that this occurred during the hours that we were not open and no customers or employees were hurt.
"Please know that the best way to support us is to come out and celebrate with us when we have our grand reopening!"
A temporary wall was partially in place by 7 p.m. and the crew continued to work.
Katie Welsh Tracy, DQ bookkeeper and sister of manager Kelly Welsh, watched as the work proceeded. She said members of the family had been on scene since shortly after the accident.
She said the family not only intends to rebuild but is hoping to reopen before the end of this season.
"Our 51st season is not over yet," she said. "We will be open again this year, some way, somehow."
She said the family would know more about the timetable later in the week. The next step after securing the building is to get assessments of the situation from insurance officials.
The Welsh family posted on its Facebook page a message of concern about the two people injured.
"As we progress through our second day of recovery, our thoughts and prayers are with both victims who were in the car involved in this tragic accident."