Cameron Burke is third generation Dairy Queen owner. The Creswell Dairy Queen opened in 2014. ALIYA HALL/THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Cameron Burke grew up in the Dairy Queen Industry. His parents operated one in Florence in 1978 and his grandfather was with the company for over 50 years.
Although third generation, Burke said it wasn’t always his ambition to have his own store; however, living in Eugene he said he found Creswell to be a good opportunity and good feel for him.
”I grew up in Florence, and a small, close-knit community is something I’m really used to,” he said. ”It felt like a comfortable place to start a businesses and identify with.”
Burke built the Dairy Queen in 2014, but his family didn’t move to Creswell until recently.
An average day for Burke means getting to the restaurant before it opens and maintaining the machines and facility. He also cleans the ice cream machines and grills, but most of his work is administrative.
”It’s a challenge to not over commit yourself or pigeonhole yourself into doing too much,” he said.
The biggest challenge he said is always staffing. He called it a blessing and a curse because while he meets a lot of great people who become family, everyone has their own life and personality. Burke has around 30 employees, although it fluctuates throughout the year and their ages range from 16 to 65.
”Our burden is balancing all that and letting them know they’re valued,” he said. ”I make accommodations, but rein them in with younger kids to remind them of their commitments. I’m not their dad or their teacher.”
Despite the balancing act, Burke said he enjoys the flexibility that the business offers because he can spend more time with his family. The businesses also gives him an opportunity to give back to the community, and he said that it’s, ”The responsible thing to do as a business owner and community member.”
”In a town like Creswell, a little can go a long way in a smaller community,” he said. ”You go to these events and see who gives and who doesn’t, and who is invested in the long term. I wanted to make sure we were trying to foster growth of Creswell in a healthy, organic way.”
Burke focuses on academics and literacy, and partners often with the library and with the schools for accelerated reading programs. He also works with the Creswell Chamber of Commerce to offer scholarships, though he has also been trying to set up a Dairy Queen scholarship as well.
Burke also sponsors the football team and local events, as well as helping pay for advertising costs.
”I’d like to see Creswell be a strong community,” he said. ”There’s a lot of interaction between people and businesses.”
The most rewarding aspect of Burke’s job comes in the workplace with his younger employees. He said he tries to impart advice and the wisdom he has into them.
”You hope they do better than you did and be more responsible than you were,” he said.
Moving forward Burke wants to keep the option of expansion open, but doesn’t have any concrete plans of doing so. Right now he said his focus is the community.
”We’ve been involved with the community for awhile, and I’ve always liked Creswell,” he said. ”There are people of all ages, but there is a younger group of community members and business owners to grow with and have long relationships with. They’re a fairly young and enthusiastic group of people.”