Founder of Lackey’s Dairy Queen, Paul Lackey was born in Cranberry Township, when Cranberry Twp was just a dirt road and a few farms. He attended Mars High School and played football. He received a football scholarship, but didn’t use it because he said “I only owned one pair of decent trousers.” In 1938 Paul met and married Beatrice Goetz from West View. Together they had two daughters Alice and Joyce, and one son Gene. In 1943, gratefully utilizing the talent of several family members they started construction of their home near Saxonburg. Paul worked for Armco Steel as a machinist for nearly 25 years but could never get used to the swing shift work.
Lackeys Dairy Queen
Paul enjoyed a Dairy Queen treat now and then at a Dairy Queen on Route 8 in Penn Twp. It was there that they met Al and Helen Riggle who owned and operated it. Al Riggle told Paul to find a location on a good well traveled road, and Al would sell him a Dairy Queen franchise and help him get started. Paul would park along the road at several locations until he found the best site right here along the Kiski River on Route 66 in North Apollo. The property was bought from Mr Bash and was actually a very large hole that needed a lot of fill. With much work from family and friends, Lackeys Dairy Queen was built and opened in July 1955. About that same time Paul and Bea were blessed with another daughter Dolly.
That very first day in late July 1955 when the store first opened for business, they didn’t have money in the cash drawer to make change. Their first customer was a man who ordered a sundae and needed change. Paul told him to just enjoy it and to drop the money off next time. As he said, “You can run a business on that. Give something away and it will come back in some way when you need it most.” Later in the day they borrowed $80 from Bea’s father to put in the cash drawer.
August 3, 1955 The Formal Grand Opening
Through The Years
Gene Lackey, working at the store, around 1963 and 1985.
Beauty Queen Contest 1958
Customers were able to vote every time they purchased a Dairy Queen item.
Eating Their Weight In Ice Cream!!
More Great Pictures!
Here is Gene with an awesome amount of Bananas,
ready for a big 2 Day Banana Split Sale!
First Windbag Regatta on the Kiski River, 1971
Anything That Floats!
Celebrating 30 Years
First Place Float in Apollo’s 1985 Moon Landing Parade
The Lackey family has touched many hundreds of Apollo families over the last 62 years. Many kids worked summers to help pay for college or their first car; some even met future husbands or wives. It’s always been the place to go for a cool treat on a warm summer evening.
In January 2015, Matt Spires, an employee of the DQ, was able to buy the business when Gene & Jan Lackey retired. Matt is now married and has a baby boy. He is committed to continuing the great reputation that Lackey’s Dairy Queen has enjoyed through the years.
An article from the Valley News Dispatch, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/lackeys-dairy-queen-in-north-apollo-plans-leap-day-reopening/?fbclid=IwAR3eQ9dHl3vqk0fxjaZ7SHSNfZ5chPVuos9mAVlxUeN6lwdLw1HApp5erL4
Thank you. Dolly Lackey McCoy, for providing the photos & info for use in this blog.