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Romney woman dedicated to Dairy Queen

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Photo courtesy Ruby Winn. DQ field consultant surprised Winn with the 55 year award, which she accepted in her Romney facility. Photo courtesy Ruby Winn. DQ field consultant surprised Winn with the 55 year award, which she accepted in her Romney facility.
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By MARLA PISCIOTTA
For The State Journal

For more than a half century, Romney native Ruby Winn has either worked at or owned a Dairy Queen.

 Winn started working part time at the Dairy Queen stores in both Romney and Keyser before she graduated from high school in 1959.

The part-time work continued while she attended Potomac State College.

"In between school time, in the summer and weekends I worked at mostly the Romney Dairy Queen," Winn said. "The DQ menu wasn't nearly as big as it is now. We served soft ice cream, hot dogs and barbecue."

Winn was always business-minded. She continued working nights and weekends at the Dairy Queen and held a full-time job at a local credit union.

In 1966 Winn married the owner of the Keyser Dairy Queen.  

And as she puts it, "I married Dairy Queen."

The couple would eventually own three stores: in Romney, Keyser and Moorefield. Winn ran all three.

As time passed, Winn gave up the Keyser and Moorefield stores but has continued to own and run the Romney Dairy Queen.

 The original Romney Dairy Queen was along the sidewalk just off Route 50 at 450 Main St..

"We eventually built a new store back further on the lot," Winn said.

The new store was recently renovated, complete with a stone chimney and inside seating for more than 50 people.

"Renovation is an ongoing thing," she said. "By the time you get the last nail in, something else has to be done. It never stops."

Winn's staff is 15 strong and increases to between 20 and 25 during the summer months.

She also does all the paperwork and weekly ordering and runs a tight ship. Her staff takes care of inventory.

"I like being in business," Winn said. "I like what I do."

She has served on the DQ operator's board and currently co-chairs the ADI, which is the advertising for DQ in the Washington, D.C., area.

Her long-term business relationship with Dairy Queen has taken her to conventions in Hawaii, several in Spain, one in China and two in Japan.

Over the years she's become friends with the late Rep. Harley Staggers, D-W.Va., and his family. She used to count the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., among her many customers and most recently Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., stopped by her business for a burger on his way out of town.

"From the beginning of the Romney DQ, Congressman Staggers was our number one customer," Winn said. "His son, Danny, comes in every week.

"I meet and talk to a lot of people. I don't always remember their names."

Winn says her favorite DQ food is a soft serve sundae, which is what she grew up enjoying. 

"I like the cheeseburgers and hot dogs too," she said. "I don't want to give up my contact with people. 

"I want to keep on working as long as the good Lord lets me, as long as I have good health."