Airline Dairy Creme Sold to Local Family

The Airline Dairy Creme, a four-generation family business in Vandalia, is welcoming a new family at the helm.

Allen and Sarah Lay, owners of Kona Ice of Troy, purchased the 58-year-old business after owner Nancy Suther decided to retire. Kona Ice’s warehouse, kitchen and 11 shaved ice trucks are located in Vandalia, where the entrepreneurial couple manage seasonal concession businesses at Cassel Hills Pool and the Vandalia Recreation Center. They also own Timeless Tacos Catering and Food Truck.

Suther called the decision to sell the business bittersweet.

“It’s been 48 years of my life, and it’s time to leave,” said Suther, who started working alongside her father as a teenager. “It’s a bittersweet moment because it’s been such a joy and privilege to serve our loyal, faithful customers. I’m confident that Allen and Sarah will maintain strong customer service and the old-fashioned family values that are part of the Airline Dairy Creme’s reputation.”

On Valentine’s Day in 1964, Frederick Krimm and his namesake son opened the Dairy Creme next to the Airline Theatre, which they owned and managed. In the heart of the “Crossroads of America” across from the Dayton Airport, a local landmark was born. Over the decades, the business expanded to include a dining room and landscaped patio dining. The menu, which initially offered soft serve ice cream and 19-cent hamburgers “with all the trimmings,” now carries a variety of sandwiches, homemade soups, popular soft pretzels and ice cream concoctions, like its trademark peanut butter shakes. All are prepared fresh.

“We’re a new local family carrying on the tradition. We frequent there a lot,” said Allen Lay, who enjoys the burgers, fried mushrooms — and his favorite, Hawaiian cyclones.

“We love the community feel, the old diner’s feel to the place.”

The Lays say they intend to keep the restaurant’s branding and staffing, but will install an online portal to place orders and are considering expanding the menu to include box lunches and more hot food options, such as a cheesesteak melt, chicken salad melt and cheese curds (“because we love them”).

The couple, who are part of the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce, want to give back to the community by partnering with local organizations on “dine to donate” events. This year, Kona Ice of Troy raised more than $100,000 for local nonprofits and schools through joint fundraising efforts.

Nancy Suther and her brother, Mike Krimm, will work side by side with the Lays until Nov. 4 to provide a seamless transition.

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