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Fent’s Dairy open, hiring

A local rest stop for youth baseball players and their families has reopened its restaurant and now has a 30,000-square-foot expansion, a drive-through and dine in service.

Fent’s Dairy Corner, started in 1972 by Orla Fent at the corner of Shrine Road and Ohio 41, re-opened March 22 but will have a grand opening celebration starting at 11 a.m. today. Three of Fent’s five children acquired the restaurant in 2009 and set in motion a new vision for the family business.

“We have a big selection of customers that continue to come for many, many years,” said Rita Hall, Fent’s daughter and co-owner.

Traditionally families from Northwestern Local Schools stopped at the restaurant after baseball and soccer games.

“We strongly work with school systems and all the surrounding communities,” Hall said. “The community built our store, and we say that the community made us what we are and now they’ve built our new building.”

The expansion was built by local contractors who are regular customers.

The grand opening will be held on the 41st anniversary of the business. Hall said the store has the same mindset as always, to offer low prices and large portions. They continue to use the same suppliers as 41 years ago.

But it has recently added pizza and new subs to the menu.

Business is up, largely because the dining area and drive-through allow the restaurant to be open year-round. Fent’s Dairy Corner has hired more than 10 additional workers, for a total of 25 employees, and will have to hire more once training is complete.

“The recent expansions of local businesses such as Wright-Patt Credit Union, Strive@CRSI and Fent’s Dairy show there is confidence in the local economy and that we are continuing to move in a positive direction,” said Kelly Mori, spokeswoman for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

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