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B and B — and beyond

Jack-of-all-trades couple revitalizing restaurant into candy store, malt shop

Large wooden poles adorn the outside of the rustic building on the east side of Craig. A hodge-podge of paints, lacquers and tools are scattered around the inside. Old soft-serve ice cream dispensers sit outside.

The building that formerly housed the B and B Dairy King Drive Inn, a burger joint that’s been closed for the past couple of years, isn’t much to look at now. But, give a local couple who have made a habit of revitalizing old businesses a little time, and the landscape is bound to change.

In fact, it already has.

Craig residents Joy and Gabriel Daigle have made a habit of turning old, rundown businesses into profitable ventures. Their laundry list of projects includes 30 businesses — such as Louisiana bait shacks and New Mexico RV parks — in three states.

That makes their newest project No. 31.

“That’s what we do,” said Joy, who has lived in Craig with her husband for eight years. “There was an opportunity to buy this building and remodel it, and that’s what we’ve been doing.

“We enjoy rebuilding, taking something old and rundown and making it look nice.”

Since April, the couple have been remodeling the building to fit their latest venture — a shop designed specifically for locals with a sweet tooth. When completed, Mom and Pop’s Sweet Shop and Sugar Bear’s Candy Store will encompass 1,400 square feet.

The building will be divided into two sections. One half will be used for an ice cream and malt shop, and the other half will offer a mixture of candies, including Joy’s homemade fudge.

“We just decided to do the sweets instead of the hamburgers and fries,” Joy said.

The Daigles are the former owners of the Wild West Bar-B-Q restaurant in Craig. After selling to the owners of the new J.W. Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & B-Que at the end of 2005, the couple stayed inactive for a few months.

But they couldn’t stay that way for long, Joy said.

“We were bored, so we decided to tackle this one,” she said.

The B and B Dairy King Drive Inn was a family business for more than 50 years. The business closed after owners Gene Bruce and Beulah Burrows died within several months of each other.

For the foreseeable future, it will remain an all-in-the-family venture. The Daigles’ children, son, Will, of Craig, and daughter, Julie Whitecotton, of Hayden, have been helping with the rebuilding efforts.

Joy said the allure of sweets probably will draw her five grandchildren to the new shop.

“Oh, they can have a little, I guess,” she said. “But not that much.”

Although the Daigles have been on the project for only a little more than two months, they already have made some noticeable strides. The building’s exterior, for instance, has been replaced with new wood, giving it a log-cabin appearance.

When completed, the building also will feature a deck, patio and outside seating.

The couple have not set an opening date.

“This is a pretty darn big project here,” Joy said. “We’re hoping for pretty soon.”