PRESTON – Sawyer Hemsley is the founder and COO of Crumbl Cookies, and he’s making big investments in his hometown of Preston, Idaho. He has been buying business properties along the town’s State Street.
One of the businesses he would like to resurrect is the Polar Bear Drive-in.
The hamburger drive-in was a mainstay in Preston for 53 years. It employed loads of Preston High School students and was also a popular hangout. The location of the new Polar Bear has not been announced yet. The previous fast food restaurant closed in 2005 and the building is no longer there.
Hemsley was sad to see the State Street fast food spot close.
“My small town was devastated as this food establishment that had so many nostalgic memories connected to it,” Sayer wrote in a Crumbl newsletter recently. “The menu, atmosphere and service was truly magical.”
Hemsley’s grandparents and parents enjoyed eating there.
“I’m pleased to announce that we are waking ‘The Bear’ out of his deep slumber and we are taking you along for the ride,” Sawyer exclaimed. “So get excited.”
The Hemsleys have begun the process of finding the right location.
“We met with the Larsens, the former owners of the Polar Bear, got their blessing, bought all of their trade secrets and recipes,” Lance Hemsley, Sawyers father said. “We are currently working with the engineers and architects on the design of the building.”
He also purchased the First Security Bank building located on the corner of State Street and Oneida and has turned it into a Hemsley Ventures building.
“We purchased the bank building for a holding company so I can have some place to work in Preston,” he said.
He has also purchased other main street properties besides the bank building. Among the businesses Hemsley purchased is the Kings, Sprouse Reitz, Preston Citizen with the State Liquor Store, Gingerbread Shop, Rae’s Bakery and Sandwich Shop.
Some of the buildings have been vacant for years.
Lance Hemsley, Sawyer’s father, said it’s his way of giving back to the community.
Sawyer wrote on his Facebook page that he adored Preston and wanted to help the community.
One of the changes he wanted to make was the façade of the Worm Creek House.
The theater board rejected the idea.
Lance said Sawyer are working to keep things going in Orem with 300 plus cookie franchises in 42 states. They currently have 300 employees and just moved into their new three-story Crumbl Headquarters in Orem.
Shawn Oliverson, Preston’s economic development specialist and assistant planner, said he thinks Hemsley investing in downtown properties could be a positive thing for Preston.
“We know he has been successful with his business and we hope he will do the same with whatever businesses he brings to Preston,” he said. “We think it could be a good thing for our community.”
Preston has a lot of vacant buildings on State Street and some of them have issues.
“If Hemsley can bring in his successful business practices and make downtown into something desirable it could help a lot of people,” he said. “We want him to be successful in revitalizing State Street.”
Despite the 150 mile and two-and-a-half-hour drive from Preston to Orem – and the success of their son’s business – Lance and Laurie plan to stay in Preston.