Young and Jung Shin have owned the longest running business in Highland for 40 years, initially as Dairy Queen, but now known as California Grill N’ Treats.
The Dairy Queen opened in the 1960s on Base Line and the Shins purchased that business in June 1981.
The iconic business had two previous owners for a total of 17 years. The Shins bought it as a Dairy Queen.
Young Shin, now 74, said it was a lot of hard work running the original site, which was open seven days a week.
He worked from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. most days and had anywhere from 12 to 16 employees.
Shin knew the importance of hard work having watched his father, Heung Shin, a farmer, earn a living for his wife, Kim Shin, and their eight children in Korea.
Young Shin graduated from high school and then served in the army for three years. He then enrolled in a local college to earn a degree in political science. He met his wife, Jung, when she was working part-time for her father in the college bookstore, where Young was a customer.
Young and Jung Shin married in 1975 and moved to the United States in 1977. They settled in Downey, where he worked at an aircraft store for several years.
But Young wanted his own business and to be his own boss.
He enlisted the help of a realtor to find him business opportunities. The realtor found the Dairy Queen business for sale on Base Line and Reedy Avenue.
So the Shins moved to the Inland Empire. Young Shin said it took some time to make the Dairy Queen business profitable.
“When I took over, it wasn’t very busy,” he said.
The busiest times were at night, Shin said.
The nearest fast-food restaurants in 1981 were Baker’s and Taco Bell, on Base Line. There wasn’t a lot of competition, he said. The only sit-down restaurant was Uncle Remus, which is now Kay’s Café, Shin said.
He remained at the original location until his lease expired and decided to build a fast-food restaurant at the corner of Central and Base Line. It opened in 2012.
He chose the site on Central because it was a vacant lot and it took a year to build the restaurant and drive-thru.
Since the pandemic, the Shins had to close the dining room portion of the fast-food restaurant, but they keep the drive-thru open.
Young said they have kept the inside closed because of the COVID pandemic and now they rely solely on the drive-thru. Jung runs the business and they have four employees.
The Shins have two sons, Willie, born in 1978, and Colin, born in 1981, and two grandchildren.
Neither of their sons want to buy the business, Young Shin said.
He will keep the business a few more years, then either sell or lease it.
Young said he retired eight years ago and has no desire to manage a business again.
One of the joys of owning the business for 40 years is having customers come up to him and say they came to get ice cream with their parents when they were kids and now they are bringing their grandchildren.