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Dickey’s Barbecue Pit shutters doors in Tri-Cities

The three Dickey’s Barbecue Pit restaurants in the Tri-Cities closed on June 13.

Local owner Dan Pelfrey said the closures are the result of a combination of factors, including higher employee wages and severe winter weather.

“Winter didn’t help us out at all. It hurt us bad and put us backward in lot of areas and we’ve been playing catch up ever since,” Pelfrey told the Journal of Business.

The state Department of Revenue filed tax warrants totaling $83,391.94 against Dickey’s for unpaid taxes: $49,891.27 on March 5 in Benton County and $33,500.67 on May 10 in Franklin County.

Pelfrey said the three restaurants employed more than two dozen people.

The local franchise opened at 122 Highway 395 in Kennewick in 2014 and at 2530 Queensgate Drive in Richland in 2015.

The Pasco restaurant was among the first tenants in a new strip mall on Burden Boulevard that opened last May.

Pelfrey said he appreciated the support of his loyal customers for the past five years.

“That’s what helped us out over those five years of being in business: our loyal customers in Tri-Cities. It’s tough for all of us and our Dickey’s family when it comes to employees. But we are working hard to get back open and hope to open as soon as possible to give them authentic Texas barbecue,” Pelfrey said.

There’s no timeline for when new owners take control, as Pelfrey said it’s out of his hands.

“Things are fluid as of right now and it’s out of my control,” he said.

A spokesperson for Dickey’s corporate office said: “Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. is aware of the store closures and is working cooperatively with the owner-operator to re-open the locations as soon as possible.”

In 1941, Travis Dickey, a World War II veteran, opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Dallas, Texas. Franchising began in 1994 after customers and barbecue fanatics wanted more locations. Today with more than 500 locations in 45 states, including a dozen in Washington.

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