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About Us

Company History

Herman Erickson was one of seven sons born to Swedish immigrant parents. During the
1920's, he started in business by trading his farm for a general store. Though Herman
Erickson focused on groceries and general merchandising throughout his career, along
the way he joined his brothers in purchasing a bankrupt refinery. Which, in the midst of
the Great Depression of the 1930's, the family dismantled and reassembled in
Minnesota. The refinery was renamed Northwestern Refining Company.

Although the refinery was sold in 1970 to Ashland, the operation sparked an interest in
fuel retailing. In 1950, Herman Erickson and his son Claire Erickson purchased their first
gas station in Red Wing, Minnesota.

Sioux Falls Station 1950
(Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the 1950's)

In 1981 a decision was made to split off the petroleum operations from the grocery operations.
Claire and his son, David, already a full-time member of the family firm, had little to fall back on
except their business knowledge and good name. Yet it proved to be enough. By 1983,
convenience store operations had grown into a wholly owned subsidiary, Freedom Valu Centers.

In recent years, Erickson Oil also has switched from an exclusively rural operation to a chain that
serves metropolitan and suburban markets. By placing 40 percent of the stores in urban areas and
the remainder in rural locations, David believes, "Our company benefits from the geographic
diversity. When some markets are down, others are up, so it averages out our margins and keeps
us consistent."


David Erickson loses life in motorcycle accident

David Erickson, the Chief Executive Officer of Erickson Oil Products, Inc. / Freedom Valu Centers based in Hudson, died Wednesday July 28th as a result of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident near Bozeman, Montana. His wife, Debi, was with him and sustained minor injuries. She was treated at a local hospital in Bozeman.

Erickson, 55, is the son of the late Claire and Betty Lou Erickson and was a 1973 graduate of Hudson High School. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the accident happened shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday on Bridger Canyon Road. The motorcycle was northbound when it drifted off the right side of the road and over an embankment at mile marker 21.4, north of Bridger Bowl ski area, Montana Highway Patrol trooper Erick Fetterhoff said.

"The motorcycle went off the road and struck a few rocks," Fetterhoff said in the Daily Chronicle story.

Erickson was transported to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Both David and Debi were wearing helmets. Fetterhoff said alcohol and speed were not factors in the accident.

The tragedy is the second to strike the family in just over a year. On March 24, 2009, David’s parents, Claire and Betty Lou, died tragically in the couple’s Hudson home.

In addition to his wife Debi, he is survived by his three children Ashley, Bradley, Grady and his two sisters, Mimi (Jim) Kron of Hudson and Kristi (Michael) Kampmeyer of the Twin Cities. Another sister Nancy (1951-1974) died in an auto accident in Colorado Oct. 23, 1974.

The late Herman Erickson (David’s grandfather) was involved in the grocery business when he moved to Hudson in 1939. In 1950, the company diversified into the gasoline business with the first store in Red Wing, Minn. Herman, Claire and brothers Dean and Eugene continued in the retail grocery and gasoline business until 1981.

In 1981, the company divided and Claire and his family became solely involved in the retail gasoline business, Erickson Oil Products – DBA Freedom Valu Centers.

After Claire’s death last year, David assumed full control of the Erickson Oil operation. A company spokesman said a plan is in place for the company to continue forward.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Debi and their family,” said Sherry Jerry, executive assistant. “Our focus is on supporting the Erickson family during this difficult time.”

Officials added that “although David’s death is untimely and tragic the Erickson Family has planned for successive leadership and has a strong team of experienced professionals to lead the company today and into the future.”

By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer

  Freedom Valu Centers
1231 Industrial Street
Hudson, WI 54016