Freedom Valu Center convenience stores are privately held family owned stores located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Michigan. Our store associates take pride in the quality products and services we offer in our stores.

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.

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.”