By Bruce Claflin, Scuttlebutt Magazine
Erickson Marine of Hastings is celebrating an anniversary this year. Fifty years in the Boating and Marine business. This is no small feat for a business, to be successful for 50 years. In our world today, stores in strip malls are changing out every few months. Even some good size businesses have a difficult time making it to 20 years. When you’ve run the same family business in the same city for 50 years, you become a fixture. Erickson Marine is a fixture in Hastings. They’ve operated there for half a century. They have showrooms on Highway 61 just north of town, including a massive 22,000 square foot service center capable of servicing and storing boats up to 50’ in length. That facility houses an indoor showroom with the room to show boats of any size, at any time of year. It’s one of the nicest in the upper Midwest, but it hasn’t always been that way.
The first Erickson Marine showroom was a rented vacant lot.
Back in 1961, Roger and June Erickson had a small hardware store in Hastings, a Gamble’s Hardware Store. They had a desire to grow and diversify their business, so they began selling boats in the store’s parking lot. They rented a small vacant lot between their store and an adjacent Grocer. Fencing it in provided them the space they needed to store boats, and Erickson Marine was born. Roger had a test tank at home where he tested motors prior to sale. In 1967, the Erickson’s opened a marine dealership dedicated to selling quality products and providing exceptional service. Those early years laid the foundation for the Erickson Marine we know today.
Over the years, they sold furniture, TVs, lawn mowers, snowmobiles and more. Roger handled the sales, and June handled everything administrative. They built their business on honestly and integrity, and they built it together. The growth they achieved in the marine related business prompted them to build a new full service dealership at the current location on Hwy. 61. They would spend most of the 1970’s with their efforts totally in the marine business. Constantly striving for perfection, Erickson Marine has received many industry awards for sales and service. As a result of their dedication and commitment to the marine industry, Roger and June were inducted into the North Central Marine Association’s Hall of Fame in 1999. Sadly, Roger Erickson passed away in 2001 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. He is missed by all, but his spirit will always remain with Erickson Marine.
Roger and June built a very solid foundation for Erickson Marine. A foundation their son Jon would continue to build upon after completing his education at Gustavus Adolphus in 1982 and joining the family business. Working side by side with his father, Jon would learn the business first hand. Not just the nuts and bolts of it, but also the commitment to quality and outstanding customer service that his parents believed in. With those lessons in tow, Jon has done the job of guiding the business into the present. They don’t sell furniture anymore (unless you need a captain’s chair or a pontoon seat that looks like a couch) but they do sell everything you need to have fun on the water.
Today, Erickson sells a broad range of marine products, and an equally broad range of boats. Whether you are looking for a fishing boat, runabout, deckboat, pontoon, or performance cruiser, they will have it. They represent the brands that are among the top in the industry, brands like Cobalt, Formula, Lund, Hurricane, Harris, Pursuit, Crownline, and Tiara. They have a boat for any family marine adventure. When you’ve been doing it for 50 years, you are probably doing things right.
Stop by the Minneapolis Boat Show in January and wish them a happy anniversary. They are located in Booths 403, 1003, 1803, and 1901. If you miss them at the Boat Show, they are hosting an ‘OPEN HOUSE’ at their showroom in Hastings on January 19th-21st. Watch their website at EricksonMarine.com for details.