Paul and Fran’s Grocery has a new look. As of January 2nd 2017. Eric and Sara Ericson, Paul and Fran’s son-in-law and daughter have taken possession of the store and are excited to announce the new name of E & S Fresh Market LLC. Eric and Sara have 2 children, Calvin and Carter who attend Pepin Elementary. Eric is a familiar face, as he has been working at the store for 8 years. He has learned all the recipes for the many types of sausages made here at the store. Sara is a nurse at Mayo Hospital in Rochester but will also be helping Eric as often as her schedule allows.
Paul and Fran moved here 21+ years ago after buying the store from Danny and Susan Kircher in 1996. The store has so much history! The store was built in 1890 by August Theis. An old photograph shows the Theis Brothers store on 1st Street. His business had been on First Street, but in the 1890’s many businesses moved from their old locations on First Street up to the new business area on Second Street. It was said that customers preferred doing business on Second Street, so they could avoid driving their horses near the trains. (taken from “Notes from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Society”) . In an article that was shared with Paul and Fran from Linda Brassfield, it was written there were 3 generations of Lawson’s that over a span of 50 years participated in the operation of the store. John A Lawson immigrated with his parents to the area in 1869 from his native Sweden. Mr Lawson worked in the Lake City and Stockholm areas before settling in Pepin. Upon coming to Pepin, he got his first taste of merchandising in 1893 in the general store of E. Langers, a pioneer Pepin establishment.
After eight years employment with Mr. Langers and another 8 years with August Theis, Mr Lawson established his own firm in 1906 with a Plum City man, William Johnson. Their business was located in the Masonic Building. In 1919, Mr. Lawson’s son Ellis W. Lawson returned from World War 1 and entered business with his father. In 1920 the new firm of J.A Lawson and son purchased the building of H.A Theis, which is now Paul and Fran’s. In June of 1926, Pepin’s only bank, The First National Bank of Pepin closed its doors. The store then became a service center for check cashing, collecting NSP bills, handling payroll for the Pepin Creamery, Northern Manufacturing Company and Burlington Railroad employees and others. Many of these activities continued until August of 1944, when The American Bank of Alma opened a branch in Pepin. John A. Lawson continued in the business with his son until January 1940, when he sold his interest in the business to his son and the store continued under the name of “E.W. Lawson General Merchandise”. In 1946 Ellis Lawson was joined in the business with the return of his son, John W. Lawson from 4 years of World War II service. John W. Lawson remained in the firm until 1953.
In 1951 the business underwent a significant change in operation, appearance and name. All dry goods, men's furnishings and footwear were closed out and the store was completely remodeled to include new fixtures and converted to a “self service” operation. The new name was “Lawson’s Cash Store”. They continued until December 31st 1956 when merchandise and building were purchased by W.M and Donna Thompson who operated the business under the name “Thompson Supermarket.” When it was purchased by Dan and Susan Kircher in 1982, the name was changed to “Dan’s Cash Store”. Dan had learned to be a butcher while working in the Thompson store. Dan and Susan continued until fall of 1996, when they sold the store to Paul and Fran Riesgraf.
Paul and Fran moved here from Jordan, Minnesota, where Paul owned a concrete and masonry construction company and Fran was a nurse in Labor and Delivery at a local hospital. The beauty of this area, family and a desire to do something new brought them to Pepin. They have felt blessed that many of this area have supported their store and have continued to shop locally.
Paul and Fran hope that you will continue to support Eric and Sara as they start this new adventure. They will be taking over January 1st 2018. Eric and Sara will be offering many of the great products that you have loved including fresh cut meats and 28 types of sausages made by hand in the meat room. Eric will continue to make these sausages with the same recipes. We are especially known for our Brats which include a Wild rice, Regular and Cheddar Brat. Some of the other specialty sausages are our assortment of Turkey sausages, which include a Spinach Feta and a Sun-dried Tomato Basil. Potato Sausage and Breakfast Sausage Links are just a couple more examples to come in and check out!
They will still have the following local services also available for you at the store - Jenny Lind Breads and Baked Goods, Jules Dry Cleaning, Local Produce when available from Good Turn Farms, Local honey from Honey Hill Aviary, Matt Buvala Chicken and Fresh eggs, Organic Beef from Good News Farms, Bacon, Skin on Wieners, Beef Sticks & Bologna from Watkins, lamb from Hickory Hills and coffee from Pepin’s own roaster, BlueCaf Coffee Roasters.
Shop local for fresh food and you'll know the people who have handled it. Let’s help keep our businesses alive here in Pepin!
Paul and Fran want to THANK YOU for the past 21 years and the support you have given them! We couldn’t have survived without you! Eric and Sara are going to do great and are ready to welcome you into their store…
E & S Fresh Market LLC!