Special events

 1902- 1937    Stow  MA.
 Eriksons Dairy was started by Hans Erikson Sr. sometime around the year 1902.  The Eriksen farm known as Hill Side Farm was located on the corner of Hastings Street and White Pond Road in Stow. There were many apple trees along with the usual gardening. Logging  was done in the woods now known as the town woods. Cows and chickens were kept on the farm.  This is were  Hans Eriksen Sr. started the dairy business. Cows often roamed on what is now called Assabet Heights. Assebet St. off of Great Rd. now leads to many homes that have been built there.  Milk was delivered by horse and wagon.  The milk was poured from large cans into customer owned small containers at the doorstep.  Hans H.A. Erikson, founder of the present  Erikson’s Dairy helped with chores on the farm with his two sisters until entering the army for World War I.  After returning from France, he attended Wentworth Institute in Boston for law and at the same time helped on the farm.  At sometime between 1918 and 1923, the farm was sold and the Erikson’s moved to a new house  (what is now 11 Great Road., Stow).  The barn at the old farm no longer stands. It was torn down in 2000. The dairy, which looked like six or seven single car garages all put together in a row and connected, was located behind the new house.  It consisted of four stalls for his car and milk trucks. The milk was processed in the middle of the building. There was a pasteurizing vat, milk cooling machine,  a bottling machine and a water tank (for cleaning bottles). The cows had been sold and he started to purchase milk for distribution from other farms in Stow.  The milk was brought into the dairy where it was now pasteurized and bottled before delivery.  Today, the old dairy no longer stands.  The house was gutted by fire in 1984 and refurbished by the Vincent family who now live there.  In 1923 Hans married Mary Boyd, who had come to Stow from Magnolia to teach at Hale High School where she was assistant principle at the time of the wedding.  The newly married couple settled in one of the homes which used to occupy the area that is now The Stow Town Hall.  In the late 1920’s land was purchased just over the Stow/Maynard line in Maynard for a new home.  Much of the land had been owned by a brewery company.  After their marriage Mary Erikson substituted in the Maynard School System The business grew through the depression years.  Many of the local families were supplied with milk and told to pay for it when they could afford to. 


Upon retirement, Hans Eriksen Sr. sold the milk business to his son and wife.  The business continued to grow and in 1937, Mr. Erikson built a new building for Erikson’s dairy  and Ice Cream stand  beside it on the present site next to his home.  The new dairy originally was suppose to be located right behind the new Maynard house like the old dairy location behind Hans Sr.’s house but later the decision was made to locate it in the field on the side. The field had a mound of earth in the middle of it which had been the site for many  4th of July firework displays for the Erikson family, neighbors and friends.  It now gives way to a parking lot.  The ice cream stand contained four ice cream cabinets and a refrigerator.  Within  this time period there were many drive in, road side ice cream stands appearing such as Howard Johnson, Dutchland Farm, Buttericks etc... because of the advent of the family car. Hans Erikson was determined to make and sell the best possible quality ice cream in the area. All naturally flavored products and fruits were purchased from H.A. Johnson Co. of  Brighton Mass.  the leader in the field.   Today , 70 years later, they are still our prime vendor continuing to manufacture top of the line products.  High quality cream and ice cream mix was supplied by Buttericks of Arlington.  This was a quality product containing 18% to 20% butter fat .  The finished product resulted in a quality natural ice cream which many say today can not be surpassed.  A "Best of Boston" was awarded in 2000. The basic recipes remain unchanged. Often the 40 quart jugs of cream and buttermilk came out from Buttericks to Maynard on the Lowell Bus from Arlington.  The bus drivers would switch the jugs from the Arlington bus to the Leominster bus at the bus station on Walnut Street.  The Leominster bus used to drop the jugs off as they passed the dairy.      

1941- 1945

The war years brought many changes to the dairy as well as to other small businesses.  A side platform was added to the ice cream stand making it possible to serve from seven windows instead of four.  A soda fountain, sundae split table and many other things were added at this time.  Gas was rationed as well as fats and sugars.  The ration of sugar was based on a year’s use preceding 1941.  The business had grown so much that the ration of sugar was not enough for the volume of business.  The ice cream stand had to close Tues.,Wed.,and Thurs., some weeks especially during the hot summer months because of the shortages.  Specific hours were also initiated.  Before this, the ice cream stand used to stay open at night until there were no more customers or until  after the late show got out at the People’s Theater in Maynard.  Ice cream was limited to eight servings per customer and no Bulk such as quarts and pints were sold during this period.  The lines were so long and often several members of one family would stand in line to buy their limit of ice cream because desserts could not be made at home.  The serving was a smaller portion in weight than what we serve today but, people seemed to think they were huge.  The ice cream business continued to close on Wednesdays each year until the 1970’s because we found it was nice to have one day free a week. During this time, milk home deliveries and schedules were reduced from every day to every other day to conserve gas and allow those on the home front to work for the war effort.  This method of scheduling deliveries proved so satisfactory that it remained until long after the war.      

Post War 
During this time of post war recovery, our small business grew rapidly.  It was a time of new homes and the beginning of roomy freezers and refrigerators, two car families and the large supermarket.  It was the last three items that changed the business considerably.  Everyone was well employed and working hard to make up for years lost.  It was during this time both the milk and ice cream business experienced it’s most crucial years of competition and expansion.  Mr. Erikson, after two wars and the depression, did not elect to expand and grow like many of his competitors.  He maintained the philosophy of one stand operation providing quality and service.  In 1946, the NEICRA group was founded, made up of ice cream manufacturers and retailers.  Erikson’s was one of the charter members and have been active in the group ever since. Hans Eriksen  Sr. passed away in 1949. In the mean time the name of his business had been changed from Eriksen's Dairy to Erikson's Dairy.      

1955- 1961   
3rd Generation 
Hans Erikson’s daughter, Arlene, who graduated from Western College in 1953 and Prince School of Retailing at Simmon’s College joined the family business.  Arlene had worked part time for her father while in high school and college and was well prepared for the challenges ahead.  Presently, being in the ice cream business 48 years, she is well respected through out the ice cream industry in New England. 
In 1955 Arlene married Joe Fraser of Maynard, who due to Hans Erikson’s poor health, also joined the family business to assist his wife in the daily operation of a fast growing business.  It was at this time that the milk business became even more competitive than in the past and equipment and processing methods required upgrading to stay afloat.  The next year, a large investment was made in capitol equipment: 
A. A new ½ gallon glass bottle filler 
B. A new ½ gallon glass bottle washer 
C. A new filling machine for paper ½ gallons and quarts 
D. Upgrade of milk delivery trucks 
E. Increase of storage space for greater volume 
  These major changes in equipment put us back in the milk business ready to compete with anyone.  We did well for the next year. 

1961- 1979

In 1961 Hans Erikson Jr. and his wife retired and sold both the milk business and the ice cream business to Joe and Arlene Fraser.  A corporation was formed.  the business was now Erikson’s Dairy Inc. with Joseph Fraser as President and Arlene Fraser as Chairman and Treasurer.  Mr. Erikson stayed on as a board member and consultant.  It became necessary because of increased sales of both milk and ice cream to expand into a bulk tank operation for pick up and storage of the product.  This required the purchase of a tank truck for pick up of milk at the local farms and two 3000 gallon holding tanks in the plant.  This was another major  change in methods of operation. In 1963 the milk routes were sold to the United Co. Operative Society of Maynard and a contract was made to pick up all their local farms and process all their milk and cream.  This proved very beneficial to both for a short while.  In 1964 the United Co-Op discontinued deliveries because of the costs of the operation.  Again the growth of the large super market in shopping centers along with larger home storage capacities, and a very mobile customer of milk by big super markets changed the milk market, also.  Our milk packaging agreement came to an end.  Home delivery was a thing of the past.  We were fortunate to be one of the many dairies in Central Mass to close out milk production soon enough so that all our equipment not used in ice cream manufacturing could be sold.  Others were not as fortunate. Early in 1965 we made the decision to concentrate all our efforts on ice cream sales and manufacturing which was the real back bone of our business.  Ice Cream sales were increased due to the hi tech industries that sponed rapid population growth in this area.  Arlene Fraser assumed all responsibilities as general manager and chief financial  officer at this time.  Joe Fraser left an active roll with the company to work for a major food service company because the ice cream was only open 5 1/2 months of the year and the three boys were at the start of many years of school tuition.  John Fraser of Concord, a ten year employee and of no relation, assumed the responsibility as plant manager and ice cream maker.  At this time another major decision was made to manufacture our own ice cream mix. Hans H.A. Erikson, Jr. passed away in 1971.  

1979 - 1987 
4th Generation
Arlene and Joe continued for 18 years to manufacture and retail ice cream.  The three Fraser boys began to help out in the business in various different jobs as they became old enough to do so.  In 1979 after John Fraser retired, Arlene’s husband, Joe, gave up corporate life and returned to Erikson’s Dairy Inc. to assist Arlene with the operation of the business which had continued to grow in the eighteen year period.  To keep up with the rapid pace only a few minor modifications in the operation were made. 
A. The season was extended to seven months 
B. The variety of flavors were increased. 
C. Prepackaged ice cream in ½ gallons were introduced 
D. Freezer capacity was increased 
E. Bulk storage for mix was increased 
F. Ice Cream freezers and compressors were upgraded A new downtown store was opened by Erikson’s Dairy  in 1979 called the H.A. Erikson Ice  Cream Shoppe.  It was a satellite of our existing stand which would remain open 12 months of the year.  The new outlet proved to be a learning experience even with our many years of expertise in the field.  Again, because of our reputation and quality we were able to build a lucrative business at a new location.  We did not realize it would demand so much of our time.  We found it difficult to operate both the store and the stand during our peak season.  At the same time, unknowingly, Joe was headed for a lone siege in the hospital plus a long recovery period.  The decision to sell the location but not the name was made so we could concentrate on our Great Rd stand. 
The success of any business depends on the customer and the repeat satisfied customer.  Over the past 70 years three and four generations have visited our stand and proved their satisfaction.  Some return every day and others stop in every year on a visit home sometime from as far away as California  or Florida.  To these loyal customers we say- THANK YOU. 
We count Secretary of States, Governors and Corporate Heads among our customers.  George Shultz, Secretary of State under Reagan, was not only a milk customer when he lived on Red Acre Rd. in Stow but, also an avid ice cream eater.  The Herter family were also milk customers and ice cream customers.  Herter was governor of Massachusetts and Secretary of  State under Eisenhower.  Tom Samon, Governor of Vermont, was not only an ice cream customer but also the brother in law to one of our ice cream scoopers.  The John Mars family, originators of the M&M and owners of the country’s largest family owned corporation have been our guests.  T.V.  personalities are often at our windows: Bob Lobel and his  ex-wife Susan Warnick of Sudbury Channel 4 sports commentator and channel 5 news, David Roebick of Concord Channel 5 news, Bob Copeland and many more that we probably do not recognize.  TV crews and commentators stopped in each day after interviewing the Browns in Stow about the hostage situation.   One of our scoopers became real excited when he realized he had just waited on Doug Fluties’ father. Next in importance to our customers, come our past employees.  Over the 70 year period of operation we have had approximately 2000 high school and college students, boys and girls from Maynard and 
the surrounding towns.  Our past alumni include doctors, lawyers, mothers, corporate vice presidents, air line pilots, sports commentators and many more.  Often they come back to visit us, taking is never the answer to the success of a small business,  not only to give when you have been asked but to continue to support from year to year the right cause.  Over the past 61 years from the time of Mr. Erikson to the present, Erikson’s has contributed to the support of local activities.  Erikson’s has sponsored first the Pony League and then the Assabet Little League for 35 continuous  years.  Support has also been given to Churches in the community along with Youth Football, American Legion Baseball, Booster Club and many other organizations and functions too numerous to name. 

1987- CURRENT 
Future- Entering the new Millennium
The future of Erikson’s Dairy continues to improve.  We are determined to continue producing a high quality product made from the finest available natural ingredients at the lowest possible cost.  We are blessed with three sons, Scott, Thomas and Robert who are engineers, but who all have worked in the business at various levels. They are capable of continuing for another 70 years with our quality, old fashioned, home made product. New modern flavors have been added such as cookie dough and oreo cookie.  No sugar lo carb and yogurt are now on the menu. Irene, Thomas’ wife now manages the ice cream stand. The grandchildren have worked as ice cream scoopers. 
In 1997 a food license was obtained.  Hot dogs were added for  traveling customers looking for something to eat. History Article written by Joseph A. Fraser before passing away in the fall of 1999. Modified and maintained by Arlene B. Fraser The New Millennium Two of  boy's, Robert and Thomas, are still very active in the business. They maintain their engineering jobs along with making all the ice cream. Irene manages the ice cream stand. Arlene is now president and oversees the business. There are now currently two grandchildren working at the business. A soft serve machine was purchased in 2007 along with machines for smoothies, whipped cream and ice coffees. Several new items added to our menu.