Full-service Station Shines in Grand Forks

For more than half a century, the Gilbertson family has provided at-the-pump customer service.

September 26, 2018

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Bob’s Oil in Grand Forks, North Dakota, has been run by the Gilbertson family for more than five decades. The full-service station still pumps gas and checks tire pressure for customers, Grand Forks Herald reports.

Brothers Brian and Darin Gilberston started hanging out at Torreson’s, where their father, Bob, worked when they were kids. Bob inherited Torreson’s from Ethel Stone in 2007, and soon changed the name to Bob’s Oil. When Bob died in 2016, he left the station he’d worked at for more than six decades to his sons.

Today, Darin keeps the company books while Brian assists customers with fill-ups and other car maintenance. “It's just a family affair,” Brian said. “If you weren't working, you were here cutting grass or hanging out.”

Customers range from older women who have never filled a gas tank themselves to commercial truckers. Many clients have charge accounts that they pay once a month. The brothers have been known to not send a bill if they know the customer’s going through a rough financial patch.

While neither Brian nor Darin think much about the station’s future, they do love talking about the past, remembering all the years they spent there with their father. Both still work as hard as Bob did, arriving at 6 a.m. and leaving at 7 p.m.

"For me, not a lot has changed since then,” Brian said. “We’ve always just gone out and done whatever [customers] asked us to do.”