Nelson’s Oil and Gas, an Enduring Enterprise since 1962
Nelson’s Oil & Gas Inc. began as a Conoco station in 1962 on the main drag in Edgemont on property that is now owned by the city of Edgemont. At some point during the next couple of years, according to brothers Rich and Brian Nelson, the business moved across the street into the Stevens Automotive building. “Mom joked about moving the cash register across the street on the day I was born, June 11, 1964,” said Rich Nelson.
The company was founded by the brothers’ parents, Jack, who passed away in 2001, and Virginia (Ginger). The Nelsons slowly added locations and services, and around 1970 purchased the Conoco-owned locations in Edgemont, Hot Springs, Custer, Newcastle, Lusk, and Sundance (Wyo.)
Brian remembers working at the gas station in Edgemont and recalls the move into the C-store format. “Mom and dad switched the gas stations into convenience stores,” he said, noting there were three stores in Wyoming and three in South Dakota. The convenience store conversion started in the early 1980’s with the Food & Fuel in Edgemont.
“The business was really spread out,” he said about the three different locations for the operation.
The family purchased the building, which currently houses its main headquarters in Hot Springs at 1346 Galveston, in the late 1990s. “We purchased this building and consolidated all of the operations here,” he said of the location at 1346 Galveston.
Another big deal in the mid-70’s,” said Brian, “was the purchase of Fall River Gas from Ted Bonde.” This created a propane delivery service for the company, which was absorbed into Nelson’s Oil & Gas.
“In May of 2001 we exited the convenience store business,” said Rich, “By selling off all of the Food & Fuel stores and since then have concentrated our business on bulk fuels, propane, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.”
The primary focus of the company now is on refined fuels: gas, diesel, motor oils and heating oils, as well as the propane delivery, sales and tank rentals. A unique service offered by Nelson’s Oil & Gas is the card-lock billing system. “It is a private credit card issued by Nelson’s that allows individuals and businesses to obtain gas and diesel fuels at fair market value with a convenient monthly billing,” said Brian.
In addition to the fuels, the company also installs and services all types of gas equipment, such as furnaces, cook stoves, and gas grills.
With locations now in Hot Springs, Edgemont, Custer, Hill City and Hermosa, Nelson’s Oil & Gas has 17 employees, of which the Nelson brothers are proud. “We have a very stable work force,” said Rich.
“Our employees are very dedicated,” said Brian, who said some of the staff have been employed there for 40 years. “We would also like to acknowledge the loyalty and support of our customers,” said Rich.