Crosby Westland Oil remains last in North Dakota | News, Sports, Jobs


Photo submitted Joan Sorum, Kenny Sorum, Ciara Sorum and Kendall Sorum, left to right, are pictured outside the hype show in Crosby.

CROSBY – The last remaining Westland Oil Services station in North Dakota is at Crosby in Divide County.

Kenny Sorum took over Westland Oil Services in December 1961, a full-service gas station providing fuel, tire services, oil changes and automotive services.

Gas prices have fluctuated widely over Sorum’s 60 years in business. When Sorum took over Westland from Crosby in 1961, a gallon of gasoline cost 32 cents. In 1982 when his son, Kendall Sorum, started, it was $1.32. Now with his granddaughter, Ciara Sorum, in the business, Kenny Sorum, referring to gas prices, said: “It’s not good” at $5.

A few years ago, Kenny Sorum would have had to pick up all the tires and supplies in Minot or Minneapolis, and even once in Iowa — which worked well back then for picking up boards from Crosby’s rink. In 1966, Sorum added a spray business, and in 1985, propane and bulk fuel deliveries. Today, tires and supplies are delivered almost daily.

“Sorums”, as warmly mentioned in Crosby, has been a family business with Sorum’s five children and at least four of his grandchildren all spending time working at Westland. His son, Kendall, along with his wife, Erin, and daughter, Ciara, run the station now, but people can grab Kenny almost anytime, always ready to help someone or enjoy a visit. Kenny Sorum considers visiting people and making deliveries his favorite part of the business.

Photo submitted Joan and Kenny Sorum are shown in this wedding photo 65 years ago on June 30.

Westland Oil Services in Crosby was originally a subsidiary of the Westland Oil service station in Minot, which previously had locations in eastern North Dakota and western Montana. Today, the Minot Building is home to Atypical Brewery & Barrelworks and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kenny Sorum speaks proudly of his family. Son Kendall has worked at Westland since he was 14 years old. “The only place he worked” Kenny Sorum said: “Ciara is strong and can fix a tire and weld like no man.”

“It’s fun to continue the family business and since we’re still a full-service gas station, it’s fun to hear customers comment that they don’t see full service very often. We are still old school here,” said Ciara Sorum.

“I love taking my grandpa now in the propane truck and listening to him reminisce about his propane delivery stories over the years, growing up around the station like it’s our second home, and working with my brothers , Maverick and Remington, and cousin, Bjorn, all through high school,” said Ciara Sorum.

Kenny Sorum and his wife Joan will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary on June 30.

Photo submitted From left to right, Kenny Sorum and Ciara Sorum with Friesen Cross horses and a tank car.

The Sorum family also spends a lot of time with their Friesian Cross horses and carriages. For the past 60 years, Kenny Sorum with his horses and wagons has been a big part of feasts, parades and even funeral processions in Crosby and surrounding communities.

This Father’s Day will most likely be about hitching the horses and riding around town taking walks and having family dinners at grandma and grandpa’s house, Ciara Sorum said.

Photo submitted Kendall, Ciara and Kenny Sorum, left to right, are shown at the pumps.

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