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Beginnings: 1973-1980

Flippin Bills traces its origins to 1973, when Jon Hanson was a dedicated supervisor for the Pettit family, owners of the Tom Thumb grocery store franchise. Recognizing Jon's exceptional work ethic, they approached him with the idea of starting a grocery store in Mounds View, MN. With remarkable success, one store quickly expanded to five. In 1977, Jon opened a Tom Thumb store in Delano at the current location of All Season Sports. His expertise in convenience store management quickly made Tom Thumb a staple in Delano.

In 1980, Jon introduced fresh broasted chicken to Tom Thumb, a move that significantly boosted the store’s popularity. The rapid growth in business and the desire to add gas pumps led Jon to relocate and expand the store. In 1987, he rebuilt the store on the first parcel of land as you enter town, which is the Flippin Bills location you see today.

The Iconic Chicken: 1989-Present

The story of Delano's iconic chicken began in 1989 when Jon and his brother Bill were on a road trip. They stopped for lunch and saw large fiberglass animal statues across the road. Jon suggested, “we should have a chicken statue at the store!” They bought the chicken, brought it to Delano, and it has been a beloved landmark ever since. Featured in community parades, media outlets, and even on the Ellen Show, the chicken has become synonymous with Delano, earning a spot on RoadsideAmerica.com.

Expansion and Innovation: 1991-1998

In 1991, the Hanson brothers added a small burger shack to the west corner of the lot, marking a new chapter for the store. For a decade, they hosted Saturday grill outs, with attendance growing from a handful of people to lines stretching across the property. Jon, known as Chicken Jon, tended to the broasted chicken, while Bill, known as Flippin Bill, flipped burgers.

A New Chapter: 1998-2023

In 1998, Bill Hanson purchased Tom Thumb from his brother and renamed it Flippin Bills. Over the next 25 years, Bill built lifelong friendships with daily customers and fellow business owners, while contributing significantly to the community. He watched many of his employees grow from high schoolers to adults, who went on to continue building the city of Delano.

The Next Generation: 2023-Present

In October 2023, Bill received a letter from a young man named Niel, who was searching for a gas station in MN. After a phone call, Bill was impressed by Niel’s intelligence, friendliness, and strategic vision for the store. Considering the recent competition and his desire to see the store thrive, Bill decided to retire after 46 years, entrusting Niel with Flippin Bills.

Looking Forward

A lot is on the horizon for Flippin Bills. First and foremost, we welcome customer input on inventory. You request it, and we order it…just like the old days. Our commitment to the community is deeper than exceptional customer service. We aim to add value to each customer interaction, whether through special orders, a listening ear, or a warm smile. We understand that becoming an integral part of the community is earned, not given.

 

Our new owner, Niel, is dedicated to creating a stimulating experience at Flippin Bills. He aims to blend the Hanson legacy with a touch of new charm…and the Frank Sinatra music is just the beginning.

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