Merridee Erickson, founder of Merridee’s Breadbasket, grew up on the family farm near Winthrop, Minnesota, baking breads, pies and sweets with her mother. Saturday was bread-baking day, and by the age of nine she was doing most of the baking herself. Merridee attended the University of Minnesota where she studied Food Business. While there, she met and married Tom McCray. In 1973, Merridee and Tom moved to middle Tennessee. In 1981 Merridee began retailing her fresh-baked goods from a little log cabin in Fairview. As word spread, she was asked to open a shop as part of the historic revitalization of downtown Franklin.
An old hardware store warehouse on Fourth Avenue, that was once a harness shop, became the home of Merridee’s Breadbasket in the spring of 1984. Merridee’s quickly became a favorite gathering place in Franklin. Merridee was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 1993 and passed away in September of 1994. She not only left a legacy of great homemade food and warm hospitality, but also one of faith, hope and love. A tree was planted in her memory at Five Points in downtown Franklin.