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Former type Electronics & Appliance retailer
Fate Bankrupt
Founded 1950s
Defunct May 1996
Headquarters Detroit, Michigan
Key people Oliver Fretter, founder

Fretter was an electronics and major appliance retailer based out of Detroit, Michigan, founded in the 1950s by Oliver "Ollie" Fretter.

Fretter's first store was located on Telegraph Road just north of Interstate 96 in the city of Redford, Michigan, and the main warehouse, warehouse store and company headquarters, was on Schoolcraft Road (I-96 service drive) in Livonia. Fretter expanded his operations throughout the midwest and New England by the 1970s.

The company's founder and spokesman, Ollie Fretter, became known in the Detroit area in the 1970s and 1980s by humorous TV commercials in which he promised, "I’ll give you five pounds of coffee if I can't beat your best deal. The competition knows me. You should too!" (When occasionally he had to make good on the whimsical offer, Fretter gave away five-pound cans of Maxwell House; later he dispensed the cans wrapped in paper labels that read "Fretter House Coffee.")

In 1992, Fretter acquired their biggest competition of the time Silo Electronics, a company that had previously not turned a profit since the 1980s. This was an attempt by Fretter to compete with its new major competition, electronic superstores Circuit City and Best Buy, which were much larger than Fretter's stores. This move would lead the company into serious debt and Chapter 11 bankruptcy, forcing the chain to close many locations by 1993. All Silo Electronics stores were closed by 1995, with all Fretter locations closing by May 1996.[1][2][3][4]

Oliver Fretter died on June 29, 2014 at the age of 91.


  1. ^ Lisa Holton (December 17, 1991). "Not always better to shop at Fretter's: Ward's suit". Chicago Sun-Times. Montgomery Ward slapped Fretter Inc. with a federal lawsuit Monday, alleging that the Detroit-based electronics superstore made false claims in a recent TV ad saying Fretter's prices were better than Ward's. 
  2. ^ Jerry Ackerman (November 10, 1995). "Fretter closes all NE stores, retail promises to honor warranties, refund deposits". The Boston Globe. With its brand appeal apparently waning and new competition on the horizon, Fretter Superstores yesterday quit New England, closing its 15 electronics outlets in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and directing queries to a toll-free 800 number. Although doors were locked and telephones went unanswered at local stores, Fretter Inc., based in Livonia, Michigan, told state officials that consumers have made deposits on merchandise or have warranty claims would be protected. 
  3. ^ Matt Roush (December 2, 1996). "How Fretter fell.". Crain's Detroit Business. 'Whole bunch of things' led to demise of appliance icon. Don't feel sorry for Ollie. It is true that the collapse of Fretter Inc. cost founder Oliver Fretter millions of dollars in paper profits, as he watched his remaining 3.5 million-share, 33 percent stake in the company decline to virtual worthlessness. But between the company's 1986 initial public offering and its 1993 combination with the Silo chain, owned by British electronics giant Dixons plc, Ollie Fretter already had cashed out of the company twice, putting about $35 million in his pockets. 
  4. ^ "Home Electronics, Appliance Chain Fretter Inc. Considers Bankruptcy". AP News, September 27, 1995.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fretter — Please support Wikipedia.
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8206 videos foundNext > 

967 news items

Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph
Sun, 21 Dec 2014 13:56:15 -0800

Colton Fretter, Mathieu Roy and Rob Dowd seemingly had the play-off champions cruising but Omar Pacha and Eric Galbraith closed the gap before Roy got his second and Carl Lauzon set up a tense finish. The Braehead Clan remain two points behind the ...

WDIV Detroit

Detroit Free Press
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 07:49:58 -0700

Oliver L. (Ollie) Fretter, the colorful founder and president of the old Fretter appliance and electronics store chain whose zany commercials endeared him to a generation of local television viewers, died Sunday at his home in Bloomfield Hills. He was 91.

The Star

The Star
Sun, 21 Dec 2014 13:20:29 -0800

Tonight, they won 4-3 in east Yorkshire, after leading 3-0 through goals from Colton Fretter, Mathieu Roy and Rob Dowd. Hull fought back with strikes from Omar Pacha and Eric Galbraith. Roy scored another but Carl Lauzon made it a nailbiting conclusion.

The Star

The Star
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:00:00 -0800

Now if it wasn't for the Steelers first line of Roy, Forney and Fretter, we would all be hailing the Mosienko, Dowd and Phillips unit as the best in the league. All of a sudden, the Steelers have a one-two punch, two lines that can quiet easily change ...
The Oakland Press
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:11:15 -0700

Oliver “Ollie” Fretter, an electronics an appliance retailer known for his humorous commercials, died Sunday, June 29, at age 91 at his home in Bloomfield Hills, according to reports. Founder, owner and president of Fretter Appliance, he is famous for ...

The Star

The Star
Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:00:00 -0800

Other than a Mosienko rink-length raid and shots from Colton Fretter and Jonathan Phillips, there wasn't much goalmouth action from the Arena side. Devils had been strangely passive in the early stages but they became more offensive, with Josh Batch ...

Palm Beach Post (blog)

Palm Beach Post (blog)
Fri, 05 Dec 2014 04:33:45 -0800

Built by local banker Earl Reed for his wife, Florence, in 1925, it didn't earn its nickname until 1954, when ulta-conservative, anti-Semitic former foreign correspondent Upton Close bought the house as a birthday gift for his wife, Margaret Fretter Nye.

The Star

The Star
Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:07:24 -0800

Colton Fretter made it safe with an empty net goal at 4-1. The win took Steelers two points clear of Braehead Clan at the top of the league. The game, Steelers' 600th EIHL league game, also saw the return of Dustin Kohn, after injury. Second-string ...

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