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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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5204 news items

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.

Yorkshire Post

Yorkshire Post
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:20:22 -0800

Roy's 16th goal of the campaign was a 31st-minute powerplay strike, with Fretter's 12th of the season coming just under five minutes later, with goaltender Frank Doyle turning away 30 shots in his shut-out. After tonight's rematch in Braehead, coach ...

The Star

The Star
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:11:15 -0800

Clan's hopes of getting back into it, in front of their own fans, wasn't helped by a Colton Fretter tip-in to dbouble the visitors' lead. *Elite League statisticans have named Steelers centre Tyler Mosienko as Player of the Week: “We salute a player ...
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
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:52:30 -0800

Roy is a one-third part of the Steelers' all-conquering offensive powerhouse first line, alongside the silky, sexy-skilled Colton Fretter and the dazzling hot-shot Mike Forney - yet this was the line doing their job at the other end of the ice. And ...


Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:38:36 -0700

The girls include Isabelle Schrock, Monica Rokita and Marissa Smith of Plymouth, Mackenzie Compton and Ariel Fretter of Livonia, Alaina Sanutelli of Westland and Rachel Napier of Waterford. Working with them was Heather Napier and Jill Mikolajczyk of ...

Yorkshire Post

Yorkshire Post
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:47:39 -0700

The home side, looking to bounce back after losing their unbeaten league run at Cardiff on Sunday, soon established a grip on proceedings at Ice Sheffield when scoring two goals in the space of 24 seconds, the first coming from the stick of Fretter at ...

Yorkshire Post

Yorkshire Post
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 00:20:24 -0800

Belfast's previous visit to South Yorkshire this season ended in a 3-2 defeat, with Colton Fretter scoring the game-winning goal for the Steelers. Sunday marks the first meeting of the season between Steelers and Braehead. In an attempt to get some ...

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