Aug. 10--After watching the building go up brick by brick, the employees of
They're still putting the final touches on the store in south Kalispell, but Fred's opened its doors to the public on July 28. A grand opening is planned in September.
While the 25,000- square-foot store and warehouse was under construction, Fred's opened a temporary store at the nearby Gardner's RV location .
"Watching the store go up was interesting. All winter long we could see it go up brick by brick, but now that we're finally in it, it's awesome," store manager Brian Smith said. "This is the nicest store I've ever been in and I have been doing this for over 13 years. This is going to be a great destination for the people in the Flathead."
Now that all the appliances have been moved from across the street and the new shipments have arrived and filled the spacious warehouse and showroom, Smith said that Fred's selection can't be matched.
"We easily have the most appliances in the valley. We have all the major brands and a lot of the top-line brands you don't see in the box stores," Smith said.
Fred's is known for its in-stock selection, Smith said. They have a large warehouse and keep almost everything in the showroom in stock for quick delivery. If for some reason the Kalispell store doesn't have something in stock the staff can always call the Missoula and Spokane stores.
You won't find electronics at the store. Smith said this allows the employees to specialize in the products they carry and is why they're known for their service.
"We're fortunate enough to have the best appliance minds in the valley," Smith said. "It's impossible to become an expert in anything if you're doing so many things. You really need to specialize in a specific thing. We have a lot of specialty knowledge that takes years to develop."
Lane Smith, in charge of Fred's builder sales, also stressed the store's attention to service.
"We have 14 employees that will do anything they can to make sure the customers are completely satisfied," Lane Smith said.
He has 17 years of experience in appliances and oversaw the building of the 22 showroom displays with appliances that are ready to be used.
Local businesses were employed for the cabinet and countertops featured in Fred's spacious displays. With 12 cabinet makers and five countertop businesses utilized, Lane Smith made sure he used a wide selection of finishes and styles to showcase their work.
"Having the appliances ready to use adds to the experience. They can turn the stove top on to see how it works. They can actually use it instead of reading about it in a catalog," he said.
The family-run chain, founded in 1962, currently has retail locations in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Kennewick, Wash.; Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Missoula and Kalispell.
Fred's Appliance is located at 3075 U.S. 93 South. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Reporter Aaric Bryan may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.