Wholesale & Distribution International - Fall 2017 - 16
Traditionally, Frey Gaede has responded to such challenges by
educating and serving as advisors to dealers and consumers.
"A big part of our success has been our ability to educate distributors," Frey says. "By educating them and forming a relationship, we can continue to promote value-added products."
Of course, the field representatives working for Frey Gaede
also have to keep up with industry trends in an effort to constantly educate their customers. To that end, Frey Gaede recently hired a director of marketing. "One of our real strengths
has been our overall knowledge regarding products in the industry," Frey says. "Our motto is 'Trusted Solutions for the
Workplace,' so it isn't always just the lowest price."
As the industry has evolved and many manufacturing lines have
consolidated, many manufacturer's representatives have been
swallowed up by larger companies with more resources. Frey
Gaede has not only survived, but also thrived as it has grown
and expanded its geographic reach by acquiring companies
with similar values.
That began in 2001, when Frey Gaede partnered with Brusa, then a regional sales manager with Fellowes, to form Frey
Gaede Brusa. The move expanded the company's reach to 13
states in the central part of the country.
The company rebranded itself Frey Gaede in early 2017, and
has continued with acquisitions that fit culturally. The latest
Frey Gaede's staff of 26 covers the Midwest, Southeast and
Southwest regions. The Midwest team is pictured here.
16 www.wdimagazine.com Fall 2017
one is the Rep Group, completed in July. Headquartered in
Minneapolis, the Rep Group has focused on contract furniture in the upper Midwest since 1954. "Since the early 2000s
we have not only increased our relationships with manufacturers," Jim Gaede notes, "but at the same time we have been
able to acquire other groups like ourselves, but with only one
principal owner. In some cases, these acquisitions allowed us
to expand geographically."
For Gaede, the acquired companies represented more than
just geographic and line expansion opportunities. They also
operated in a similar fashion to Frey Gaede. "What we found
was that we ended up with groups who have a similar personality type," Gaede says. "We do better with like-minded people:
transparent, honest and open."
The values of Frey Gaede, passed down to its current
leadership team, include being passionate about community involvement. In recent years, Frey Gaede has hosted
a golf tournament with proceeds going to City of Hope, a
group dedicated to funding cancer research.
To date, Frey Gaede has raised nearly $500,000 dollars. "This is our seventh year hosting the tournament,"
Todd Gaede says. "It's an opportunity to work with our
manufacturers and dealers and support a worthy cause."