Freed retires after 30 years

(Left to Right) Dennis Freed, Pat Wolf, Sheri Uecker and Brian Bicket. (Photo by Frank Perea/The Herald)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor

After 30 years of guiding the community through their financial questions, Dennis Freed of Ameriprise has decided it’s time to retire. When speaking to the Record he said he felt “great” to be entering the next chapter of his life.

Born and raised in Bowbells, ND, Freed was brought to Hettinger by the clothing industry. Initially graduating from Minot State College with an education degree. He opened a clothing store, Andy’s Men’s Store and Family Shoes, with his father-in-law before he got into teaching.

From there he worked for Straus Clothing and was in auto sales for a period of time in Valley City.

On August 15, 1985, he moved his family to Hettinger, and got back into the clothing business. He opened another branch of Andy’s and ran the store out of the Clothe’s Closet’s current location.

As business dwindled, Freed closed the shop in January of 1990, and by that time he had started to dabble in the finance industry. Mike Konstant got him into the field and admitted he was attracted to the business because it was more lucrative than apparel. But it also allowed him and his family to stay in the area after he needed a job.

“We like Hettinger,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good friends here.”

Freed also said he liked the freedom of operating the business. He had a supervisor, but ultimately he was able to make his own scheduled and create his own opportunities. And it was another sales job, a sector he was familiar with.

“I’ve been a salesman all my life,” he said.

By 1988 he had opened an office in Hettinger and had another location in Mott. After six years he closed the Mott location and opened an office in Bowman, which he operated until retiring this year.

Throughout the years he’s seen the market come in waves for his customers, and said managing those trends he always had long term mentality.

“We’re financial advisors, we’re not transactional oriented,” he said. “So we’re more long term investing.”

It was all about the people for him.

“I enjoy people, I always have,” he said.

He made it a point to always be available to his clients, no matter the situation.

“I’ve always prided myself on getting back to my clients when they had a question,” he said.

Part of that advisor-client relationship was earning trust. It is a trust oriented industry, and Freed said that no matter where you work, you have to have the trust of your clients.

“I think in this business trust is, whether you work for Ameriprise or another company, I think that people trust you,” he said.

Outside of the office, Freed was a big part of many projects within the community through the years. Along with participating in chamber activities, some of the projects he worked on was the 4th of July committee, the grass-green golf course at the country club, and spearheading the theater project in the early 2000s.

As he moves on to the next part of his life, he said he will miss the connections he had with clients, but does plan on sticking around Hettinger for a little while, after he does some traveling.

He won’t miss the market drops thought. Some of the tougher times, he said, were during the market downturns, but said he was always able to learn something after a drop and rise in the markets.

One of the more stable parts of his business was Sheri Uecker, who he mentioned as a big part of work, has been with him for the last fifteen years. He said Uecker will stay on with Pat Wolff, who bought Freed out two years ago. Freed said that when he sold he promised Wolff two years of his time, he gave him two years and two months.

Brian Bicket will also be on staff with Wolff and Uecker.

As he looks back at his time, he said he is going to miss the relationshiops.

“I am going to miss the people, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

When asked if he had a last piece of financial advice for the community, he said “don’t sell, keep it invested.”

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