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Letter: Fred's the gem of River Falls

Fourteen years ago, the first time I stopped into Lund's, I was met eye-to-eye by a warm, gentle man, hand extended: "Hello, I'm Fred. Can I help you?"

"Yes," I answered.

Within five minutes, Fred had extracted my name, occupation, names of my wife, our three children, hobbies, and a fair bit of family history. As I left that first day, he made sure to be near enough to the door to bid me "Thanks, Doug."

By the time we were done with our part of the sweat equity on our new home, I had been into Lund's dozens of times.

Each time, Fred would acknowledge me with a warm greeting and ask a few questions about my clan.

I observed other new residents, first time visitors to Lund's, and watched as Fred drew them out, welcoming them to his family of customers.

Through good times and bad, Fred, ever-present, would help me find what I needed. If I was in a rough patch, he would provide a patient listening ear.

I don't remember more than a handful of times that Fred was not present. His staff is well trained, patient and polite, but Fred is the heart-and-soul of the operation.

Every visit to Lund's Fred learned a bit more about me and my family, and always asked for updates on the latest goings-on.

Going to Lund's I would forget the stubborn broken bolt, or maddening problem with a leaky pipe, and instead, look forward to those few quiet moments with Fred.

Thanks, Fred.