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Farewell Fremont Appliance

Fremont Appliance has been owned and operated by Roger Nordboe for over 50 years. He began the business in 1969 with his older brother. Then his business went by a different name, Don’s Furniture & Appliance. They were located at 347 N Main St, rent was $75 a month - and things were tight. Roger remembered worrying that they wouldn’t make it but little did he know that was just the beginning. Roger detailed the journey his family went through, moving locations, buying different buildings, making connections with other business owners, and the events along the way. Now he has chosen to retire and is excited for the next chapter. 

Roger shared his memories of downtown through the years, beginning in 1969 when he opened his business with his brother at the age of 18. They also sold used cars at 3rd and Park Avenue. Their business was located near the corner of 4th & Main, Roger remembers Kavich Furniture being located across the street at 330 N Main (now Nebraska Quilt Company). He recalled that Kavich’s often paid for the big banner ads in the newspaper, something that greatly helped both businesses. He noticed people would come in after being drawn downtown to visit Kavich’s from their ad. “People would get out of their cars and happen to look across the street, they’d often come in to see what we had to offer,” Roger said.

Eventually the brothers chose to relocate to expand their business. They moved into a building along 5th & D Streets, where you will now find Martini’s Cafe, Front Porch Decor, and other local businesses. They continued selling used cars, furniture and appliances, and servicing appliances. Roger recalled being in the building when the Pathfinder Hotel blew on January 10th, 1976. “You could see the ripple across the ceiling from the explosion,” Roger remembered, “Across the street the windows on the automotive shop were all blown out.” Roger remembered other historic happenings during his time downtown. He recalled when the city chose to paint the sidewalks, when the bump outs were originally installed, and when the downtown district switched out stop lights for stop signs. Roger takes much knowledge and history with him into his retirement. 

Roger married his wife, Marie, in 1987. Then, Roger was working closely with All Makes Sewing Vacuum & Appliance. They purchased buildings next door to each other, where the store is now located. Fremont Appliance purchased 512 N Main while All Makes purchased 516 N Main (now Wise Olde Owl). In 1996 they had the opportunity to buy the other half at 516 N Main, which they took. They expanded into the space by creating a doorway between buildings. They took on the project of breaking out the bricks themselves. Marie recalled this sharing, “We have photos of the kids trying to push wheelbarrows full of bricks.” 

The couple recalled several memories of different events that have taken place downtown over the years. They recalled being around for the first annual Christmas Walk event hosted by MainStreet in 1994. Marie mentioned having visitors stop in for refreshments during the walk and gaining potential customers as they discovered their store. While they have enjoyed their time downtown they won’t be leaving the downtown community completely and plan to stay involved. Roger stated it is a bittersweet experience closing Fremont Appliance. Through the years he’s become very fond of downtown as he has connected with various businesses, landlords, and community members to sell and service their appliances. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter,” Roger says. 

The couple stated that they have chosen to close the business rather than pass it down as it’s not viable long term. As we are all familiar with, appliances are not made like they used to be. Service isn’t as easily offered as securing parts has become challenging. Marie remembered a time when appliances were sold with a 10 year warranty, free of charge, now that’s not the norm. Roger talked about how they were one of the few appliance repair shops in town when he started. Now with the appliance industry changing many shops have changed their business models.

With Fremont Appliance goes a rich history of downtown, appliance service and repair, and community. We hope to continue to work with the Nordboe’s in this next chapter, and we are hopeful and excited for what it will mean for them. Keep an eye on their space as they transition out of the building by the end of March, exciting things are coming soon. We are thankful for all they have done for our Fremont community, and we wish them all the best as they venture into their next adventure.



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