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Ellsworth couple purchases Freier's

Gabe and Jill Reid are the new owners of Freier's Comfort by Design in Ellsworth, with other locations in Hudson, Wis., and Lake City. In the local showroom last week were the Reids with their children, from left, Nathan, 5, Scott, 11, Andrew, 12, Monica, 7, and Isabella, 2.

Gabe Reid has had ownership in mind ever since he started working at Freier's Electric and Heating in 2000.

For the last eight years, Reid has been involved in management of the business based in Ellsworth's east end, with other locations in Hudson, Wis., and Lake City. Last month, it became official: he and wife Jill took over as owners of the operation from Scott and Betty Freier.

"My family is also involved in the industry back home," Reid said Wednesday, referring to his home state of Missouri, from where they relocated here around 12 years ago.

Already having a background in the industry, Reid began locally by installing furnaces, he said. Trane, Heat 'N Glo and Water Furnace are some of the brands he's installed and will continue to offer. He plans a few minor changes, including a gradual transition away from the Freier's name to Comfort by Design.

"It's going to be business as usual," he said, explaining the switch in management was a natural one, as both the previous owners and the new ones knew each other's goals.

The company employs approximately 30 people and maintains hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, though the Hudson site is open from noon until 7 p.m. Wednesdays, as well as Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., along with Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Reid said. There are 25 vehicles in service, and the company's territory includes Pierce, St. Croix and Polk counties in Wisconsin plus Goodhue and Dakota counties in Minnesota.

"We do some specialty projects, too," Reid said, mentioning a crew was up in Spooner, Wis., within the past few weeks.

Besides heating and electrical jobs, the enterprise handles air conditioning, plumbing, geothermal and renewable energy work, he said. Solar panel and wind turbine offerings will still be available.

"All that's mechanical we do," Reid said.

The family first lived in Spring Valley, Wis., for six-to-eight months once they relocated, said Jill Reid, who will be responsible for marketing. When her husband was hired at Freier's, they moved to Ellsworth and lived south of the village.

"We came to Wisconsin seeking a better living," she said.

The couple agrees they've found it. Having met in high school, then married, they have five children: Andrew, age 12, Scott, 11, Monica, 7, Nathan, 5, and Isabella, 2. For recreation, they enjoy going camping.

The couple invites the public to call 1-800-370-6545 for electric and heating and related service needs.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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