By Mary Alys Cherry
Most everyone on the north side of Clear Lake drives by the Norman Frede Chevrolet dealership at the corner of Feathercraft Lane and Bay Area Boulevard at least once a twice a month. But very, very few can remember back when it opened in 1968, because most of us had not moved here back then.
This year the dealership has been celebrating its 50th anniversary with a number of events. One came the other day when the Friendswood Chamber selected it as the Business of the Month with Chamber President Carol Marcantel and Vice President Lucy Woltz presenting the award to Norman Frede General Manager Joan McKinney, who said they were “proud to work and live in your community, earning the right to say we’re one of the most successful independent Chevrolet dealerships in Texas.
“We believe the reason we grew and prospered comes down to two words — loyalty and Integrity,” she continued. “Being family owned and operated gives us the freedom to make decisions to best serve the needs of our customers. In everything we do, we strive to prove how much we sincerely appreciate your business and deliver on our promises.
“As a result, families return to us generation after generation to buy their cars and trucks. When you purchase a vehicle at Norman Frede Chevrolet, we treat you like family. We believe buying a car should be so much more than a financial exchange. You can feel confident knowing you are buying the right vehicle for your needs.”
The dealership has more than 115 employees — many who have worked there for more than 15 years — living in the local communities and active in our school districts, local chambers and non-profit organizations.
An insightful business leader, Norman Frede, who started the business at a young age, will be quick to tell you he learned early in life the value of family and hard work.
Born and raised in LaGrange, Texas, where he excelled in sports and calf roping, he graduated from the University of Texas with a BBA and a Business Psychology degree. He proudly served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves for seven years, completing his service as a captain in the military police.
Frede says he learned early the value of family and hard work. “It goes back to that rural upbringing like closing gates, taking care of the animals, upbringing in stuff from the weather, taking care of fences, closing the door, and picking up manure. Animals and other things on farms and ranches require constant attention, and you learn to take care of those things.” This care, consistency, and thoughtfulness became the fundamentals for his business success, he will be quick to tell you.
He learned how to operate a dealership from the ground up, first as the son of an automobile dealer, then as a salesman before becoming a general manager. In 1968, he bought his first dealership in League City, and then, in 1970 he purchased the land for what would soon become Norman Frede Chevrolet in Clear Lake. Nearly 50 years later, the dealership is still family owned and operated — and one of the most successful independent Chevrolet dealerships in Texas.
Frede is married to Sheree. He has two daughters, Marijane and Suzanne, sons-in-law Barry and Trey, plus six grandchildren.