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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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For Ray Frick, owner of Fricker's restaurants, growing up on Toledo's east side has left him with fond memories as well as lessons that he still lives by today.

1214RaymondFrick
Ray Frick. (Photo courtesy
Waite Alumni Association

“I grew up between Nevada and Idaho and I remember it as being a wonderful time,” Frick said. “I had a wonderful family and I really have no complaints. It was a typical middle class neighborhood. I had great friends and we just had a great time. Everyone took care of everyone. We all looked out for each other.”

Frick said the neighborhood was very safe and that parents were strict, which is something he will always remember.

“We slept on the screened porch in the summer,” he said. “Everyone respected each others’ property and everyone followed the rules. My dad liked to use the strap and I can definitely say that I never got one I did not deserve. In fact, he probably owed me a few. We just knew we had to follow the rules. Honestly, the rule was, 'If it does not feel good in the pit of your stomach, don’t do it."

Frick attended Raymer Elementary and then Waite High School. His oldest brother Bernie taught health at Waite and Frick's brother Ronnie, who was two years older, was a student and athletic trainer at the same time, Frick said.

 

“Ronnie also played football but he had brain cancer and could not play anymore,” he said. “He became an athletic trainer and ended up graduating with me.”

A 1964 Waite graduate, Frick played linebacker and “sometimes a defensive end” on the 1963 Toledo City League championship football team. His younger brother, Bob, was also a linebacker and defensive end. The quarterback was P.J. Nyitray, who went on to become starting QB at Bowling Green State University three years, where he also played hockey.

“We had a great bunch of guys on that team,” Frick said. “We still get together three to four times a year and have lunch. We did not have a lot of talent, but we were over achievers.”

“Most of us were average athletes,” Frick continued with a laugh. “We had some great athletes on that team, not including me, but we worked hard. We ended up being City champs and that was a nice moment for us.”

Ray and Ronnie went on to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Ray played football, under Bo Schembechler, for one year before an injury sidelined him. His brother was given a partial scholarship to Miami and worked as an athletic trainer until he passed away from a second bout with brain cancer his junior year.

Ray graduated with his degree in education and taught in the Toledo Public Schools for 10 years. He taught at Robinson Junior High and then Macomber High School where he also served as an assistant football coach. Frick went on to Start High School and was a member of Dan Simrell's coaching staff. He also completed his master's degree from Bowling Green State University in 1973.

Slow, steady path to success

While teaching at Jones Junior High, Frick worked at the Dixie Electric Company as a manager. In 1978, he became part-owner of the Perrysburg establishment and pushed to have a second Dixie opened in Dayton.

“A few years later, we added a Dixie in Charlotte, North Carolina and two in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,” Frick said. “In 1985, we started the first Fricker's in Dayton.”

Frick describes his first few years with Fricker's as a slow and steady path — a path for which he had no plans.

“For the first couple of years it was tough,” he said. “I sold everything I had to keep going. It was a tough road back then. People thought I was crazy. I was trying to convince people to eat chicken wings for dinner.”

Gradually, he opened a second location in Dayton before opening a restaurant in Perrysburg in 1989. The Fricker's restaurant franchise now includes over 20 locations in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

“I never expected Fricker's to evolve into what it is today,” Frick said. “It was something that came slow, one day at a time. I never had a plan. It was just the path God set out for me.”

Frick bristles when Fricker's is called an “empire.” He just does not see it that way.

“I don’t see an empire, I just go to work every day,” Frick explained. “It is just what I do because I love people.

Twelve years ago, Fricker's began a program that allows children ages 10 and under to eat free, every day. It is a program Frick said he is most proud of.

“I am middle America,” he said. “I am blue collar and I am going to die blue collar. We do the program because it matters to family. I wanted to do something significant to help families. We are gatekeepers and we not here forever. I like to make a difference in peoples' lives because it matters to families.”

Frick's son, Andrew, runs a finance company in Findlay and works on special projects for Fricker's. Fricker's celebrated its 30th anniversary in November. His daughter, Amanda Lee, is a teacher in Naples, Florida.

Frick has been generous to Miami University and to Waite.

He funded the Ron Frick Sports Medicine/Rehabilitation Center and created the Ron Frick Scholarship for Undergraduate Athletic Trainers, in honor of his brother.

Frick has also set up a scholarship in the name of his big brother Bernie at BGSU. As for Waite, he has given to several scholarship funds. He was also named honorary chairman for Waite’s centennial celebration in 2014.

“Waite has always been important to me,” he said. “It really was my foundation. I am who I am because of Waite and the influence it had on me.”

 

 

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