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Making Spirits ‘Brite’

Brite Ideas

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The business partnership between Freeman and Simmons was of short duration, but the impression Simmons left on Freeman has lasted a life time.

In Simmons, Freeman had a business partner and mentor. “He taught me what it means to pay it forward and give back to the community. He is a great friend.”

In addition to the Salvation Army’s campaign against hunger, Freeman also donates lights to military families and specific organizations like the Hope Center.

Giving back, be it through food drives, family-to-family gift drives, year-end donations to charitable organizations, or simply cookies delivered to a housebound neighbor, is so tightly woven into the holiday fabric that it is second nature. But giving throughout the year takes a conscious effort. Freeman is willing to take the chance on workers most business owners would be skeptical to employ. He helps those with disabilities, hiring people from Community Alliance. From the Arch House, he employs those who have conquered drug addiction. “They are great employees,” he asserts.

Perhaps he relates to their struggles. He and Brite Ideas have faced their own. In 2005, a fire destroyed Freeman’s business, forcing him to rebuild literally from the ground up. “Going through something like that gives you the feeling that there is nothing you can’t handle,” believes Freeman.

Obviously, Christmas is his busiest season, but Freeman has witnessed a new contender for outdoor décor and lighting - Halloween. He notes that when he first began Brite Ideas, Halloween was a very minor holiday where lights were concerned. Now it has become a big season, second only to Christmas, he says. Weddings and other holidays round out the year. For Valentine’s Day, there are illuminated hearts and cupids. Emerald shamrocks herald St. Patrick’s Day and patriotic images lend summer’s Memorial and Independence Days a festive air. Customers can mark Thanksgiving Day with a turkey of the inedible kind or a pilgrim couple.

Whether it’s a group of carolers, a jaunty Jack ‘o lantern, Old Glory or the Tree of Lights, Freeman derives great satisfaction from creating a signature look unique to Brite Ideas. Nothing gives him more pleasure than having people comment, “Those are Brite Ideas lights” when they drive by one of his displays. That some of these displays give back to the community only compounds his fulfillment.  

For more information about Brite Ideas, visit www.briteidea.com. To volunteer with the Salvation Army, visit www.ringomaha.org. To make a donation, visit www.givesalvationarmy.org. Google Brite Ideas, Salvation Army, Kettle Campaign, Tree of Lights, holiday lighting.

-end- metroMAGAZINE




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