Bret and Janys Hutchings
Remembering a beloved friend and fellow dealer
By Todd Hall, Duerden’s Appliance & Mattress
BrandSource member Bret Hutchings, the third-generation owner of Hutch’s Home Furnishings of Lehi, Utah, passed away on March 10, surrounded by his family.
While Bret did well by his community with his family business, his passion was serving his country and community in other ways as well. He served in the Utah National Guard, retiring as a major; assisted his city’s fire department; and, as an active member of his church, volunteered for many duties.
While most of us remember Bret as big red-haired guy with cool belt buckles, there are lots of stories that remind us of what a fun, caring and kind man he was. For example, he’s the only person I know who proposed in a jail cell.
As the story goes, he’d been close to the local police department as a firefighter, and for the big day he arranged to be pulled over while on a date with his intended, Janys. After some award-winning acting by Bret and the police officer, the couple was taken into custody. As the officers were uncuffing him and pushing both into a jail cell, they slipped the engagement ring into his pocket. Janys said yes, the entire police department cheered them, and the couple was released and finished their date.
Also, when Bret was building his new store he insisted on two features that are likely unique to Hutch’s. First, he made sure his office would be large enough to display all the memorabilia he collected on his trips to Disney. (Visiting Bret in his office was like touring a museum.) The second feature was a fully functional pistol range in the basement. While the rest of us got down on ourselves during slow traffic days, Brett just went downstairs and worked on his marksmanship.
Bret fought a two-year battle with cancer. He lost his voice and most of his body weight, but never lost his courage or our love. He was at peace with his diagnosis and really only worried about those he’d leave behind. He loved his fellow BrandSource members, and we’d continue to include him via text or video when he became too ill to attend the group’s shows. He ended every exchange by telling us how much he loved us.
Jim Ristow, CEO of AVB BrandSource, concurred. “Bret showed entrepreneurial drive in his own business and cared deeply about his fellow BrandSource members,” he said. “This combination — excelling on one’s own while giving back to others — is so rare and will be greatly missed.”
I will remember Bret as my first friend at BrandSource and my best friend among dealers. But I also know that Bret was a best friend to many of us, and I am grateful for this big man with a heart big enough for all of us. Bret led a life that mattered, and will live on as the better light in us all.
Rest in peace, our dear brother.
BrandSource member Todd Hall is a former Target and Home Depot store manager who went on to own and operate Duerden’s Appliance & Mattress in Bountiful, Utah.