Frank Moore: Fisher's Man & Aviation

Originally published in the Sunday, March 20, 1910 Indianapolis Star, this article was part of  a special supplemental section about the upcoming March 28 Indianapolis Automobile Show presented by the Indianapolis Automobile Trade Association (IATA). Key features of the event were the Floral Parade, contests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and concluding banquet at the Denison Hotel.
This particular article profiles Fisher Automobile Company's manager Frank L. Moore's approach to selling automobiles and customer satisfaction. It also notes that Moore was interested in flying in one of the airplanes either stored at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or participating in the anticipated aviation meet later that year. Understand that Moore was an important man in Carl Fisher's world. Fisher had numerous responsibilities and business interests including the Empire Automobile manufacturing business, an airplane construction business, Prest-O-Lite, real estate development and, of course, the Brickyard. By all accounts it appears Moore was the general manager of the Fisher Automobile Company - one of the first, if not the first car dealership in America.
According to this article Moore had a stressful job and believed the thrill of taking a trip in what today would be considered a primitive airplane would be an exciting diversion. The Speedway had just struck an agreement with the Wright Brothers to stage an aviation show in June. The article provides an insight to the scope of his job and Fisher's auto business. He was responsible for 32 "subagencies" throughout Indiana. From the brief description it sounds like these were service stations probably located near population centers for customer convenience. This excerpt is to the point:
"These agencies are a handy thing for the tourists who drive these cars, as they can not go in any direction hardly but what they can get needed repairs for the very machines they are driving at one of these subagencies."
The article reports that at the Indianapolis headquarters they had 180 cars which kept "a body of men busy all day waiting upon customers." The customer of the times was not unlike those purchasing information technology products today in that post-sales technical support and education was important part of a competitive value proposition. Moore stressed that to be a real success the salesman should stay close to his customer, even traveling with him in the car to educate him on how to operate it. He also believed that cars should be sold at one price and not negotiated per vehicle. To do the latter ran the risk of making those paying a higher price feel cheated.
Moore managed all aspects of the Fisher Automobile business. This included automotive apparel (for example, in these days of open cars drivers wore garments such as "dusters" to protect them from the dirt that kicked up on unimproved roads as well as inclement weather). He also oversaw repair, paint, upholstering and all other departments.
The company was expanding into adjacent buildings on North Capitol Avenue. Although it is not clear the article seems to indicate that two men, Frank Fox of Terre Haute - who specialized in Pope-Hartford and Rauch-Lang electric car sales - and M.J. Conley of Frankfort who was agent for Austin Automobile Company were seeking temporary offices there. Fox, the only driver with a prosthetic leg, would later drive in the first Indianapolis 500. At the time of publication this expansion was expected to be complete by July 15.

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