Caring for the Community
Seventy years ago, Ray Fisher Sr. opened a Texaco service station downtown, close to where I-75 and I-40 now intersect. He later opened an additional service station on Broadway and in the late 1950s bought the property from Texaco and remodeled it into a tire store, what is now the Broadway location of Fisher Tire. The pumps and tanks were removed and so began the quality service and customer care that has been a hallmark of the company for generations.
Throughout his college years, while studying marketing at Carson Newman college, Ray Fisher Jr. worked in the family business. By the mid-60s, he was employing his education to bring a marketing plan to the company. Opening a new store in Bearden in 1970 expanded the business to West Knoxville. It was a big move and business began to boom.
When asked why business has been good for so many years, Fisher responds by pointing to the phrase hanging over the front counter:“good service is our responsibility.”
“In order to say that, we have to maintain good employees who are trained well,” he says. Many Fisher Tire employees have been with the company for 15 to 25 years. “I think the secret looking back at it, you know, is that my dad valued our employees. We always had good employees, and we compensated them for their hard work. We took care of our customers. We don’t have anything flamboyant—we take care of our customers and we take care of our employees.”
Three generations of Fishers (including brother Bob, who owns the Broadway store, and son Ray III at Bearden) have strongly advocated for the best training possible on the best equipment available.“We maintain the very best of equipment, and that’s one of the ways you keep a customer. We pride ourselves with having the best employees, top of the line equipment, and quality customer care to match.”
Quality care was instilled in Fisher by his father early on. “We have generations of customers who worked with my dad and still come to see us. That’s a blessing and we are proud of it.
“You can’t take care of 1 out of 10 customers; you have to take care of 10 out of 10. We do anything that will accommodate a customer, and they respect us for that.” His compassion for quality service and care is directly reflected in this year’s winnings.
Fisher believes the best advertising comes from word of mouth and he appreciates his customers voting Fisher Tire as #1 Tire Store and, for the first time, #1 in Auto Repair.
“That means so much to us and we’re so thankful for somebody to look at us and say ‘you’re the best.’”
In addition to showing great compassion for service and customers, Fisher Tire has been giving back to the community for the last ten years through the Mission of Hope charity. Mission of Hope is a Christian ministry that assists rural Appalachia by providing home goods, clothing, and school supplies.
“It is my passion for the rest of my life,” he says, “It is our community and we want to give back to it—giving back means as much as anything.”