Independent jobber Dick Fisher, owner of Fisher Auto Parts & Equipment in Kingston, Ont., has been named as the 2004 recipient of the E.J. and A.E. Wadham Memorial Award, an honour commonly known as the Jobber News Jobber of the Year.
Fisher, 61, began his career in the automotive aftermarket in the late 1950s. He originally joined Bourk’s Ignition in Ottawa in 1962. Over the years he gradually increased his shareholdings in that operation, moving to operate the Kingston branch in 1973. Fisher took complete ownership of the Kingston operation, with its two branches, and renamed it Fisher Auto Parts & Equipment in 2000, when Bourk’s Ignition was purchased by the Auto Parts Extra chain.
Throughout the years, Fisher has remained "happily independent" without any formalized ties to a buying group or warehouse distribution organization, but he is clear that this does not mean he believes a jobber can go it alone. "You can’t be totally independent. You can’t say that you’re totally independent. You need some help."
Fisher was recognized for his longstanding commitments to training and the independent garage. He was instrumental in starting an association for local garage members.
Some 15 years later, the Independent Garage Operators (IGO) organization continues to be active in training and education as well as fundraising.
Fisher also spends a great deal of time addressing issues with high schools to encourage youth to come into the industry.
"If we don’t have people coming into the trades, we won’t be selling parts either. Training means a lot for the whole industry."
The E.J. and A.E. Wadham Memorial Award is named after the founders of Jobber News Magazine, more than 70 years ago.
Fisher and his business will be the subject of a full-length profile in the July issue of Jobber News Magazine.
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