Harry’s on the Hill, a family-owned GMC-Buick dealership in Asheville, N.C., recently removed a 23-foot-tall “Muffler Man” statue known as “Chief Pontiac,” which had fronted the business for more than 50 years. And the story of this removal might teach us all a little lesson in customer relations.
During the 1960s and 1970s, a company called American Fiberglass produced thousands of large statues as publicity devices for roadside businesses, many of which were muffler shops. These Muffler Men took the form of lumberjacks (the first Muffler Man was a model of Paul Bunyan), cowboys, spacemen, Indians like Asheville’s Chief Pontiac, and even bikini-clad women that reportedly bore a suspicious resemblance to First Lady Jackie Kennedy.
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