Jim Moran had a Midas touch in business. The Chicago dealer died in 2007 at age 88, leaving behind the diversified JM Family Enterprises and a net worth of $2.4 billion.
But rich as he was, Moran never stopped thinking, never stopped coming up with fresh ideas about retailing, marketing and customer service.
As a fledgling Hudson dealer in the late 1940s, Moran embraced a new invention -- television -- as an advertising medium. While more-established retailers dismissed TV as a toy for kids and shut-ins, Moran turned himself into a local star, hawking cars and hosting country music shows and late-night wrestling matches around Chicago.
By the end of the 1950s, Moran had become the nation's biggest Hudson dealer. By the early 1960s, he had hit on a marketing idea he called certified used cars. The approach helped make him the nation's biggest Ford dealer, not to mention the No. 1 Renault retailer.
Suffering from health problems in the late 1960s, Moran was convinced that he was at the end of his career. He sold out and retired to Florida. But while sitting in the sun, he kept pondering the industry he loved.