Fred L. Biddy
Work hard, play hard and succeed at both is a credo that Fred Biddy has lived by in his personal and business life, and one that he has also instilled in his seven children.
Fred was born in 1932 into a family of nine children during the hard depression years. At an age when most children are playing, he was going to school, helping raise his siblings, and selling newspapers on the street corners of Chattanooga, TN.
During his late teens he moved north to find work and ended up in an auto factory in Detroit, MI. He quickly worked his way up into inventory control, and soon was made supervisor.
After getting married, Fred and Doris moved back to Chattanooga, then realized that the industrial north still provided a better lifestyle. First Fred moved to Indianapolis, IN, and began working for The Hoover Company, then sent for his family.
As usual, Fred worked hard and Hoover management promoted him to service manager. But Fred longed for more, for he believed the sweat of his brow should fulfill his own dreams, not the dreams of others. At this time, he began servicing vacuum cleaners at night, and as his second job quickly became prosperous, Fred realized he had a “gift” of repairing vacuums and, also, for selling them.
He soon had enough savings to rent a small retail space and mastered the first step of his goal — he was an independent business owner.
A-1 Vacuum Cleaners was founded in 1959 and in 1963 was expanded into two buildings. In 1968 another 1000 feet was added to the buildings.
Fred opened a second store in 1969, complete with pick-up and delivery staff. In 1971 he opened his third store, a fourth followed in 1975, a fifth in 1977, and a sixth in 1982.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Fred sought out other challenges. He obtained his private pilot’s license, and then became an instrument rated pilot, always a difficult feat, but especially impressive when a physical challenge of having only one eye is present.
Playing hard also included being a certified boat captain, piloting his own houseboat and speedboat, and flying his family to vacation spots in his private plane.
Fred became one of the first board members of the VDTA board of directors, and was one of the first to move onto the information highway and computerize his store in the early 1980s. He merged with Discount Vacuum in 1996 and opened a new 7000 square foot warehouse and office complex.
Fred sponsors many amateur sports organizations and is an honorary chief of police. He has received the Indianapolis Key to the City and has received an award from President George Bush and Dan Quayle in appreciation for supporting the Desert Storm troops.
2001 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee