Don Moore Automotive is celebrating its 100th year of business in 2019. The company has come a long way since it first began as a single franchise dealership. Don Moore Automotive now includes a lineup of vehicles representing over 85 percent of the total vehicles sold in the U.S.
The company that was started in August 1919 by three brothers, ironically, is run by the three Moore brothers 100 years later. Originally named Short Brothers Motor Company, the dealership sold 24 new vehicles during their first year of service in 1920, including the first enclosed automobile in western Kentucky.
The company has been run as a family legacy since the beginning. Don Moore, Sr., Percy Short’s son, joined the group and became president of the company in 1961, after Percy’s death. Don Moore, Jr. entered the business and became president of the company in 1969 after Don Moore, Sr. passed away. In 1982, Don Moore III joined the firm and was named General Manager of the dealership in 1983.
Since then, Don and his two brothers, David and John Moore, have run the company and expanded it immensely, now encompassing 5 dealerships and 13 franchises.
John Moore said he and his brothers are very proud to have been included in their family’s legacy and line of work, keeping the company the relevant and successful business that it continues to be, even after 100 years in the automotive game.
“We’re celebrating the 100 years all year — it’s a big deal for us,” John said. “I made a little video of our 100 years for our company retreat this year.”
With the company now selling over 5,500 new and used vehicles annually and serving 50,000 people a year through the Moore Automotive Group service centers, John said one of the most ironic aspects about being in business for a century is how much things have stayed the same over time.
“As much as things have changed, it’s amazing how much things are the same as they were in the beginning,” John said. “It’s all the same kind of problems. There’s so much to know and understand about this industry, and a lot of that doesn’t change all that much.”
So, what’s the secret to keeping a successful business running for 100 years? Instead of attributing the company’s success to hard work and dedication, John says it’s the customers who’ve kept the wheels turning at Don Moore Automotive.
“If it wasn’t for all the customers through all the years — I mean, we’re looking at 100,000 cars sold. We sell around 5,000 cars every year,” John said. “It’s always about the customer. I was looking at a Chevrolet ad from 1921, and it was the same kind of ad we’d run today. We wouldn’t be where we are without those customers.”
Running a company alongside your family members might not be easy for everyone, but John, Don and David Moore have worked well together through the years, and now, John said, it’s exciting to see a new generation of family members join their legacy as well.
“For us, it’s super exciting — we’re the fourth generation, and now we have the 5th generation joining the business as well,” John said. “That’s what it’s about, I think.”