Jerry Ray Davis and his wife Kym have lofty expectations as the new owners of Owensboro’s downtown car dealership, and much of their focus is geared toward making a positive impact in the community.
Jerry Ray and Kym finalized the purchase of the former Steve Jones dealership on Monday, and signage is already up for the new name of Jerry Ray Davis Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.
The couple is planning to shed the old identity of the dealership and usher in a new era of how things will operate. That includes relocating away from downtown in the near future, changing the entire atmosphere of the car-buying experience, and finding ways to give back to the people of Owensboro.
Jerry Ray is a Madisonville native, while Kym Williams Davis grew up in Owensboro. They got married here but moved to Alabama, where they had their son Joseph Thomas.
They wanted to raise Joseph in Kentucky, so they eagerly looked for a dealership to purchase in the area. After 1.5 years of negotiations, they were finally able to make a deal here.
Jerry Ray, who has spent 32 years in the car business, took over as general manager at the start of the year. Kym, a former pharmaceutical sales representative, is now a stay-at-home mom, but she’s equally as involved in the process and the two make decisions together.
They’ve instituted several changes already, but one of the most important has been making sure the customer has a welcoming experience.
“We’re making sure that we’ve got the right people in the right place, and teaching our people how to deliver a ‘wow’ moment instead of that ‘whatever’ feeling you get at some other dealerships,” Jerry Ray said. “We might not be able to sell everybody, but we do know they’re going to enjoy their experience.”
Jerry Ray said he won’t stop caring when a customer leaves the lot, either. He’s already looking into ways to give back to the community, and he wants to build trust in anyone who needs a new vehicle or services for their current one.
“We want to be very involved in our community and we want to support them,” he said. “We’re not just about showing up and selling cars. Our service department is also very key to us.”
While he likes being downtown, Jerry Ray said it’s not an ideal location because of one-way streets, limited parking, and the layout of the lot. It’s especially difficult for customers to access around the holidays — a major problem considering the big sales that go on during those times.
The owners are looking at three sites for a new location and expect to be in a new building in 12-18 months, but he can’t disclose what those options are yet.
“We want to be in a location that provides easy access to our dealership,” Jerry Ray said. “We want to be somewhere that’s not an inconvenience. Sometimes it can be like that down here.”
The dealership is planning to hold a grand opening next weekend so people can come meet the Davis family and see all the changes. Jerry Ray said he’s hoping to make clear that any negative reputation is long gone, and he wants to make a connection with everyone.
“Everybody needs a new friend in the car business, and I’m their new friend,” he said. “We’re more than just a car dealership. We want to make an impact in people’s lives.”