Don Moore Automotive has been a leader in the tri-state’s automotive industry since 1919. We began with a single franchise dealership just as the widespread popularity of the car was dawning, and have since grown to offer a distinguished line-up of vehicles that represents over 85% of available automotive makers available in the United States.
In 1919, the American automobile industry was on the cusp of a boom, and in August of that year the three Short Brothers, Percy, Kelly, and Harry, decided to capitalize on the trend and founded Short Brothers Motor Company. They initially signed contracts to sell Scripps-Booth and Stevens Salient-Six automobiles. Not even a year into their venture, the Short Brothers signed a contract with Chevrolet Motor Company to sell Chevrolets. They received their first Chevy on February 2, 1920, and later sold it to the then-minister at Settle Memorial Methodist Church, making small history in Western Kentucky: it was the sale of the first enclosed automobile sale in Western Kentucky. The Short Brothers sold 24 new vehicles in 1920.
Fifteen years into business in 1934, the Short Brothers’ volume had risen to 306 new and 438 used vehicles. Around this time, Percy Short's son, Don P. Moore, Sr. joined the group.
A New Era For Short Brothers Motor Company
Over the next 30 years Don Moore Sr. progressed in the business, and in 1954, Short Brothers added Cadillac to their vehicle lines. In 1959, Don Moore Sr.’s son, Don Moore Jr., joined the family business after receiving his degree from the University of Kentucky. Soon after, in 1961, Don Moore Sr. became president of Short Brothers Motor Company when his father, Percy Short, passed away. Just eight years later, Don Moore Sr. passed from cancer.
Around this time, Short Brothers Motor Company became the Dealer of Record for General Motors, and General Motors suggested that the name of the dealership be changed to Don Moore Chevrolet – Cadillac. The name change was made official in 1970, and plans for a new marketing strategy were developed, which included television advertisements. On January 19, 1970, Don Moore Jr. made his television debut with a 10-seconds advertisement, saying:
"At Don Moore Chevrolet we have the hottest deals around. Come on down and help cool us off."
This TV appearance kicked off the creative advertising that Don Moore Chevrolet – Cadillac continued through the seventies. That marked the beginning of the creative image of the Don Moore organization. The new marketing continued through the seventies.
Don Moore III joined the business after graduating from the University of Kentucky in May, 1982, and was made the General Manager just over a year later in July, 1983. At this time, his father, Don Moore Jr. left the automotive industry to devote his time to the farming industry.
From 1986 Through The Present
Don Moore III made several strategic purchases to continue to grow the business, beginning with purchasing Sturgeon Pontiac – Nissan From the Charlie Sturgeon family in 1986, which became Riverview Pontiac – Nissan. Then, Don Moore added the downtown Mitsubishi location in 1992, and purchased Van Slyke Toyota from the Don Van Slyke family just a year later in 1993. With the addition of Van Slyke Toyota, Don Moore gained a new location on Frederica Street.
The Riverview location was moved to the new property, which established the AutoMall. In June of 1996, Don Purchased Feldhaus Oldsmobile-Honda. After the purchase, Honda was moved to the AutoMall and Oldsmobile was relocated downtown. To comply with a dealership reorganization required by GM Don sold the Pontiac franchise. Thompson Ford-Mercury-Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Hartford Kentucky was purchased by the group in 2000, and in 2005 the Tapp Motor property on South Frederica Street was purchased. Hyundai was added to the lineup of makers in 2006, and was placed on the remodeled former Tapp property.
Don Moore III is still at the helm of the company today, and is joined by his brothers John and David Moore. Our automotive group consists of five dealerships comprised of 15 automotive brands:
We’re proud to have been in business through four generations and 100 years. Today, we sell over 5,500 new and pre-owned vehicles annually, and serve over 50,000 folks each year. Our team of nearly 200 employees takes care of everyone who comes through our doors with outstanding service. We’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of our history thus far, and those who will be part of our future – we couldn’t continue to serve the tri-state area without you!