Gilmore, a 1965 graduate of Ritenour High School in St. Louis, Missouri, served in the United States Army from 1966 to 1968. His first job was at a local bowling alley in St. Louis, and he had dreams of becoming a professional bowler. But his life took a different path and after falling in love with Scottsdale while on vacation. Gilmore moved to Arizona in 1977 and secured a job selling cars at a dealership in Scottsdale.
Gilmore’s move to Scottsdale not only put him on a new career path but it was where he met his wife, Cindy, who was also selling cars at the dealership. The two eventually relocated to Ventura, California, and Gilmore was hired at Paradise Chevrolet, an opportunity that would change the trajectory of his career.
At Paradise Chevrolet, he advanced from used-car manager to new-car manager to finance manager and eventually, general manager. In 1992, Bob Gregory, the dealership’s owner, asked Gilmore to partner with him in a store in Temecula.
“And the rest is history,” he said. “I don't think I thought about being a dealer until I went to work for Bob, who believed in me and encouraged me to save my money. Bob's friendship, his high integrity and his belief in me made everything possible.”
Gilmore also credits his wife, Cindy of 41 years, for working as hard as he did to build the business. “Cindy shares my drive and dedication,” he said. “Having her by my side on this journey has been a blessing.”
Today, Gilmore’s daughter Katelyn is following in her dad’s footsteps. She has been the dealership’s top salesperson, spent two years in finance and is now in sales management. She is poised to be the next generation to oversee the family enterprise.
“Timing is everything in life,” he said. “I was fortunate to open a dealership so close to the starting of our cityhood in Temecula. As one of the larger businesses, we were able to grow as the City of Temecula was experiencing tremendous growth as well.”
And Gilmore gives back to his adopted hometown by supporting numerous organizations and causes through donations and by rolling up his sleeves and getting involved. He helped establish the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest County and has been a board member since 1993. He also serves on the advisory board of the Assistance League of Temecula Valley and has held leadership positions on the boards of area chambers of commerce (Temecula Valley and Murrieta/Wildomar) and a local health system.
Other groups that Gilmore supports include Hospice of the Valleys; Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley; Michelle’s Place Cancer Research Center; Jacob’s House; Our Nicholas Foundation (autism awareness); and Susan G. Komen Inland Empire, to name a few. He gets the most joy from providing Christmas to the families of terminally ill children through Cops for Kids.
For his good works and his contributions to Temecula, Gilmore was proud to be recognized on the City of Temecula Wall of Honor. “I was recognized as one of the 10 people who had the most impact on the city in its first 10 years of incorporation,” he said.
He added, “When my daughter Katelyn takes my place, I will have set a culture of ‘see the need, do the deed’ that she can continue for years to come.”
Gilmore was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association. He and his wife Cindy have two daughters, Tina, and Katelyn.