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Pogue Chrysler Inc
“I believe in keeping my business philosophy simple: ‘Do the very best for everybody, every day”
“I believe in keeping my business philosophy simple: ‘Do the very best for everybody, every day,’” nominee Pogue said. And it is that guiding principle that has served Pogue throughout his career as he advanced from selling used cars on his front lawn to leading a prominent dealership group in his state.
A 1975 graduate of Hughes-Kirk High School in Beechmont, Kentucky, Pogue didn’t start out in the automotive retail business. He developed his background in sales by working for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Central City, Kentucky; the American Bread Company in Nashville, Tennessee; and Kern’s Bread Company in London, Kentucky.
In 1987, Pogue and a partner invested in the used-car business in his hometown of Beechmont, founding D&P Auto Sales Inc. Three years later, he bought out his partner and moved the used-car operation to Powderly. “From 1990 until 1993, I would get up at 3:30 a.m. to run the bread route,” he said. “I would sell cars from 3 p.m. until about 7 p.m. Then it was back home to unload the bread truck and do the paperwork for both businesses.”
Pogue moved D&P Auto Sales to a bigger facility in Powderly in 1994 and focused on the business full-time. A more substantial showroom and new computer technologies allowed him to better manage his growing inventory of certified pre-owned vehicles.
“Soon after going into the automotive business, we had a coal recession hit our community,” Pogue said. “During this time, I was able to provide current-model sedans to customers and keep payments at or below $200 a month. We matched their down payments or trade-ins up to $2,000, and that greatly helped people who had been displaced from their jobs.”
In the early 2000s, Pogue acquired two dealerships from Lester Motors in Greenville, Kentucky, and Central City, with the hopes of bringing the stores to Powderly in a new state-of-the-art facility. However, with the Great Recession taking its toll on the automotive manufacturers in 2008, the project was put on hold. In addition, a catastrophic tornado hit the area that year, destroying the D&P Auto Sales building. By 2013, Pogue was able to complete the project. “We built a 43,000 square-foot complex for our stores that includes a gas station and car wash,” he said.
Presently, Pogue’s automotive group encompasses two new-car dealerships representing brands Buick, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Dodge, Fiat, GMC, Jeep and Ram, plus a pre-owned store. His brother, wife and two children are all an integral part of the business.
Pogue, who grew up on his family’s farm about six miles from Greenville and still lives there today, is deeply connected to his community. He has received numerous awards for his service and is proud to have assisted Cubic Corporation by supplying them with a hundred drivable, low value vehicles to be used in training the Kentucky National Guard at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center. In the years following September 11, 2001, the U.S. Army National Guard Bureau partnered with Cubic Corporation in pioneering a new concept in pre-deployment battlefield training. The Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center is located in Muhlenberg County and is the primary training facility for the Kentucky National Guard. The training center has over 11,000 acres of reclaimed strip-mining land. Cubic Corporation was able to use this land that had little vegetation and no trees, much like in the Middle East, and transform it into mock cities and set up situations that the soldiers would encounter while overseas. Pogue believes whole heartily that these mock situations saved more lives than any of us will ever know.
He has served as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, as well as having contributed his time and leadership to the boards of Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital (Greenville); Muhlenberg County High School Automotive Advisory Council (Greenville); Old National Bank Advisory Board (Greenville); American Red Cross (regional and local chapter); and the Muhlenberg County Fire Association (Central City), among others.
In addition, he is proud to have supported many organizations, including Muhlenberg County Stallions (summer collegiate baseball league); Lake Malone State Park (to replace condemned public boat docks); Muhlenberg County 4-H Food for Kids Backpack Program (provides children with food for the weekends); Lone Star Rodeo Company (traveling rodeo based in Crofton, Kentucky); Lu-Ray Park & Amphitheater (Central City); the International Home of Legends Thumbpicking Weekend (music event at the Merle Travis Music Center in Powderly); and the Everly Brothers Rock ‘n Roll Cruise (free four day music event in Central City).
Pogue was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Gay Williams, president of the Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Freda, have two children.