By SHERRY DIGMON
News Staff Writer
If Jason Pilger had to describe his life right now, he might use the word “chaotic.”
Pilger took over ownership of Chuck Stevens Chevrolet in Atmore last Wednesday, August 15.
Atmore is a good fit for Pilger. He lives in Mobile and has a hunting camp in Camden. He said Atmore is just about a halfway point for him.
The weeks leading up to “signing on the dotted line” have been busy indeed as Pilger has handled the transition while also taking care of his Hyundai dealership in Gautier, Miss.
Last week, new signage went up as the deal was finalized and Jason Pilger Chevrolet became part of the Atmore business community.
Pilger’s business partner, John Moreno of Houston, was in Atmore for the closing. Moreno, who is president of a heavy industrial construction company, plans to move to Alabama.
The same service department and most of the same staff stayed with the dealership.
“Ninety-five percent of the former employees decided to stay,” Pilger said. “We didn’t terminate anyone.”
The former Staff Chevrolet building is most recognizable by the glass windows and rounded corners. An architect is scheduled to come next month to determine how Pilger can keep the look of a 1930s building, yet modernize it to make it more comfortable for customers and efficient for employees.
Ben Jackson is the new general manager at the dealership. He and Pilger have worked together for years. Raymond Rolin remains as service manager.
Pilger was born in Chicago, and his family moved to Wisconsin when he was one. He moved to the South at age 20 working in the casino business. Then he raced watercraft professionally. His dad was CEO of the company and fired him.
“He said to me, ‘I’m firing you because I love you,'” Pilger said. “That’s how I got into the car business. I had a buddy who owned a dealership, and he told him me I could sell cars and race too.”
Pilger liked the car business immediately.
“I make a good living and meet people and talk to them,” he said.
He plans to divide his time between Atmore and Gautier and the hunting camp, that is when he’s not coaching tee-ball, soccer, and Pee Wee football in Mobile.
Jackson and Pilger are both impressed with the warm welcome they’ve received here.
“I love Atmore. Everyone has been so welcoming,” Pilger said. “The changeover has been very hectic. When things calm down, we can’t wait to get involved in the community …
“We as employees and customers are proud to come to Atmore. We plan on staying as long as Atmore will have us.”
News photo by Sherry Digmon