Bob Poynter celebrates 40 years in Seymour


Bob Poynter was on his way to the big league.

Having played baseball from a young age and being a part of a successful team at Southport High School, Poynter was set to work toward a professional career.

A rotator cuff injury, however, ended that dream.

“I was down there for six weeks (with an MLB team) and they cut me the last day. They said, ‘You know, your arm is just not coming around,'” Poynter said.

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That journey didn’t come to fruition, but lessons learned through baseball set the foundation for success in another field.

Poynter is celebrating 40 years as president/owner of Bob Poynter GM in Seymour. Plus, there is a Ford dealership and a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat dealership in Seymour and Bob Poynter Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Columbus.

“Sometimes, life turns you in different directions,” he said while looking at a framed Indianapolis Star article written about him playing baseball in 1964 hanging on a wall in his Seymour office.

“Sometimes, there’s a reason, and it has been a good reason. I have no complaints,” he said. “Still, if I could do it again, I would do it again.”

Poynter was born in Indianapolis and spent 14 years with General Motors before starting the dealership in Seymour in 1979.

“When I was working for Chevrolet, I used to be a rep down here in 1969, ’70 and ’71. I knew this area,” he said. “I got promoted in Indianapolis, and then I wound up after about three times in Detroit. I was up there as assistant national business manager, had the western half of the country, traveled all of the time.”

He, however, said he didn’t like Detroit.

“They wanted me to stay,” Poynter said. “I told them I was leaving and my ex-partner has come available. He said, ‘Hey, how would you like to be the Chevrolet-Olds dealer in Seymour, Indiana?’ I said, ‘It beats being in Detroit.'”

Knowing Seymour was a stable, good car area at the time, Poynter gave it a try.

Within the first couple of years, though, interest rates started going up.

“We financed new cars 16, 17% with good, quality credit, and I thought, ‘What in the world have I done?'” he said, laughing.

Fortunately, with hard work from his employees, they survived, and business took off.

To date, Poynter said they have sold more than 100,000 vehicles.

“We sell all over. From the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast, from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, anywhere in between, that’s our area,” he said. “We’re going to sell over 2,000 this year new and used.”

Poynter began the business selling Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles and in 1994 picked up the rest of the GM franchises. He later added the Ford and the Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealerships.

“It goes in a hurry, but over those 40 years, I’ve been blessed with good, quality people and customers that have come back,” he said. “We do that by telling the truth. We’re always going to tell you the way it is. We don’t flower it up. This is the way it is straight. I think by doing that, you have to earn their trust. You do not buy it. You have to earn it.”

In any business, if you try to do it right and you’ve got good people, it works, Poynter said.

“We all care,” he said. “We want to be your car company not just today. We want to be your car company for life. We’ve worked very hard at doing that.”

Poynter has created a great work atmosphere, as 40 of his employees have been there for more than 10 years.

“Most of them don’t know anybody but me. They’ve grown up here. They are like my kids,” he said of his tenured employees. “Sometimes, we use the phrase, ‘We’re more than just a car company. We are your friend.’ We are, and we will go out of our way to make a customer happy.”

Besides selling a lot of vehicles, Poynter is known for his giving nature. He, however, doesn’t boast about what he does.

“I’ve been on both sides of the fence, started out with nothing,” he said. “My dad died when I was young. I’ve been working since I was 11 years old. I went two years of college, but I had to work twice as hard because I didn’t have a degree.”

Fortunately, he said he was able to overcome.

“Today, you would never be able to do that, but I was able to move up in GM to the point where they could see what I could do,” he said. “I started out in the mailroom and went up nine levels. It took me twice as hard to do that.”

He created a successful business and reached a point where he could give back to the community.

“I think it’s important if you make your money here, you need to put some of it back in the community,” he said. “Anchor House, Boys and Girls Club, I could go on and on.”

Poynter said he has had the privilege of working with thousands of customers over the years and currently is working with second and third generations.

Doing it for 40 more years, though, he’s not so sure.

“I’m 76. Father Time will stop all that,” he said, smiling. “But it has been a great 40 years. Seymour is not only a good place to grow a business. It’s also a good place to raise a family, and it has been very good, and I’ve tried to be good to Seymour.”

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Bob Poynter GM is at 1209 E. Tipton St., Seymour.

For information, call 812-522-4187 or visit or


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