Dumas Sapp & Son: 70 years in the same small town
● By Richard Gaw
In order to better understand the very simple reason that Dumas Sapp & Son is celebrating its 70th year in Oxford this year, one would need to negotiate the purchase of a motor vehicle from a modern-day dealership.
Upon arrival, the potential buyer is swept up in a tidal wave of personal attention, shown a fleet of vehicles and ushered to a desk, where the number crunching begins. And then, as if by reflex, the sales associate suddenly vanishes, numbers in hand, into some anonymous place, to speak with some other associates who will always remain anonymous.
In contrast, there have been no hidden figures or back room mathematics at the Oxford dealership since Dumas Sapp first opened his original location in 1948, and whenever a potential buyer stops by, he or she speaks with either owner Kenneth Sapp or sales assistant John Paxson. If there's a maintenance issue, technician Lex Weeks is there to help them.
“We've never done that at any time,” said Sapp, who has been associated with the dealership since 1996, and purchased the business from his father in 2003. “I work with every customer we have right at this desk, and we always contact them a few days after they make the purchase, just as a follow-up to make sure they're satisfied with everything.”
Dumas Sapp & Son has done business this way for generations of Oxfordians, selling over 15,000 vehicles in that time, and its 40-vehicle lot is a never-ending showcase of once- and twice-owned cars, pickups, vans and SUVs. To best illustrate the degree of customer loyalty that the company has enjoyed, Sapp estimated that about 50 percent of all purchases are made by repeat customers.
“I recently sat down with one long-time repeat customer to finalize a purchase, and he told me, 'Ken, the reason I keep coming back to you is that I know you're always fair with me,'” Sapp said. “He told me, 'I may not always like the answer I get, but I always get it right away.' It's a show of mutual respect that he and I have built up over the years, and it's what we've always extended to everyone.”
While the company's original tire clock may pay homage to its beginning, Dumas Sapp & Son comes with all of the modern-day conveniences that customers search for. Its website includes a complete inventory of all current vehicles for sale – with photos and details – as well as an online vehicle request form, that allows potential customers to request the exact vehicle they are looking to purchase.
In addition, every car sold comes with a free and comprehensive CARFAX vehicle history report.
There are two cars currently on display in the showroom of Dumas Sapp & Son that help define the company's longevity and commitment to quality. The first car, a white 1963 Corvair, shines in near mint condition, while the second, a 1994 Buick LaSabre, is marked with a sign that boasts of its more than 500,000 miles driven over the course of its life.
“Our new slogan is, '70 Years in the Same Small Town,'” Sapp said. “I think that's a perfect way to define where we are, who we are, and what we will remain.”
To learn more about Dumas Sapp & Son, visit www.sappqualitycars.com.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.