The Sight dealership business—comprising Bob Sight Ford, Bob Sight Kia and Rob Sight Ford—is celebrating 100 years of serving the Kansas City area the way they started: with a focus on family.
Jack Sight opened Sight Brothers Chevrolet in 1923 with his two brothers, Dave and Harry, joining him to work in the dealership. It was the first Chevrolet franchise in Kansas City.
When Jack passed away in 1957, his two sons, Bob and Bill, took over ownership and operations. The dealership was located just outside of the then-vibrant downtown Kansas City at Linwood and Gillham Streets.
Bob Branches Off
In 1966, Bob Sight left the partnership at the Chevrolet store and acquired Village Mercury in the up-and-coming Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan. Bob quickly added Lincoln to supplement the Mercury franchise, and Bob Sight Lincoln Mercury was born. With two Sight family dealerships in the area, the Sight name soon became a staple in Kansas City.
Bill Sight remained dealer principal of the family’s original Sight Bros. Chevrolet. In 1967, he renamed the dealership Bill Sight Chevrolet, which is how it remained until it closed in the early 1980s following losses from the oil crises and interest rate spikes.
After Bob’s passing in 1982, his two sons, Rob and Tom, took over ownership and operation of the Lincoln Mercury store.
In 1992, Rob and Tom purchased a Ford store in the growing Kansas City suburb of Lee’s Summit, Mo., which they named Bob Sight Ford, after their father.
In 2005, Rob and Tom amicably decided to split their partnership with Rob taking the Lincoln Mercury store and Tom taking the Ford store – prioritizing being brothers and representatives of the Sight brand rather than direct partners.
Then in 2006, Rob saw a great opportunity to move the Lincoln and Mercury franchises into a brand-new facility in the rapidly growing southern part of Kansas City. He settled in then-developing Martin City, where the business had the ability to service more customers. The new location was now easily accessible by residents of Leawood, South Kansas City, Grandview, Belton and Overland Park.
In 2007, Extreme Ford of Overland Park and Adams Ford of Belton became available for purchase. Rob thought South Kansas City needed a more centralized location to sell and service Fords. After purchasing these two stores, he moved Lincoln and Mercury out and replaced them solely with Ford. Rob decided to rename the dealership, and Rob Sight Ford came to be. Rob’s son, Bobby Sight, who is the 2024 NADA Show Committee chairman, became his business partner.
Tom is still owner of the Bob Sight Ford as well as Bob Sight Kia, which was added in 2005. Tom’s son, Zachary, is general manager and partner of Bob Sight Ford, while his other son, Brian, is general manager and partner of the Kia store in Independence, Mo. Both Zachary and Brian, as well as Bobby are NADA Academy graduates.
A Little Familial Rivalry
The two brothers, Rob and Tom, essentially run competing Ford dealerships covering the Kansas City area, but they maintain a close relationship. The biggest way they aggressively compete is through giving back to the community. “We try to out (fund)raise each other,” says Bobby.
Rob Sight Ford has a longstanding relationship with a local no-kill animal shelter, Wayside Waifs. Bobby’s mom took him there in 1996, when they rescued and claimed Kasey Thunderbird, a golden retriever, as a member of their family. They have since adopted a dozen dogs and cats from the shelter. With the Sight dealership’s assistance, the shelter grew into a multi-building facility, able to save even more four-legged family members.
“We have dogs in the store all the time,” Bobby adds. “They’re here so often they know where the treats are.”
Bob Sight Ford and Kia have relationships with The Children’s Place (which assists abused children and prepares them for school) and Children’s Mercy Hospital. But they don’t stop there.
“I don’t think we’ve ever turned down a request to help schools or kids’ sports teams. I have a weak spot when it comes to children’s charities,” Zachary says.
People, Family First
The family agrees that one thing has been the key to their success: their employees. Specifically, retaining employees and making them a part of the family.
“Low turnover is the most important thing to us,” Bobby says. “We like to make sure customers see the same faces. Relationships are everything, and we’ve been very lucky to have some great people over the years.”
Zachary agrees that people are their No. 1 asset, adding that he walks around to every employee each day to say hello and check in with them.
“It’s important, because they are part of the family. We find that how you treat your employees directly relates to how they treat everyone who walks in the door,” Zachary says. “We do it internally, which helps us do it externally.”
And it seems to be working, as the dealerships have high ratings on sites such as DealerRater.com, cars.com and Edmunds.com.
A lot has changed over 100 years, but the family’s promise to customers has not.
“It’s our guarantee that we will provide sales and service how the customer wants it,” Rob says. “You will get a similar experience no matter what Sight store you walk into. You’ll get ‘family care’ at all locations.”
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