By: Amy Beth Dobbins | Category: Automotive | Issue: June 2018
Stephen J. Kissee, Owner
Jack Kissee opened the doors to the Jack Kissee Ford dealership, in the spring of 1958, just off of Main Street in Claremore. In 1963, business was bustling and there was a need for expansion. Kissee Ford moved to its location on Lynn Riggs Blvd. where it remains strong to this day. Stephen J. Kissee, Owner and son of the late Jack Kissee, is now at the wheel, steering the family business with great success.
In a time where businesses, seemingly, open and shut overnight, how has Kissee Ford thrived for sixty years? “It’s the way we treat people,” Steve explains. “The internet may have changed business for customers in terms of being able to see the availability of inventory, but the internet doesn’t change who you can trust. It’s all about relationship. We have so many repeat customers. We excel at building relationships, and we are here to stay.”
Marking milestones and going the extra distance in customer service are where the rubber meets the road at Kissee Ford, both in the showroom and the service department—from the first visit, where an individual is warmly welcomed, to servicing a vehicle long after its purchase.
Steve recalls helping make many a sixteen-year-old’s birthday very sweet. In one instance, the Kissee Ford team even coordinated with the parents to deliver a newly purchased ride to their residence while they were out to dinner, celebrating their daughter’s birthday. When the new driver arrived home, she was met with a huge surprise, adorned with a giant bow.
The company has had many opportunities to serve several generations of families. One couple came to know and trust them so much that they literally asked Steve to find a vehicle for them, giving no specs as to what they wanted, and vowed to purchase it, unseen. They told him that they trusted him to find whatever would best fit their needs.
Steve takes great pride in serving in a business started by his parents and in his hometown. He was raised in Claremore and graduated from Claremore High School. In 1976, after college, he returned to work for the dealership, learning the ropes from the ground up. While his natural family members are involved in the business, he explains that the employees of Kissee Ford have become his family as well. The office manager, for instance, has been with the company since 1981. The sales manager has been a valued employee since 1989. And the list goes on, every single member playing a valuable part of the success equation and translating into a great customer experience.
Kissee Ford is community driven in multiple ways. It participates in Ford’s “Drive For Your School” fundraiser events for local districts, taking new vehicles to a school site. Then, Ford donates $20 to the district’s fundraiser for every test drive of a new vehicle. The dealership also awards yearly scholarships for students attending Rogers State University and supports FFA auctions along with sponsoring numerous community events.
Such a big accomplishment demands a big celebration. Jack Kissee Ford intends to celebrate its 60th on Thursday, June 28; Friday, June 29; and Saturday, June 30. Customers can stop in and enjoy the festivities. There will be a cookout, drawings for door prizes and special pricing on all inventory, new and used—all as a giant ‘THANK YOU’ to the public for their loyalty. Kissee explains: “We are looking forward to this celebration and to show our appreciation to the customers. We want all our customers, our loyal ones and new to come out and enjoy the celebration!”
Their grand prize drawing for $5,000 off the price of a new or used vehicle will be Friday, June 29 at 6AM. You need not be present to win.
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