“Treat your customer’s right and they’ll treat you right. You can’t stay in business as long as we have and not treat people right. Who you are trumps what you sell. Sales is not just about knowing the product. It’s about how people feel with you.” – Bill Sapp
I believe a huge part of Sapp Bros. success was due to Bill and the other Sapp Brothers’ (Ray, Lee, and Dean) commitment to treating people as they would want to be treated. To Bill, every person that walked through Sapp Bros.’ door was not a customer, rather, a “Welcomed Guest.”
The four Sapp brothers’ went into business together on June 1st, 1960 when they equally bought a Ford dealership in Ashland Nebraska. Through hard work and the grace of God, the brothers’ were able to start and/or buy a few other auto and commercial truck dealerships shortly thereafter. In 1967, the brothers’ were presented an opportunity to purchase 52 acres in Sarpy County, NE at Hwy 50 and I-80. They planned on relocating their downtown GMC Truck dealership to, what at the time was considered to be, the far west edge of Omaha, NE. Through a series of unexpected twist and turns outside of their control, the truck dealership relocation didn’t come to fruition. However they collaboratively decided that the property had tremendous potential to be a truck stop.
The brothers’ nominated Bill to conduct in-depth research into the truck plaza industry by making numerous visits to existing truck stops and interviewing their operators. Two of his stops included interviews with Fred Bosselman of Bosselman Truck Stop (Grand Island, NE) and Harley Shoemaker of Shoemakers Truck Stop (Lincoln, NE). Bill credits a big part of his success to the gracious and honest wisdom that both men shared with him. In 1971, the Omaha Nebraska Sapp Bros. Truck Stop opened. After going into business, Bill, Harley, and Fred’s relationship turned into a wonderful friendship. They would meet almost quarterly for years sharing ideas, successes, and failures of their respective operations.
Since day one, Bill’s focus has been trying to create the most “positive experience” possible for working men and women on the road.vBill and his team believed in providing a friendly “Guest” atmosphere, sparkling clean showers, “Mom Approved” Restrooms, as well as relevant and affordable products and services. Part of the “positive experience” also included things Bill choose not to do; Bill elected and committed to not sell pornography, alcohol, and mood altering drugs. Bill believed professional drivers should have a place to attend worship services while they are out on the road. Bill personally supported and partnered with several ministries to offer services at many of the Sapp Bros. Travel Center locations. Under Bill’s guidance Sapp Bros., Inc. has grown to 17 full-service, friendly travel centers; primarily located on Interstate-80 & 70 from as far west as Salt Lake City, Utah to Clearfield, Pennsylvania in the east. In addition to the Travel Center business Bill and the Sapp Bros. team started Sapp Bros Petroleum, a wholesale fuel distributorship offering refined fuels, lubricants, oil, propane, diesel exhaust fluid, compressed natural gas, kerosene, additives, solvents, and many other associated products, services, and equipment. Sapp Bros. partners with nearly all petroleum manufacturers to ensure their Travel Centers and 30+ wholesale outlets have the most in-demand products and services.
As members of the Sapp Bros. team and family, it’s now our responsibility and privilege to carry on Bill’s legacy to the next generation(s) inside our team and to you, our “Welcomed Guest.” This looks like: Doing things with honesty and integrity; Serving our customers as welcomed guests; Continuing to innovate and invest in new endeavors; Working as a team; Concern and care for each other; and Continuing to be a profitable company.
We are forever indebted to the vision and commitment Bill has given us.
I sincerely thank you for your part in Bill’s and the Sapp Bros. story and success!
Keep the faith. God bless.
Welcome, Be Our Guest!