Sames Motor Co., the oldest dealership in Texas, observed its 100th anniversary with a party hosted by family members who own and operate the facility founded five generations ago.
William J. Sames started the original dealership in Laredo, where he ended up after suffering an illness.
Born in Hartford, CT, he ventured with a business partner to Cuba and then Mexico where he developed pneumonia. A doctor advised him to go to Laredo to get nursed back to health.
He started selling cars there, starting with three Ford Model Ts as inventory. After World War I, the dealership, operating from a third location in downtown Laredo, became an exclusive Ford store.
Grandson Harry Sames Jr. and great-grandson Harry (Hank) Sames III opened Sames Auto Plex off I-35 in the 1970s. The family also owns other new and used-car stores in Laredo, Corpus Christi and Austin, TX.
The Sames Auto Group sells more than 7,000 new and used vehicles a year. Hank Sames III considers the 400 employees as family.
“They're our business partners here and it's always been that way,” he says. “My father started one of the fist profit-sharing plans at a dealership.”