Jim Sipala doesn’t come from money or privilege. But he does know the value of hard work. Back in 1980, he got his start by walking into a car dealership and asking for a job. They said no, and that they didn’t think he could be a very good salesperson. But Sipala wasn’t taking no for an answer. He went to another dealership, made his humble pitch, and got his start, 30 years ago. “I didn’t have parents that owned a dealership, or any family involved in dealerships. I just didn’t have much growing up, and I knew I wanted to make a better life than my parents did. So I was willing to work twice as hard.”
After many years learning the ropes and developing experience as a sales rep, all of his hard work started paying off. He worked his way up to manager. Then sales manager. Then general manager. Along the way, Sipala absorbed all the lessons his work offered to him, and even found a mentor in one of his employers, Joe Spadaro. “He was a great inspiration to me; he had a dream and desire, and taught me that anything was achievable if you put hard work behind it.” Through the mentorship of Spadaro, Sipala learned about the value of good relationships.
“You know, it’s always been about relationships. I think that’s why I’ve been so successful. I tell customers, whether you buy a car from me or not, I want you to make the right decision for you. I’m not going to sell you a car that isn’t going to fit your budget or that doesn’t fit your needs.”
And it’s not just customers who benefit from his honest insights. Sipala is always passing along the lessons he’s learned by being hands on at his dealerships and constantly communicating with his employees. He even boasts that many of his salespeople were once his customers. “I developed relationships with folks who saw the way I did business then wanted to come and work for me.” That’s right: some of his favorite customers bought cars from him, and then ended up selling cars for him.
Sipala also makes time for his young family, including his wife, Danielle, and his three boys: Jacob, Alex, and Luke. His sons seem to be just as passionate about putting in time at his growing businesses, and he begrudgingly admits that his better half has contributed to his success both on the lot and off. “My wife Danielle gives me a lot of input whether I want it or not,” Sipala jokes, “but she has great judgment.”
In addition to his personal business and family, Sipala is also passionate about contributing to Kia, and has invested himself in the brand as part of Kia’s national advertising committee. Sipala believes very strongly in Kia’s integrity and future ambitions. Though he claims he landed his first franchise simply by being in the right place at the right time, he admires Kia’s constant refinements with regard to quality, safety, and styling.
Kia has ambitious goals, and Sipala is clearly a very ambitious part of the Kia family. It’s a match made in, well, none other than the western suburbs of Philadelphia.
Jim Sipala would love to see ‘ya at his dealerships in West Chester or Coatesville