A Change in Strategy Helps Cates Endure

Like his father and grandfather before him, Jeff Cates is the owner of Cates Auction & Realty Co. in North Kansas City. But a lot has changed since the company was founded in 1942.

Back then, Cates’ grandfather specialized in sales of farm equipment and personal property. Today, the company is best known for its auctions of everything from single-family homes to luxury estates, farmland and commercial properties.

It was a transition that Jeff Cates initiated after he joined the firm full time in 1993. When customers called to book an estate auction, Jeff started selling them on the firm’s real estate services, which are more profitable.

That willingness to shift strategies has helped the company prosper, but Jeff Cates is mindful that none of it would be possible without his father and grandfather’s hard work. Customers were willing to give him a chance because of the reputation that earlier generations built.