After 19 months and an $8 million renovation, a downtown Fresno car dealership is back to where it had been for more than seven decades. And where it wants to stay.
Haron Jaguar Land Rover held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday (Jan. 22) afternoon. It was more than just opening a new 44,000 square-foot facility at 2222 Ventura Street. It was a celebration of downtown Fresno and the Haron family’s love affair with selling high-performance automobiles.
“Downtown is the hub for where Fresno is growing. This is where our roots were. This is where my grandfather started the company in 1946. So, it’s very important for us to stay in the exact same location,” said Randy Haron, the third generation of his family to own the dealership.
“Haron has been synonymous with staying downtown, and being here, for Fresno. We’re proud of Fresno.”—Randy Haron
Randy Haron prefers downtown because of its freeway access. But, there is a pride factor as well. The dealership’s social media hashtag is #fresnoproud.
“Haron has been synonymous with staying downtown, and being here, for Fresno. We’re proud of Fresno,” Haron said.
Jim Haron has been with the family business for nearly 50 years. He praised the city’s help to keep them at the same location.
“I love downtown, and I love Fresno. I think by staying here we’re making a statement,” he said. “Downtown is rising up, and we’re happy to be here.”
Councilman Miguel Arias (District 3) appreciates the Harons sticking around.
“It’s absolutely important for a family with such a long history in Fresno that they demonstrate their commitment to downtown Fresno by investing not only in their business but to future generations to our great downtown,” Arias said.
For the last 19 months, the dealership spread across six temporary locations, while the main 13,000 square foot facility was demolished and built from the ground up.
A Haron History
Charles Haron opened the store 73 years ago to the day on the same piece of land.
Known in early advertisements as “Haron the Baron, the Sports Car King of the Valley,” the World War II veteran began as an auto mechanic who sold used cars on the side.
For many years, the dealership featured Triumphs and MGs. With the demise of the beloved British sports cars, the Harons began selling Jaguars exclusively in 1981, adding the Land Rover line later.
“It’s something I’ve loved. I’ve wanted to do it since I was a kid,” Randy Haron said. “I started here as a janitor. I went into sales, service, parts. It’s just something I’ve always loved. It’s in my blood.”
The guest list included the expected crowd for such a civic engagement: city council members, other city hall officials, business leaders, and even the pediatrician to this reporter’s kids. Hundreds of well-wishers mingled around the Jaguar XJ in the new showroom, retail price $90,036. They dined on catered food, and enjoyed an open bar (which will not be a regular feature at the dealership).
The three Harons cut the ribbon in front of the store, followed by a proclamation from Fresno County Supervisor Sal Quintero, who called the store, “the jewel box of Fresno.”
“We still have to pinch ourselves,” Hilary Haron said while showing off the new digs to friends.
The next big item for Haron is producing its Super Bowl commercial, which will air during a local ad break for the fourth consecutive year.