Seventy years on, the small corrugated aluminum shed that served as Charles Haron’s mechanical repair shop has evolved into a Jaguar and Land Rover dealership serving much of the central San Joaquin Valley.
The Fresno City Council honored the Haron family on Feb. 25 for marking their 70th year in business. The operation began as Haron’s Automotive in 1946 and was in the same location it currently stands at, near Ventura and L streets in downtown Fresno.
In March, the business will reinforce its commitment to downtown Fresno as it breaks ground on a new, larger facility.
The Haron family is proud of the milestone given the economic challenges faced by car dealers during the last recession, said Randy Haron, general manager and a member of the family’s third generation in the business.
“During that time, you saw a lot of dealerships change hands and we’re very proud of the fact that we stayed together as a family and were able to weather that storm,” Haron said.
At its inception, the business was roughly 3,000 square feet and has since come to take up over 100,000 square feet in total area, he Haron said.
“He thrived, he had a great following, he was considered a master technician,” dealer principal Jim Haron said of his father, Charles. “From there, he moved on to consigning a car or two for sale. He was doing 5-cent tune-ups and he found by selling a car, he could make a little bit more than that.”
By the early 1950s, Charles Haron was dealing Standard-Triumph vehicles. Over the years, Haron would deal in Lotus, Peugeot, Alpha Romeo and other makes before taking on the Jaguar line in 1968, said Hilary Haron, business manager and a member of the family’s third generation in the business.
The Harons took on Land Rover vehicles in 1970 before dropping the brand in ‘72, and then picking it back up in 1990, Jim Haron said.
While a longtime fixture in downtown, Haron has considered moving to a new location.
“We think about it all the time,” Jim Haron said. “But primarily, this has been home for us; it’s worked well and it’s a very convenient location because all the freeways converge around here: (highways) 99, 41 and 168.
“And our territory, you might say, for our brands is Fresno County, Tulare County, Kern County, Madera, Mariposa, Merced County. Modesto, Bakersfield,” Jim Haron said. “We have a large reach so we need convenience for our customers to be able to get in.”