From left, Scott and Mike Fahrney of the Fahrney Auto Group outlined plans for a new dealership and hotel in the community of Selma. Photos by Edward Smith
Written by Edward Smith
A familiar family name in Selma is adding another car dealership to the fold — as well as a hotel.
The Fahrney family — owners and operators of the Fahrney Auto Group — will cut the ribbon on Mycarpark.com off Highland Avenue near Floral Avenue in early July.
The dealership will have 250-300 used cars of all brands when it opens, according to brothers Mike and Scott Fahrney, general manager and controller — respectively — of Fahrney Auto Group. Toyota of Selma, Swanson Fahrney Ford and Fahrney Buick GMC all belong to the Fahrney Auto Group.
Going with a used car format means they can design the dealership as they see fit, said Mike. Dealerships often have strict requirements to the layout of the showroom.
“This can be limiting if you want to approach sales in a different way,” Mike said.
Fitting the Mycarpark.com name, customers will enter into a park setting, adorned with greenery, grass and park benches where they are immediately greeted.
Rather than having offices behind walls and doors, Mike said they want a more open feel.
Scott said they went with the name Mycarpark.com because it’ll drive more people to the website.
Mike had seen it done on the East Coast and thought it was a good way to synergize the physical location with a website.
During the pandemic, a car dealership’s online presence determined its ability to sell cars.
“Eighty percent to 90% of your customers start on the internet before they even touch foot in a dealership,” Mike said. “It’s a very important presence and that’s what it’ll help establish.”
While the new lot and showroom has been in the works for a number of years, their dealership comes at a time pre-owned vehicles are in high demand.
Cars rely on microchips for everything from safety features to interfaces. Chip shortages have stalled new cars from coming off of assembly lines.
Demand hasn’t quelled though, as car buyers have turned their eyes to used cars.
Kelly Blue Book in March reported that dealers had 2.72 million new vehicles on lots across the country — a 17% decline compared to March 2020 before the pandemic hit.
Even as production has lagged, manufacturers still reported profits. General Motors, Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler all made it into the black, the article read.
Persistent demand and lack of turnout has left many dealerships struggling to keep inventories on the lot.
For the Fahrneys, however, they plan to open with a full inventory.
A job fair for the new dealership will be held June 4-5 at 3150 Highland Ave. from noon to 5 p.m. for positions including sales, service and call center.
Their original plan was to open by June, so they had begun purchasing in late 2020, which put them ahead of the crunch, Mike said.
The Fahrneys will also break ground on a Hampton Inn in June. It will be located near their new Toyota dealership building, which opened in 2017.
The three-story, 92-unit hotel should be completed within 14 months, said Scott.
They had owned the property for a while and wanted to develop it. After doing a market study, they found a demand for hotels between Fresno and Visalia, mostly for business travelers, but also for adventurers.
This will be the first time either Scott or Mike have ventured into the hospitality business. They plan to hire a management company, but once they see how it operates, he said they’d like to take over operations.
Don Fahrney — Mike and Scott’s grandfather — opened the dealership in 1956. Now, Mike and Scott handle operations and their father, Jerry, still comes in every day. Their uncle Donald, as well as Don — at 92 — still come in weekly.
“As things have gotten better and the economies improved, we’ve been able to make different investments in different projects,” Mike said. “As car sales were good, we looked to other ventures. We have feel we have a better grasp on everything now.”