Written by The Business Journal Staff
Randy Haron, Owner/General Manager
What we do:
Dealer for Jaguar/Land Rover products and service and repair
Graduated from Bullard High School, went to three years of college at Fresno City College
Family: Wife Annette and son Brayden (5)
Did you grow up always figuring you would own a car dealership, Randy?
Since I was 12, I wanted to be in the car business and I wanted to have a dealership by time I was 35. I started at Haron Jaguar washing cars, detailing and being a janitor, and then on the weekends I would show customers cars. To me it was something that just came naturally.
What was it particularly about the car sales business that made you gravitate towards it, Randy?
I grew up always around cars and I loved them. Plus, I had a passion for speed and performance. I used to race motorcycles and I’ve always been around fast cars and fast motorcycles, so getting a chance to be around automobiles was like being a kid in a candy store, especially these 550-horsepower super-cars.
So what do you drive, Randy?
I have a Jaguar XKR-S. It’s a 550-horsepower coupe.
How often does a car dealer buy a new car, Randy?
That’s an interesting question. We buy them just like everyone else does. The good news is that you frequently get to drive fun cars because you’re always around them. But as far as personal cars, I guess every now and then.
During the recession a lot of luxury products suffered, how were you able to survive, Randy?
I think the reason we survived is because of our overhead. Having a low overhead, staying downtown—we’ve owned this building for a long time—we kept it tight, didn’t let employees go and we kept our staff through the recession. We didn’t go through and chop heads, so-to-speak, and we were able to survive. It was tough but now we’re prospering and people remember the dealers that stuck it out and are still there for their customers. We’ve been here for 67 years and we’re not planning on going anywhere.
You say you’re prospering, so have car sales picked up, Randy?
Absolutely. We had a record year last year and this year we’re 10 percent above last year already.
What is it about downtown Fresno that makes it so appealing to you, Randy?
I think a lot of it is the overhead and keeping it light. If you have low overhead you can maneuver when you need to. The other part is that is when you look at a map of the cities of Fresno, Visalia and Clovis, the one central spot where everything meets is in downtown. So if you live in Clovis, Visalia, South Valley or North Valley, it’s easy to get to this spot. You can get to our location faster than any other location in Fresno, due to the ease of the freeway access.
What are some things people might not realize about car dealerships, Randy?
I think there is a perception that car dealers are bad people. We’re business people just like in every other company, but when you’re local and you’re from this area. you do business with your friends and I consider all of our customers my friends. We want to find you a car that you’re going to get into and smile when you turn it on. I think that’s what we really strive for with our whole staff and it’s important for us to share that with a customer. I think car dealers get a bad wrap from the “olden days” so-to-speak, and a lot of them aren’t here anymore. That’s really our legacy—we’re still here. If you take care of the customer, the customer will take care of you. In 2008 and 2009 when the recession hit really hard, we had a lot of customers come in and say “I know you guys need to sell a car, what can I buy from you?” I don’t forget those things. Those things kept us afloat.
In your free time what are some things you like to do, Randy?
I love to golf. I was a club champ at Fort Washington last year. My handicap ranges from a +3 and a zero.
Where is the coolest place you’ve ever golfed, Randy?
I’d say Pebble Beach. It’s beautiful. I’m going to Augusta this next week.
What was your first job growing up and what did you learn from it, Randy?
I had a paper route and what I learned is you have to deliver on time or you don’t get paid. It’s really getting up early and you have something to do and you have responsibility. I think everybody should have a paper route.