Old Denny Hecker dealership is likely location for dealership
Fury Motors is eyeing a possible expansion into the vacant former Denny Hecker dealership in Oak Park Heights, according to company officials.
“We’ve agreed on the numbers and if everything else comes out OK, we will certainly go ahead with the purchase,” said Jim Leonard of Lake Elmo Fury Motors. “We didn’t want to get the cart in front of the horse and we’re working on that. In the mean time everything so far looks fine.”
Leonard said that the reason the Oak Park Heights location was chosen was because Fury Motors has received a lot of support from the St. Croix Valley area, especially in 2009 when Leonard and his brother, Tom, lost their franchise due to Chrysler/General Motors filing for bankruptcy.
“A lot of the reason we’re still in business is that the community and local politicians’ support led to connections in places such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office that allowed us to get arbitration to put the dealership back into place,” Leonard said. “Without that support we may not even be here talking about our business or this expansion and it’s gone a long ways to how we view everything. We want to invest back in the community.”
When asked if the new St. Croix River bridge going in had any impact on his location decision Leonard said that he had thought about Oak Park Heights even without the new bridge.
He added that the old Hecker building had special features a car dealership needs and that he feels the community could support another dealership. It should be noted that Leonard’s Chrysler dealership in Lake Elmo is not going anywhere once this new dealership is built. After everything is in place, Leonard will select the auto franchise that will be sold from the now-barren corner on Minnesota 36 and Osgood Avenue.
Both Oak Park Heights Mayor David Beaudet and City Administrator Eric Johnson are looking forward to the revitalization of that corner.
“We’re delighted to have a new business come in and revitalize a corner that really needs revitalization,” Beaudet said. “The dealership when it was there had about 60 jobs and we wish them all the success in this endeavor. We’re a ways away from this happening of course, but we hope that Fury Motors will be able to find the location fits their needs.”
Leonard said the site will start as a dealership and the company work on adding a service center and a parts and body shop later. Leonard plans to work with the city to make this happen.
“If we do get all of it that would be great, but if we don’t it’s not a big deal.” he said. “So far we’ve had a great experience working with Eric Johnson and the city of Oak Park Heights. They’ve been great at working with us. We’ve never done business here before and it’s a great partnership so far. They’ve been very receptive, warm and welcoming to us and it’s been absolutely fantastic working with them.”