They’re all lined up and ready to go

Fury Motors opens new Jeep dealership in Oak Park Heights

Gazette Photo by Avery Cropp
Cars line the once vacant parking lot at the new Fury Motors Jeep dealership in Oak Park Heights, Minn.. The Dealership will have it’s soft opening today and will have it’s official opening on Saturday.

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — After four-and-a-half years, the vacant corner at Osgood Avenue and Minnesota Highway 36 is back to life with the opening of a new Fury Motors dealership.

The South St. Paul-based auto dealer will sell Chrysler’s Jeep brand at the renovated former Denny Hecker dealership. Fury also operates a dealership in downtown Lake Elmo.

Jim Leonard of Lake Elmo Fury Motors said in September that the vacant Hecker building was selected 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.

Leonard said that the company is excited to get everything started. The dealership has a soft opening today, with an official opening expected Saturday.

“(Today) we’ll get the machines going, get the customers in and get started,” he said.

It took awhile to get the new dealership into tip-top shape for their new business, according to Jim Leonard.

“After four-and-a-half years, the building needed some work, but we painted and re-sheeted all the surfaces and cleaned everything up and it’s looking good.” he said.

So far, according Jim Leonard, Fury’s move in to its Oak Park Heights location is going well.

“We know this will be a really good thing. We’ve got 50 Jeeps already on the lot and we’ll begin the move-in process of used cars as well,” he said. “It’ll be a pretty busy week before our Dec. 1 opening.”

Jim Leonard said the company plans to have a full-service operation in their new location, including sales of new and used cars, service and parts center and plans for a detail center.

“We’ll have a Jeep-focused dealership. But we’ll also have the ability to sell Chrysler, Dodge or Ram Trucks too,” he said.

Jim Leonard believes that Chrysler’s Jeep brand fits in well at the Fury location.

“We’re very excited to bring the Jeep brand back to the St. Croix Valley, It’s just such a great place full of natural beauty and we feel the Jeep fits in well with that,” he said.

Over the next two to two-and-a-half years, Jim Leonard said Fury plans to tear down the old Hecker building and construct a new facility to maintain traffic flow along the Minnesota 36 frontage roads due to the new St. Croix River Bridge project.

During its move, Fury worked closely with the city of Oak Park Heights, and City Administrator Eric Johnson said the city issued an interim use permit to Fury so they can partner in any area where retail development might occur.

Johnson is pleased that Fury is beginning to revitalize the Osgood-Minnesota 36 corner.

“Well, the city is excited to see Fury Motors going in there and it’ll be great to see them start renewing the property,” Johnson said.

“They’ve been wonderful to work with and we’ve had a very good partnership with them through the whole process,” Jim Leonard said about the city. “They’ve been wonderful and they’ve had open arms to help us achieve this dealership. They had kind of a blighted corner, and now we’ve been able to fix it up and make it presentable.”

In addition to revitalizing the corner, the new dealership also brings about 20 to 30 jobs to the area. Jim Leonard said the new dealership is currently hiring people for a variety of positions.