Mathews Harley Davidson grand re-opening

August 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There's four generations of family members spanning six decades. They're crazy about Harley's, and about their Central Valley community.

"My grandparents started the dealership in 1953," Melissa Walters said.

Back then, Harold Mathews was working to fulfill his passion.

"This is them standing at the parts counter my grandpa used to say I don't like that I look like a grease monkey in that picture but for us it's so classic in his coveralls," Melissa Walters said.

For years, Mathews Harley Davidson was doing just fine, the old Blackstone Avenue storefront got plenty of business in Fresno. But then city leaders say Harley Davidson came up with a new marketing plan, and Mathews wasn't fitting in.

"At one point it was even suggested that the store be moved to a nicer area, one that could generate more business," Melissa Walters said.

The Mathew's family risked losing their storefront, and they put their foot down.

"For us, Downtown Fresno has always been home," Melissa Walters said. "It's always been home since 1961. We've never had a desire to relocate or get into a more prominent neighborhood or neighborhood that has more income."

For Melissa Walters, it was her childhood, memories of growing up around everything that is motorcycles.

The family put their heart, soul, and pocket books, into a remodel. Creating a new shop that fits modern times, and the city of Fresno was right behind them.

Fresno City Council Clint Olivier said, "To keep Mathews here it was important that the city participate in that redevelopment to keep this business where it's been for decades right here in Downtown Fresno."

For the Mathews family, it means perpetuating the passion for motorcycles, and getting the business ready for the next generation. It's a dream they wish founder Harold Mathews was still here to see.


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