The new Mohawk Honda on Freemans Bridge Road was packed Saturday as people came out to get a look at the revamped facility and check out the unveiling of the 2012 Honda Civic.
Saturday was the grand opening of the $7 million, 41,000-square-foot Honda dealership, built on the site of the former Salisbury Chevrolet.
The business is owned by brothers Jeff and Steve Haraden. The Haraden family has been selling cars at its downtown Schenectady dealership since 1919. The move to Freemans Bridge Road is expected to roughly double the size of their operation, increasing employment from about 50 to approximately 100 by the end of the year.
“It took about a year to rebuild it from the old Salisbury Chevrolet. Chevrolet closed them. We sold Hondas for 40 years at the old location, and we decided to move everything three miles over to here. This is about three to four times the size of our old location,” Jeff Haraden said.
Steve Haraden said the new location expects to sell 1,200 to 1,400 new cars annually, a 30 percent increase. The dealership has approximately $10 million worth of new cars in its inventory and expects to sell about $50 million worth of cars annually.
The family will still sell used cars and provide auto service at its original State Street dealership.
Part of the grand opening included the announcement of the creation of a Mohawk Honda Scholarship for Scotia-Glenville High School students. The scholarship will pay full tuition for two years plus the cost of textbooks for Schenectady County Community College for one 2011 Scotia-Glenville graduate.
Carmel Patrick, SCCC executive director of development, said there is no formal application process. The student affairs staff will choose which student receives the scholarship from among the Scotia-Glenville students applying for the fall of this year.
“The student will be chosen based on academics and financial need. The student will need to maintain a 3.0 GPA for two years to keep the scholarship,” she said.
People attending the grand opening were given tours of the new facility. Steve Haraden said the dealership was completely rebuilt from the concrete slab and steel girders left by Salisbury Chevrolet into a state-of-the-art Honda dealership. Some of the features of the business include an 18-lift service center and a customer information center complete with free Wi-Fi and mounted iPads.
Steve Haraden said the dealership was built to Honda’s specifications but he and his brothers came up with some of the innovations, like the use of the iPads.
“This is just something exclusive we came up with,” he said.
Using the iPads, customers will be able to see what colors and options are available for different models of cars at the dealership, as well as what similar used cars the dealership is currently selling.