Fresno Dealer Waiting for H-D Nod

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Expansion plans for a longtime Fresno Harley-Davidson dealership are in limbo while the owners await renewal of a longstanding dealer agreement.

Family-owned Mathews Harley-Davidson wants to expand after nearly 50 years at the same location. With his dealership agreement set to expire Dec. 31, his plans to double the size of the dealership, enlarge the showroom, boost service capabilities and create a motorcycle museum are on hold despite city support.

"We are waiting for them to define our future," Melissa Walters, granddaughter of founders Harold and Eva Mathews, told the Fresno Bee.

The dealership has 11 employees, six of them family members. They and 75 community supporters lobbied the City Council, which declared Thursday "Mathews Harley-Davidson Day" and promised to send letters to the company in support of the $1 million expansion.

The dealer agreement has been in dispute for five years, with H-D suggesting a move, the newspaper reported, despite awarding family members free trips for meeting or exceeding revenue projections. Harley-Davidson declined comment.

Former Fresno City Councilman Jerry Duncan, a Mathews customer, told the Bee Mathews’ gritty downtown location does not match the image Harley-Davidson wants to portray. "If Mathews was in northwest Fresno, this would not be an issue," he said.

— Submitted by Holly Wagner