Not many local car dealerships can say that they’ve been selling their wares for a century (remember, Henry Ford only introduced his automotive assembly line a little over a century ago in 1913). But that’s exactly what Mohawk Honda, founded in 1919, in Glenville has achieved. The dealer of new and used Hondas celebrated its centennial all year, first with a modest birthday cake for itself—and then a generous gift to the Capital Region, in the form of $100,000 ($1,000 per year) to local charities and nonprofits, plus an inaugural charity event that raised an additional $25,000.
“Our overall mission and goal has always been to ‘treat others the way you want to be treated,’” says Mohawk Honda President Jeff Haraden. “That goes for our customers and our employees; happy employees lead to happy customers, and those happy customers lead to our creating long-lasting relationships with them.” In that spirit, Mohawk Honda donated $10,000 each to ten local nonprofits and held an inaugural charity event, the Haraden Family Foundation Golf Tournament last March, which raised an additional $25,000 for the Lyme Action Network. Additionally, Mohawk Honda got its staff involved in the campaign, with employees pledging a cumulative 10,000 hours of volunteer time to a nonprofit of their choice. “We have close to 200 employees, and they’re all part of the family,” says Haraden. “That’s not just a cliché; it’s how we run our business.”
Mohawk Honda’s giving spirit traces all the way back to Haraden’s grandfather, Joseph, who settled in Schenectady with his family after Thomas Edison recruited him to work as an engineer at the General Electric Company. Once in the Electric City, Haraden’s grandfather saw the rising demand for primitive automobiles—or what were then called “horseless carriages”—and he quickly established Mohawk Auto Sales in 1919. Haraden’s father carried on that same innovative spirit, and in 1971, he brought the first-ever Honda dealership to the Capital Region, turning Mohawk Auto Sales into Mohawk Honda.
Since then, the dealership has become one of the region’s top auto traders, and it’s not done growing yet. On November 19, Mohawk Honda announced a major expansion by purchasing Northstar Chevrolet in Clifton Park. Haraden says he plans to refurbish and rebrand the dealership as Mohawk Chevrolet. “This is exciting, because from 1919 until 1980, we were a Chevy dealership,” Haraden says. “We can’t wait to bring the same customer-friendly buying experience and our corporate culture to Mohawk Chevrolet.”