Currently with more than 5,000 stores in 48 states and Mexico, Oakhurst could soon be the next location for an AutoZone store, at the intersection of Highways 41 and 49, after demolition of the Old Mexico Taqueria restaurant building.
The first business in that building was Santa Barbara Savings in the late 70s. Other businesses located there included Steve N’ Sons Feed & Fuel, Shari D’s Restaurant, Hondo’s Great American Steakhouse, and The Beach Club Restaurant.
A public meeting, which includes this project, was held before the Madera County Development Review Committee April 13, in Madera. A representative for AutoZone was expected to be at the meeting to propose a general plan amendment for the property from ‘open space’ to ‘community commercial,’ and a variance to allow the reduction in parking spaces for the business from 28 to 21.
The review committee is co-chaired by Madera County planners Robert Mansfield and Jamie Bax. The project will then move to a public hearing with the county planning commission.
According to Mansfield, the proposed plan is to demolish the present building on the site that was originally built in the late 70s, to make room for the new 6,900 square-foot AutoZone store. No timeline for the demolition or new construction is available at this time as the project goes through the planning process.
AutoZone has one store in Chowchilla, two in Madera, three in Clovis, and eight in Fresno. Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, AutoZone currently has more than 65,000 employees.
The AutoZone website states the company believes in giving to non-profit organizations through merchandise cards for silent auctions and other activities to better serve the communities in which they are located.
According to the AutoZone website, the company started with the vision of one man - J.R. “Pitt” Hyde III. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of North Carolina, he joined a wholesale food company founded by his grandfather. Hyde initiated and developed specialty retailing divisions, beginning with drug stores.
Hyde saw a need for a retail automotive parts store, and on July 4, 1979, Auto Shack opened its first store in Forrest City, Arkansas. Sales that day totaled about $300.
Today, Auto Shack is AutoZone - a Fortune 500 company and the leading auto parts retailer in the United States with more than $8.1 billion in annual sales.