FAIRFIELD — CarMax on Wednesday made a low-key debut in the Fairfield Auto Mall.
It hosted no public ribbon-cutting ceremony. Some of the nearby, longtime dealerships had more flags and banners whipping in the strong, morning wind. The CarMax website still listed the Fairfield store as “opening soon.”
But there was hustle and bustle at the store at 8 a.m.
Several men with a hose made a few, final cleaning touches on some of the cars. A woman cleaned the already-gleaming showroom floor. Workers on the roof prepared to unfurl a blue-yellow-and-white “Now open” banner down the exterior of the showroom building.
“Just getting ready for opening day,” store general manager Josh Stewart said.
CarMax opened its doors at 10 a.m. Just like that, with no fanfare, it was ready to sell used cars at the site of the old Chrysler and Dodge dealerships that closed during the Great Recession.
CarMax has about 300 cars on its lot, with the ability to bring cars there from its nationwide inventory of some 35,000 cars. Stewart said the focus is on cars that are six years old or newer and have been driven 60,000 miles or less.
Dennis Prusso came to the lot on opening day. He describes himself as semiretired after having been in the car business for years, working at Woodward Chevrolet in Fairfield and Shellworth Chevrolet in Vacaville. He had never been to a CarMax before.
“I just wanted to see what was here,” Prusso said.
They seem to have every make and model, he said.
For example, CarMax has a 2010 Dodge Challenger, a 2011 Mini Cooper, a 2012 Honda Civic, a 2011 BMW 24 3.5, a 2006 Volkswagen Beetle convertible, a 2012 Ford Mustang.
“The most important thing for us here is making sure we help customers find the right car,” Stewart said.
CarMax hired 50 people, ranging from sales to business office to car service and maintenance.
Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said CarMax will draw people to Fairfield from all over the region. These visitors might go to other dealerships in the Auto Mall, stop by Jelly Belly or learn about Suisun Valley, he said.
“From an economic point of view, it’s going to be a great draw,” Price said.
Price expects a public ribbon-cutting ceremony to come later.
For now, CarMax is celebrating its opening publicly with its Rally for Charity event on its Facebook page. It has donated $1,000 each to Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity and The Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club. People can vote on one of the charities through Sept. 11 and the winner will get an additional $2,000.
Please go to www.facebook.com/CarMax for the Facebook page.
CarMax bills itself as the nation’s largest retail dealer of used cars. The Fairfield store is the 17th CarMax in California. The store is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. It can be reached at 430-0359.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.