By Mary O’KEEFE
For over 50 years CV Tow has been the one that shows up. It is there when car lights are left on and batteries die, when keys are locked in the car and when cars go over the side on the Crest. Hal Present and his family have not only worked in this community for over half a century, they have also loved and supported this community for that long.
The family’s roots run deep in the Crescenta Valley and so it was a difficult decision for Present to sell his long-held business. But it was time and he found a buyer that would not only respect the history of CV Tow but also support the community as he always had.
“It’s pretty hard to be a small company,” Present said.
The towing business is not an easy one. There is a lot that goes into getting contracts from cities, counties and companies like AAA. Competition is fierce and paperwork and bureaucracy can bury some businesses. Through it all the Present family fought, many times fighting city hall itself. But then on Feb. 16, 2015 at about 1:30 a.m. a fire broke out in one of the company’s holding bays and that was it.
The fire was determined to be deliberately set and involved one of the vehicles that had been impounded by law enforcement. Again there was paperwork and insurance to deal with and costs continued to rise.
The Present family decided it was time to sell but they did not want to sell the business to just anyone. They wanted someone who understood their love and dedication of service to the community.
Mark Hassan is the new owner of CV Tow. He also owns Hadley Tow in Fontana and plans on keeping CV Tow in the community of Crescenta Valley. He does not plan any name change; he has even added Present onto his board of directors.
“I liked the area, the neighborhood and the company,” Hassan said. “[The purchase of CV Tow] is an expansion for us. We will continue to provide the same level of service.”
In addition, Hassan not only supports local business but hires locally as well.
“One of my main employees is from Glendale and I am originally from Glendale,” he said.
The company has service contracts with the Glendale police, AAA, the Los Angeles County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol. It will continue to drive up Angeles Crest Highway and into the Angeles National Forest to take care of motorcycles and vehicles whose drivers find themselves in need. Hassan’s other company deals with canyons and the Cajon Pass, so the roads and specific issues of ANF are something they are used to.
“Our employees are very familiar with the Crest,” he said. “We are pleased to be here. We are keeping the name CV Tow, keeping the same facility and staying in the community.”
All of this was good news to the Present family and especially to Hal who, despite being weary of the paperwork and legalese of running the business, is not ready to completely walk away.
Listening to Present talk about Glendale is a bit of a history lesson of the city. He and his wife Reggie grew up in Venice Beach. They wanted to start a business but Venice was not the right place so they moved up to the Crescenta Valley – far north Glendale – almost sight unseen.
“We didn’t know much about the area,” Present said. “We sold our house and packed up.”
“‘He asked what are we going to do up there?’ and I said, ‘Sink or swim,’” Reggie said.
“We started at the Fly A gas station, where Taco Bell [in the 2100 block of Foothill Boulevard] is,” Present said.
They were awarded an AAA contract and that helped business grow. He later moved to a location near Montrose Park, which was an empty dirt lot at the time. His cars were stored where the park is now. As Glendale grew zoning became an issue.
CV Tow moved to the Los Angeles County area and after years of working with the zoning and permit departments the company was finally awarded a variance.
That first meeting regarding the zoning variance was not easy.
“They turned us down,” Present said.
But he didn’t give up and ended up making friends with one of the County zoning officials who came to the location to look at the yard. He guided Present through the permitting process.
“Then a councilmember who lived here had an accident,” Present said.
And like anything else, you don’t know what you’re missing until you need it. The variance was granted and CV Tow moved to its current location at 4456 Cloud Ave.
Hal and Reggie’s children, Sue and Jacci, have been part of the business since birth. They, too, have mixed feelings about the sale of the business but know this is the right time.
“We have had two full generations grow up in the area,” Sue said.
She, her children and her sister all still live in Glendale.
“We appreciate the community’s support through the years,” she said. “On Aug. 10 we will have been here 55 years.”
Update on CV Tow Arson Investigation
By Mary O’KEEFE
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson and Explosive Detail have arrested a man who was involved in the arson that occurred at CV Tow on Feb. 16, 2015 at about 1:30 a.m.
“During our investigation we identified a vehicle that had been targeted by the arson (arsons),” said Sgt. John Hanson, LASD Arson and Explosives Detail. “We researched the vehicle and found the owner a viable suspect.”
Although the owner of the vehicle did not match either of the men seen on the surveillance video at the tow yard, Hanson said, the owner did later admit to hiring men to burn the vehicle.
“[The owner of the vehicle] ended up in federal prison on weapons and narcotics charges,” Hanson said.
The owner’s vehicle was being held by Glendale Police Dept. Narcotics Task Force and had drugs inside the car that had not been discovered prior to the fire. The blaze was an apparent attempt to burn any evidence of the drugs.
The fire occurred early in the morning. There was video surveillance that showed two suspects who apparently entered the yard through a back gate south of Foothill Boulevard at the east end of the CV Tow property. It appeared the men poured an accelerant onto the vehicle in the holding bay garage, and then set it afire.
Two vehicles in the garage were in flames when the fire department arrived. A motorcycle was also burned, as was the interior of the garage. The estimated damage was $450,000.
Although the owner of the vehicle has been convicted, the man/men he hired to commit arson have not. A composite has been released of the arson by LASD.
The public is asked to contact LASD Arson and Explosives Detail Sgt. Hanson at (323) 881-7523 with any information related to the crime.