SANTA ANA, Calif. -- The series of buildings at the corner of East Civic Center Drive and North Poinsettia Street in Santa Ana used to be a diesel truck repair yard. Currently, it is in the middle of a transformation.

Owner and founder of Harveys, Dana Harvey, started his handbag business almost 22 years ago in a Santa Ana garage. Now he finally owns his own space.

The prototype purse came about when Harvey was restoring a classic car. He made his wife a bag with the leftover seatbelts. Her friends saw it and wanted one. One friend brought the purse to work where a buyer saw it and placed the first order.

The operation has since grown to about 60,000 purses a year.

“The very first bag was a woven bag and this was actually a technique that my grandmother taught me,” said Harvey.

In 2017 Harvey decided he wanted to stop renting and find a permanent headquarters. Harvey looked all over Orange County.

He wanted to make sure he could sell and manufacture in the same space.

He settled on two old quonset huts and a concrete building built for working on big diesel machinery. The place had to be gutted and thoroughly cleaned.

It turns out, though, there’s way more space than Harvey needs. He’s finding other businesses to move into the quonsets huts which will be subdivided. So far a barber shop, a dance studio, and a restaurant called Burritos La Palma have all opted in.

Harveys the store is up and running. Everything else is scheduled to come online in another six to eight weeks.

It looks like it’s turning into a real commercial center. They’re keeping the name the same: Santa Ana Diesel.

The transformation is surprising when you consider how industrial the little stretch used to be and still is. Keep in mind the Tobin Steel Company is open right next door and there are homes right across the street.

Harvey didn’t want to create a typical mall.

“I’m very happy,” said Harvey.

Harvey’s company started in Santa Ana so it’s fitting that’s where it will be rooted going forward.