Our Community: Erin Matson

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UNC Field Hockey star inspires us to strive for excellence in all we do.

UNC Women’s Field Hockey star Erin Matson continuously strives for excellence both on and off the field. As captain of the Tar Heels National Championship Field Hockey Team, she is an exemplary athlete. As an advertising and public relations major at UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, she is a great student. We couldn’t be more grateful to have Erin as part of our Chapel Hill Tire community.

Raised in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, some might say that Erin was destined to be a great athlete. After all, her mom Jill played softball and field hockey at Yale while her dad Brian played baseball at Delaware. Erin quickly grew up to be a star field hockey player. In high school, she earned All-America and All-Region honors, worked as a youth field hockey coach, excelled academically, and secured a spot on the UNC Field Hockey team.

Erin started in all 23 field hockey games in her freshman year, led UNC in goals and assists, and earned numerous accolades throughout the season. Raising the bar in her sophomore year, she led the nation in points and goals per game. As a junior, she was named first-team All-America for the third year in a row. Now, as a senior, she is also a member of the U.S. National Field Hockey Team.

Her classroom performance matches her on-the-field excellence.  She has been named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll and the NFHCA National Academic Squad. After she graduates, she hopes to continue working with leaders, and aspires to earn a position at Nike. Despite all of her accomplishments and ambitions, though, Erin still enjoys the simple things in life. When she’s not helping her team win or mastering her course material, she enjoys going to the beach, attending yoga classes, or just spending the day shopping or watching sports with friends and family.

We feel very fortunate to have recently partnered with Erin in a Name-Image-Likeness deal and feel very proud to have her as part of our Chapel Hill Tire family. We look forward to cheering her on both on and off the field as she continues to strive for excellence.

Our People: Jess Cervantes

a wrench set and a hat beside a sticker with a smiley face and the words drive happy

Thank you for inspiring us to live our values in every part of our lives.

“I don’t just live out Chapel Hill Tire’s values at work. I take them home with me, and I live them out in my personal life every single day,” said Jess Cervantes.

From spending time with friends and family, to enjoying a hike, detailing cars, or just driving to work, Jess consistently treats everyone like family, strives for excellence, and always acts grateful and helpful. She greets each day with a smile and a positive attitude, and shows up ready to tackle any task that comes her way.

As a service coordinator at Chapel Hill Tire, her task list can take her in many different directions! On any given day, she dispatches technical work, builds estimates, orders parts, helps foster communication, and does quite a few other things, as well.

“I wanted to find a place of work that would help me build my future. I was lucky enough to get a chance to work at Chapel Hill Tire, and now I get to expand my knowledge and learn more every day,” said Jess.

“I’m the first Hispanic female that is part of the LGBTQ community to work here,” she said, “and I love the fact that the company is a family. I’ve made great friends and feel like everyone is always there to listen and help. Plus, I’m able to relate back to our female customers and other members of the community.”

We are grateful to have Jess as part of our Chapel Hill Tire family. Her professionalism, care for others and gratitude inspire us to live out our company values in all aspects of life, just like she does.

Our Values: The Work Happy, Drive Happy Movement

We believe happy employees create the happy customers who create a thriving business

When Monday morning rolls around, Chapel Hill Tire’s family of employees has good reason to get out of bed with a smile. Waking up feeling rested after having a weekend with their families, they drive into work happy — knowing that whatever the day brings, they’ll have their team members to support them.

“If someone asks for help, you help ‘em. No one wins unless everyone wins.” — Curt Romanow, service advisor

There’s a real sense of community that’s born out of one of Chapel Hill Tire’s guiding values: We believe in winning together to see growth for everyone. This means treating every person that walks into a Chapel Hill Tire location — employees and customers — like family. When you work here, striving for excellence becomes a team sport, and accountability to our commitments is supported by every member of the team.

“I wanted to be treated like I was part of a family. I wanted to be respected, treated well, and listened to. I found that at Chapel Hill Tire,” — Peter Rozzell, manager

This is what your workday could be — and it’s a perfect example of the Drive Happy, Work Happy movement that we’re living each day here at Chapel Hill Tire.

The Core Values of the Drive Happy, Work Happy Movement

When faced with both personal and professional challenges, Chapel Hill Tire owner Marc Pons asked himself a question that’s changed his company forever: What were his deepest values? And how could he make those values an integral part of working at Chapel Hill Tire, no matter your position?

Over time, those values have been clarified into the five principles of our Drive Happy, Work Happy Manifesto.

First, we Journey Together and Grow Together. This means offering not just a job, but a career at every level of employment — something that gives you unparalleled opportunities for growth, achievement, and meaning in your career.

“Chapel Hill Tire has not only helped me grow as a mechanic, but also as a person,” — Aaron Sinderman, service technician

To do this, We Care A Lot. We believe in empowering people through our shared set of values, and working with a spirit of gratitude and helpfulness with everyone we meet.

“People were talking about values and what they believe in and how it guides them at work, and I was taken aback. It was unlike anything I’d experienced before. Once I saw it in action, though, I knew this was a place I wanted to be.” — Terry Govereau, human resources director

And to make sure we walk the walk, We’re Accountable to Ourselves, Each Other, and Our Community. This means doing the right thing — even when nobody’s watching. It means following the golden rule in business as well as in life, and giving credit where credit’s due. When one of us wins, everyone wins.

We Say Yes to Top Notch Customer Service. Striving together to be the best darned auto repair shop in the world, we’re committed to making every visit to Chapel Hill Tire one that’s fulfilling and satisfying. And if there’s a “gray area”, our policy is to side with the customer’s interests.

Overall, We’re Not Just Any Car Place. We’re striving to be the example for how auto repair shops should operate, by taking care of our people, giving them a real work-life balance and continual opportunities for growth.

“I wanted to find a place of work that would help me build my future…  at Chapel Hill Tire…  I get to expand my knowledge and learn more every day.”— Jess Cervantes, Service Advisor

We genuinely believe that our values-based approach to business makes us stand out from the competition, and hope that the example we set will start to change the perception and reputation of this industry, one customer (and one employee) at a time.

We don’t just believe that this is what your workday could be — we know that it’s what your workday should be. Your work should be an integral part of what makes waking up everyday worthwhile. And we want to make that a reality, for as many people as we can. If those values resonate with you as much as they do with us, we’d love to hear from you.

What’s New: Fill Your Holiday Season With 12 Days of Kindness

repeating pattern of "Be Kind" in bold letters with a heart social media icon

Chapel Hill Tire’s annual giving challenge is a great way to have fun and support local charities

Building on the success of their first 12 Days of Kindness giving challenge in 2020, the folks at Chapel Hill Tire have found ways to make this year’s event even more fun, more engaging, and more beneficial to local charities. A new app allows teams to try to outdo each other in acts of kindness. New augmented reality functions add some extra fun, and each Chapel Hill Tire shop has made itself available as a drop-off location, to make it even easier to participate.

“This is the time of year to come together as a community,” said Chapel Hill Tire president and co-owner Marc Pons, “to open our hearts and give to others. That’s really what the 12 Days of Kindness are all about. We wanted to create a fun way for people in the Triangle to show just how kind and generous our communities are.”

The 12 Days of Kindness is a simple competition powered by an app. Six local charities have been selected as the beneficiaries. Boys and Girls Club of Wake County and Note in the Pocket represent Wake County. Book Harvest and Meals On Wheels represent Durham County. Orange County is represented by the SECU Family House and the Refugee Support Center.

“Each charity will have its own team,” said Pons, “and teams will earn points for completing some easy activities and acts of kindness. You can join any team you want and do as many of the activities and acts of kindness as you like. At the end of the 12 Days, the team that has the most points will earn $3,000 for its charity, the second place team will earn a $2,000 donation, and we will donate $1,000 to the charity of the third-place team. Every one of the six charities will be a winner, though. The acts of kindness are donations of items each charity has selected, and teams earn the most points by donating to the other charities. So, the best way to earn the cash prize for your charity is to give the most to the others.”

Participation is easy. Just download the OmniscapeXR app from the App store or Google Play, subscribe to our Season of ‘Kindness Campaign’, pick a team, decide which acts of kindness you’d like to perform, and start racking up the points. The app will show you where to drop off your donations. And it will feature a leaderboard to show you which teams – and which individual players – are in front. Plus, you can use the app to find and collect some really fun holiday-themed augmented reality extras, such as collectable Christmas elves at the drop-off locations and other AR rewards to help add some joy to the season.

“We invite everyone in the Triangle to join us,” said Pons. “The 12 Days start on Wednesday, December 8 and run through Monday, December 20. It’s going to be a lot of fun, so invite some friends, and let’s get together to fill our holiday season with kindness, good cheer, and goodwill.”

About Transmira

Transmira, Inc. is a Raleigh, North Carolina-based start-up monetizing Metaverse XR technologies. The company is the developer of Omniscape™, the first blockchain-based XR platform that blends augmented and virtual reality together with a focus on location, virtual goods, and commercial opportunities for brands, businesses, smart cities, and content-creators.

What’s Up With That? Those Numbers On Tires’ Sidewalls

Government agents are sending coded messages

No, it’s not the CIA sending secret transmissions to agents in the field. It’s not the combination to the lock on the door of some top secret government facility. It’s just that the Department of Transportation (DOT) really wants you to drive safely. So much so, that they put vital information that will tell you when it’s time to get new tires, right at your fingertips. You just have to decode it.

We’re not talking about tread wear, here. The quarter test (put a quarter in your tire’s tread with Washington’s head pointing toward the tire, if the tread doesn’t reach to his head, you need new tires), takes care of that.

We’re talking about your tire’s age. Even if you only drive on weekends. Even if that quarter reaches all the way up to George’s schnoz, your tires degrade over time.

How long does a tire last? About five years. How can you know how old your tires are? That’s where the code comes in.

How to read your tire’s DOT code

It packs a lot of information. It will tell you where the tire was made, what size it is, and who made it. But the info you want is the last four digits. They tell you the week and year it was made.

Start by looking for the letters “DOT” on the sidewall. Next comes the two digit plant code that tells you where the tire was made. Then you’ll see a two-number size code.  Sometimes, that will be followed by three digits that are used by manufacturers in the event of a recall.

You want to focus on the last four digits, the ones that tell you when it was made. For example, if the last four digits are “1520”, your tire was made in the 15th week — or about April 10 — of 2020. As soon as we pass the 15th week (April 10) of 2025, you want new tires, no matter how thick the tread might be.

Do you really need to worry about your tire’s age? It depends.

The average American drives about 16,000 miles per year. The average tires these days will go about 60,000 miles. So, the average American will wear out their tread in less than four years, and will never have to worry about this code. The quarter test will tell them that their tread has worn too thin.

But we’re not all average. Some of us drive a whole lot, and may want tires that can give us 80,000 miles or more of tread life.

Some of us don’t drive very much at all. We’ll want to take a look at the last four digits of that DOT code. And if the last two digits are five years less than the current year, we’ll want to start thinking about new tires.

Is it Time for New Tires? We’ll Check for You

And some of us don’t want to check our tire tread or decode that DOT number. But we sure do want to know if our tires are safe. If you have any doubts about your tires’ age, tread, or driving ability, just stop by and ask us to check them for you.

Our technicians will be happy to take a look at your tires and tell you how much life they have left. We won’t even charge you a quarter. And if it is time to get some new tires, our Price Beat Guarantee makes sure you get the best price on exactly the ones you want.

Apex Welcomes Chapel Hill Tire

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Chamber of Commerce brings community leaders together for ribbon cutting ceremony

Chapel Hill, NC Though their Apex location opened in January of 2021, Chapel Hill Tire had to wait for the pandemic to ease before they could celebrate the event. On June 2nd, as business began to return to normal, the company teamed with the Apex Chamber of Commerce to hold an official ribbon cutting.

1101 Old Raleigh Rd, next to Food Lion

“It was great to get together with fellow Chamber members and community leaders,” said Marc Pons, who serves as president of Chapel Hill Tire. “We have been serving people in the Triangle since 1953, most of that time in Chapel Hill, of course. This is our third location in Wake County. We set up shop at Atlantic Avenue in Raleigh in 2018, and in Crabtree Valley Mall in 2019. People in this area have really responded well to our super-convenient approach to high quality, professional car care. If you like, our free pick up and delivery service will pick up your car at your home or office, and return it to you when the work is complete. You can also drop your car off at our shop, and use our free shuttle to go where you need to go. If you’d rather wait in our lobby, we offer free wifi, drinks, and snacks to make your stay as pleasant as possible.”

In addition to the ribbon cutting, Triangle-area non-profit Wheels4Hope held a car blessing event. “Sometimes,” said Pons, “for a family or an individual who is working to get through a difficult transition, a safe, reliable car can make all the difference. Wheels4Hope is dedicated to providing those vehicles to people who need them. Area residents donate their old cars. We donate the labor required to get them into good running condition, and other corporate sponsors, individual donors, and local churches provide the funds required to purchase the parts. It’s a real neighbor helping neighbor effort, and for us, it’s a great way to use our talents to make our community just a little bit better.”

Formerly home to Auto Remedy, Chapel Hill Tire’s Apex shop is located at 1101 Old Raleigh Rd. You can make your appointment online at chapelhilltire.com or just call the store at (919) 387-7270. “If you’ve never brought your car to us before, please go to promotions.chapelhilltire.com to take advantage of our $20 discount for first time customers,” said Pons. It’s good for any service except state inspections – and yes, if you’re a long time Auto Remedy customer, you still qualify as a first time customer of Chapel Hill Tire.

Chapel Hill Tire Reopens Lobbies

chapel hill tire store in raleigh

New services offer even greater convenience for customers

As an essential business, Chapel Hill Tire was able to keep its doors open at all nine locations throughout the pandemic shutdown. However, safety considerations and new customer needs required significant changes to our business operations. Now, as the world reopens, some of those changes will allow us to add a whole new level of convenience to our comprehensive car care services.

“Free pick up and delivery service is easily the best innovation to come out of this past year,” said Marc Pons, who serves as president of Chapel Hill Tire. “It was born of necessity. We couldn’t have customers waiting in our lobbies. We couldn’t run our free shuttle service. People still needed to get their oil changes, state inspections, scheduled maintenance, new tires, and etc. So, we offered to pick up their cars and bring them back when the work was completed. We even implemented a text-to-pay system to keep everything totally contact-free. People loved it so much we had to expand our capacity. Now, it’s just part of how we do business, and we expect it to become even more popular as we move forward.”

We also took advantage of the waiting-room shutdown by renovating five of our lobbies. “We want our waiting areas to be an expression of our brand, a part of the Drive Happy experience,” said Pons. “We want you to enjoy a clean and comfortable environment. And, since everyone is online all the time these days, we offer free wifi. Not being able to welcome people to our lobbies this past year, we took the opportunity to refresh them and not just make them a little more pleasant, but make them more an experience of our brand and our story. When you’re here, we want you to feel like you’re part of Chapel Hill Tire, because our customers are the most important part of our business.”

Our lobbies are now open at  all nine of our Triangle-area locations. “We’re also restarting our shuttle service and, of course, we will continue to offer free pick up and delivery,” said Pons. “No matter which option you choose, you can schedule your appointment online at chapelhilltire.com or just call us at 919-268-4140. With locations in Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and Apex, we’re sure to have a store near you.”

Our Culture: Helping Each Other Win

Experienced technicians help their younger colleagues achieve professional certification

Strive for excellence, win as a team, and treat each other like family: three of our core values are the inspiration behind our mentorship program. To be recognized as a professional automotive technician, a mechanic must achieve certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Our program pairs an experienced, ASE certified pro with each younger technician who is preparing to pass their exams.

“As guys who know the business, know what we’re doing and have years of experience, we’re trying to give back to the guys who are just starting out,” explained Johnny Feathers, the ASE Master Technician who leads our mentorship program.

As program leader, Johnny indirectly mentors several young technicians, and teaches classes to help bolster exam preparation. He also serves as mentor to Andres Lomelli. In this role, he spends half each working day repairing and maintaining vehicles on his own, and the other half overseeing and assisting Andres.

Operating continuously, our mentorship program provides flexibility for everyone to learn and grow at their own pace. Helping a teammate become better makes us all better at what we do. It’s part of how we strive for excellence, part of how we win as a team, and based on the idea that we treat each other like family — and family is always there for you.

“We help each other out and boost each other up,” said Johnny. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see guys passing their exams and moving on to help someone else.”

And for Andre, becoming a mentor will be part of his reward for achieving ASE certification. “Learning from others is always the best,” he said. “Once I’m ready, I would enjoy nothing more than to become a mentor myself and be able to share the knowledge and information with others. It’s great working together, and it plays a big part in enjoying the team.”

What’s Up With That? Hybrid Technology

What a classic childhood toy can teach you about eco-friendliness and fuel economy

Since its introduction in 1997, the Toyota Prius has forever changed the automotive market. By adding a secondary battery that charges when you brake, this first hybrid car proved that being responsible to the environment didn’t have to mean sacrificing your vehicle’s driving range.

Now, more than two decades on from the debut of the first hybrids, new technologies have given these cars and trucks even more power and range. Some commercial fleets — and enthusiasts — are even converting old fashioned gasoline powered vehicles to hybrids, as well.

But just how does a hybrid car work, anyway?

If you were born any time in the past 70 years, you’ve probably played with one of those pull-back toy cars. Their coiled spring “engines” were patented back in 1952, and the concept is still going strong today.

It’s a simple idea: you press down on the toy car’s hood, drag it backwards, let it go, and it zooms away. Though it doesn’t zoom very far, pulling it back and watching it go forward can keep a child  entertained for hours.

Stored energy is the concept behind this simple toy. When you pull it back, a spring inside the body is wound up tight. Let it go, and the energy stored in the spring is released, propelling the car forward. Hybrid technology works in a similar way, albeit with more steps and fancier gadgets.

No, there’s not a coiled spring that tightens every time you drive in reverse. There is, however, an electric generator that captures energy from your car’s rotating wheels as you brake, when you’re going downhill, or other times when the car is moving but neither the gasoline engine nor the electric motors are providing power. The captured energy is passed through a converter, and stored in the traction battery pack, a separate battery system from the one that’s used to start your car.

The energy is released when you move your car from a standing start or when you’re accelerating on the move. This electronic assist reduces the amount of power required from your gasoline engine, cutting down the amount of gasoline you need. This not only saves you money, it also cuts your car’s emissions. Your wallet thanks you. Your planet thanks you.

Types of Hybrid Vehicles

There are three main types of hybrid systems, full, mild, and plug-in. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a closer look at what makes them tick or, uh, hum, or whisper?

Full hybrid vehicles, like the Toyota Prius, can run on either their gas engine or their battery pack. Their batteries are recharged by the engine as well as the brakes. They offer a balanced combination of power and driving range.

Mild hybrid vehicles, like the Honda Accord Hybrid, always run their battery and engine power together. This constant use of the battery to assist the gasoline engine improves your fuel economy and driving range slightly, but not as much as a full hybrid.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles, like the Kia Optima, have all the capabilities of a full hybrid. Their advantage is that they have larger battery packs. This gives them the longest range of all the hybrid types. On the downside, you have to stop at a charging station to get their best performance. This makes them excellent for commuting to and from your home charging station, not as good on long road trips.

What It Means for Your Car

In short: Mild hybrids are often the most affordable, while full hybrids or plug-in hybrids offer greater driving range and performance.

No matter what style of hybrid you choose, though, it will have better gas mileage and less emissions than a standard engine — putting more money in your pocket while protecting the environment, too.

Like all batteries, the traction battery in your hybrid will get to a point where it can no longer hold a charge. Then, it will have to be replaced. The good news is that you don’t have to replace the whole car. If you’re still happy with all the other parts, you can just replace the battery. When that time comes, we hope you’ll give us a call. We are certified hybrid specialists. One of our service advisors will be able to set you up with a new battery that’s just right for your car — and at a significant savings over what most dealers charge.

Our Community: Wheels4Hope

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Faith-based non-profit works to put people on the road to a better life

Wake up. Get in your car. Drive to work. Pick the kids up from school and take them to practice, or maybe a doctor appointment. Stop by the grocery store on the way home.

We’re all so familiar with these humdrum daily chores that we don’t even spend much time thinking about them. But imagine how hard it would be to accomplish just these simple tasks, if you didn’t have a car. Many families in North Carolina face that problem every day. Wheels4Hope was founded to help them solve it.

“Many people take for granted what it’s like to have a car,” said Lisa Brusca, Executive Director of Wheels4Hope. “Transportation has a huge impact on your life. It is often just as important as having reliable housing or a stable job.”

Driving individuals to success is the powerful mission that guides Wheels4Hope. It was founded at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church in 2000, when members of the congregation realized just how important reliable transportation can be to a struggling family. Public transportation options can be scarce. People who are rebuilding their lives often have low credit scores, and can only purchase a vehicle from less than scrupulous dealers who charge inflated prices and high interest rates.

After a bit of brainstorming, Wheels4Hope was created to put a novel solution to work. They would seek donations of old, low-value vehicles from families in other congregations and the community at large. They would partner with local garages to perform the repairs required to ensure these vehicles provide safe, reliable transportation. They would ask area non-profit agencies to refer clients whose next steps toward a better life required a reliable vehicle. And they would sell those vehicles — typically valued in the $2,000 to $5,000 range — to individuals referred by those agencies for $500. The sale price covers North Carolina title and licensing fees. Recipients are responsible for securing their insurance.

Today, Wheels4Hope works with over 100 partners throughout North Carolina. Partner agencies refer individuals who are working a steady job and ready for car ownership. People throughout the Triangle and Triad donate their used vehicles. Others provide cash donations to pay for any parts the donated vehicle might require. Partner garages donate their time to make the necessary repairs. Then, Wheels4Hope delivers a vehicle — with a warranty — to a referred individual.

“We are proud to say that all nine Chapel Hill Tire locations serve as partner garages to Wheels4Hope,” said Marc Pons, president of Chapel Hill Tire. “Most recently, we hosted a car blessing at our newly opened Apex location, which gave us an opportunity to bring our community together and champion an individual who is working to build a better life.”

“Car blessings are really special,” said Brusca. “We bring together the car donor, the partner agency we’ve worked with, the individual receiving the car and their families. We celebrate the recipients accomplishments, bless the vehicle, and send them out on the road to success. It’s amazing to see the community come together.”

At Chapel Hill Tire, we feel incredibly grateful to be part of a community that fosters and supports Wheels4Hope, and reaches out in a caring way to people who are working so hard to have some of the little things that we all sometimes take for granted. We encourage you to learn more about Wheels4Hope and to join us in supporting their important work. To find out more about them, please visit their website. We look forward to seeing you at our next car blessing!