Chapel Hill Tire has five Chapel Hill locations, as well as one location in both Raleigh and Durham.
- Carrboro Location at 203 W. Main St.
- Cole Park Plaza Location at 11470 U.S. 15-501
- University Place Location at 201 S. Estes Dr.
- West Franklin Location at 502 W. Franklin St.
- Fordham Boulevard Location at 1809 N. Fordham Blvd.
- Woodcroft Shopping Center at 4805 Hope Valley Road, Durham
- Atlantic Avenue Tire & Service at 2131 Harrod St., Raleigh
Find the nearest location to you here.
With an armful of Orangeades from the Colonial Drug Store across Franklin Street, Marc Pons walked around his dad’s store as a kid on hot summer days, handing out the refreshing drinks.
Chapel Hill Tire, 66 years after first opening, hasn’t slackened in its goal of making the process of fixing your car as painless as possible. And they do it all with a focus on their core values and their mission of providing an unbeatable customer experience to students and locals alike.
Today, Pons and his brother — who still own and operate the family business — are doing a lot more than just passing out cold drinks on hot days.
Need a ride to and from work or class while your car is in their shop? Hop in their free shuttle.
Trying to cram a maintenance check-up into your busy week? You can schedule your appointment online, and Pons says they don’t mess around when it comes to getting you in and out on time.
They’ll triple your manufacturer’s warranty, and if you see a better deal on tires at places like Costco or Discount Auto, they’ll match the price.
“And you're buying local,” Pons said.
While many businesses have come and gone on Franklin Street, Chapel Hill Tire has remained. But that doesn’t mean it’s still the same.
The company has expanded to seven locations, and its focus on constantly improving quality has earned it the title of the Top Shop in North America from Tire Review in 2012.
Every aspect of the business matters to the Pons family. For instance, the cars that make up their shuttle fleet are all hybrids, and their buildings have features like solar panels and green roofs. Pons considers the company’s Green Plus Certification another way of giving back to the community.
“It’s the same way of supporting the community with the same values that the community has.”
Locals who have trusted their cars to the shop for years — including those in their seventies who have been regulars since they bought their first cars — are used to this level of community commitment. It isn’t unusual for Marc’s brother to call up customers personally, asking them about their experience at the shop.
The customers aren’t the only ones who come back decade after decade. Some employees have been around since Marc’s childhood, too.
Ray Briggs, an automotive master technician who has worked at Chapel Hill Tire for more than 30 years, remembers Marc’s dad fondly. He would get paid for each alignment he did throughout the day.
“The way I used to keep up with it is I would mark it like this every time I did an alignment,” Briggs said, drawing a tally on his palm with a pen. “And when I'd get to 5, I'd mark it off. And I'd turn my time in at the end of the week, and Mr. Pons, he never questioned us because we were all honest.”
Chapel Hill Tire’s commitment to its employees hasn’t wavered, either. If one of their workers wants to get an automotive degree at Durham Tech, the Pons brothers pay 100 percent of the tuition and fees.
When Andres Lomeli began working at Chapel Hill Tire a little over a year ago, he didn’t have any experience in the auto industry.
“I was like, ‘I can barely move a wrench,’” Lomeli said.
With Chapel Hill Tire picking up the tab for his education, Lomeli says it is already paying dividends in his work life. Pons knows that investing in the culture of the shop is a surefire way to keep providing the highest level of service.
“We want to make sure that as a place to work, we are a place of growth and opportunity, and that we care for each other,” Pons said. “If we do that, then that caring and that going the extra mile will come through to the customers.”
Chapel Hill Tire is constantly looking for ways to remove the obstacles that come along with getting your car fixed. And the Pons brothers know that this goes beyond just the auto repair experience.
It’s about the people.