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Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center

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Photo by Carrie Richardson Fry

SHOP: Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center  LOCATION: Durham, N.C. 
Marc Pons, Neill Bellamy and Britt Pons SIZE: 6,100 square feet  STAFF: 11

1) When co-owner Marc Pons began work on the fourth Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center location in 2011, he knew he wanted to include green features. For one, the shop had recently become Green Plus certified, a certification program designed to help small businesses learn best practices towards sustainability. But Pons also kept in mind the shop’s location in a progressive college town with many environmentally conscious residents.

“We thought, ‘What can we do to put our stamp on this shop to show the community how to operate?’” Pons says.

The shop wasn’t properly situated to install solar panels, so instead, Pons hired a landscape architect to design and install a green roof.  The landscape architect installed a special irrigation system and then planted native perennial plants that can take a lot of heat but also absorb moisture and rain. The roof helps insulate the customer service area below, reduces water runoff, and is eye-catching to passersby. Because the plants come back every year, the roof requires little ongoing maintenance other than occasional weed pulling.

2) Pons used recycled materials from another recently renovated location for the exterior of the building. He mixed brick with corrugated metal to create a classic garage look that is still clean and modern. The front of the building features floor-to-ceiling windows that create an inviting and well-lit lobby, but are covered in a glaze to prevent heat gain in the building.

3) With five locations, branding is of the utmost importance to Pons.

“We’ve been working on our branding for eight years, with making it a real priority to build the brand,” Pons says.

The brand is reflected consistently throughout the shop, from the signage out front to the shuttle van. The branding has also been instrumental in the transformation of the shop from a tire store to a complete service center.

“You can see from the brand that we want to get across that we’re more than just tires,” Pons says. “We’re a car care center. That’s what really pops out at you.”

4) Because the shop’s property is sloped, the bays are located on one side of the building, while the opposite side is a large retaining wall. To keep the building from looking uninviting, the  retaining wall was painted in various shades of green, and large windows look into the shop floor. Pons also hired the same landscape architect to design the landscaping for the surrounding area, keeping in mind the wooded area behind the shop.

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