By Amber Mabe
Car repairs are a fact of life. Whether your car is old or new, you know that it will eventually end up at an auto repair shop. It may be for regular maintenance or for unexpected repairs, but every vehicle must be serviced. What if you knew you could take your car to a shop without having to worry about being taken advantage of or billed for things you don’t understand? What if you never even had to leave your house? Carmine’s Import Service is a business that’s bringing the future of car repairs to the Triad by doing all this and more.
“We are a ‘do it for you’ business,” says founder and ASE Certified Master Technician Carmine Cupani. “We are a different kind of automotive service.” Carmine’s Import Service offers whiteglove services such as vehicle pickup and dropoff, courtesy shuttling to virtually anywhere in the Triad, loaner vehicles, and more. These courtesies, combined with excellent customer service, create a stress-free maintenance experience.
Carmine’s Import Service has been breaking the mold for years, overcoming stereotypes in the industry and ushering in new technology. Carmine’s background in computer technology and his 20 years of experience with import vehicles gives him a unique set of skills with which to serve local car owners.
With family roots in Sicily, Carmine grew up on Long Island, only leaving New York to attend college in North Carolina in 1996. While in college, he studied information technology and earned a degree concentrating in networking. While becoming a Microsoft certified professional, Carmine also worked on cars on his own time. That interest led him to secure a job at a BMW repair shop in 1999. When digital software in vehicles came on to the scene in the early 2000’s, Carmine was more than ready to handle the transition. “Going to college for information technology actually helped me and allowed me to help others understand the cars better,” says Carmine, “all of the sudden we had computers in cars that needed to be programmed, so my studies ended up merging with what I was doing.” He worked in the busy BMW shop for several more years and was able to gain experience and training on additional vehicle makes. In 2008, he opened Carmine’s Import Service in the smaller building of their current location. At the beginning, he was the only technician and had one service bay. Within the next year he added a second technician. By 2010, the business had grown to the point that it needed more space. Carmine’s Import Service moved into the building next door and added another technician. In 2013, they became one of the first shops in the Triad to offer digital vehicle inspections. From there, Carmine’s Import Service has continued to expand. Now the business has grown to include six service bays, an alignment bay, and ten employees, several of whom are master technicians. “I put my employees first. We are like a family,” says Carmine. “We have a diverse team and everybody gets along. That translates over to customer service.”
Carmine’s Import Service has remained on the cutting edge of technology, both in vehicle maintenance equipment and customer service tools. “We have more computer technology on this property than any shop in the Triad,” says Carmine. “We have access not only to physical equipment, but also to information that makes troubleshooting easier and more accurate.” Even before a customer’s vehicle enters the shop, a stress-free, personalized experience is being created for each person. Maintenance can be scheduled online, by phone, or by text, including arrangements to pick up or drop off the vehicle. From the time the car enters the shop, everything is documented through digital photos and videos, allowing the customer to know what is happening with their vehicle. Customers can see problems with their own eyes through a digital document made available through text or email. Once the car has been completely checked over and recommendations have been given, the customer can choose the work they would like to have done and approve the estimate by phone or text without ever leaving their home or office. At Carmine’s Import Service, honesty is a priority. Technicians always check a comprehensive history of the vehicle through any available service records, before doing any work to the vehicle that may turn out to be unnecessary. Every repair finalized at the shop is entered into Carfax as part of the vehicle’s managed health portfolio.
To give customers extra peace of mind, Carmine’s Import Service offers 0% financing for repairs and services, as well as a three-year warranty on most standard repairs. Carmine is also Bosch Certified, and the facility is the only Bosch authorized service center in Kernersville. This means the shop is held to a higher standard in the cleanliness and accessibility of their facilities, the training of employees, customer service, and their commitment to a code of ethics. The shop was also rated Top Shop in the Country by Ati for three years in a row.
One of the misconceptions that Carmine’s Import Service is hoping to overcome is the idea that new cars need to go back to the dealership for repairs in order to maintain the original warranty. Carmine says this is not true. According to a law passed in 1975, consumers are able to take charge of their own maintenance as long as they keep records and receipts. “We can do whatever a dealership can,” he says. “We are also fully equipped to service hybrid and electric vehicles.” There is a certified hybrid and electric technician on staff, and a vehicle charging station on the premises.
At Carmine’s Import Service, stress-free maintenance is for everyone. Women can feel confident bringing their vehicles in for repairs without worrying about discrimination or discomfort. Even the lobby and restrooms are designed for women to feel welcome. The company’s co-founder, Wendolynn Cupani, shares her husband’s view that quality car repair is for everyone. In addition to the many other local charities and organizations that Carmine’s Import Service supports, their most recent endeavor was a sponsor-wrapped performance car created to raise money for breast cancer organizations through rides and donations at local performance driving events.
Next time you get in your car, consider driving over to Carmine’s Import Service and experiencing all they have to offer. Carmine likes to remind his customers that keeping up with regular maintenance can save thousands of dollars in repairs down the road. “You are investing in a driving experience,” he says. For more information, visit their website at CarminesImport.com, or you can text or call 336-383-1642 or 336-993-5506.