Joan Cappadonna is continuing to keep her husband’s dream of owning a tire and auto business alive and well.
Now, after almost 10 years business, struggling with the ups and downs of the economy including the June 2010 death of her husband and business partner, Cappadonna, owner of McPhillips Tire and Auto, is doing some celebrating as the 2012 Small Business of the Year in Groves.
On Friday, members of the Groves Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Center surprised Cappadonna with the news at her shop, located at 5239 East Parkway.
Wiping tears from her eyes, the business owner expressed gratitude for the award as Ronnie Boneau, executive manager of the chamber, presented her with a gift.
“Thank y’all. I’m so proud but it’s those guys out there who make McPhillips Tires,” Cappadonna said referring to her employees. “I couldn’t do it without them.”
The business was a dream of Cappadonna’s husband, Tim, she said. The couple lived very near the shop and they became fast friends with the prior owners.
“He told me ‘one day I’m going to own this shop.’ It took two years to convince me,” she said. “But I knew he wanted this, it was his dream. Tim would sometimes stand on the porch and look out, hand in his pocket and cigarette in his other hand and survey his property, saying ‘this is all mine.’”
The couple ran the business together and when Tim died suddenly in 2010 Joan decided to keep the shop open. They had been married for 33 years.
After his funeral Cappadonna informed the employees they were going to reopen the shop the following Monday.
“I just knew it was what he would have wanted me to do,” she said. “Tim was the face of the business and people still come in and ask for him. “I knew Tim would want me to come back. It warms my heart.”
Gary Cappadonna, their son, called his mother an “awesome” person.
“She has wanted this so much,” Gary Cappadonna said of the small business award. “Since dad is gone it’s been hard on her running the shop without him and this award means so much.”
The son explained he tried to come by the shop and help when possible. Prior to his fathers death, Tim would be the one out front meeting customers and often wandering into the shop to help employees while Joan would be in the back tending to the books and getting tire prices,
Gary said his mother prays a lot and even keeps a prayer book in her office.
“There’s been a lot of weight on her shoulders,” he said. “But the face she won is a blessing.”
U.S. Army Specialist Cody Cormier, longtime friend of Gary Cappadonna, was on hand for the surprise award presentation. Stationed at Fort Bragg, NC., Cormier was in town for his birthday and said he was glad to be able to see Cappadonna win the award.
“I met them when I was young and they were like parent to me,” Cormier said before giving Joan Cappadonna a congratulatory hug.
McPhillips Tires and Auto was lauded by the chamber for their community involvement and epitomizing the slogan “Shop Groves First” as well as for their continued endorsement of local Groves businesses of all kinds.
McPhillips Tires and Auto provides a number of services including: New tires and wheels, repair of flat tires, balance tires and wheels, oil and filter changes, Interstate batteries, brake pads and rotors, fuel filters and air filters and gas shocks.
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