DRIVE Announces BROWN’S AUTOMOTIVE as our October Shop Spotlight

Located in beautiful Chapel Hill, North Carolina, owner Tonnika Haynes always keeps her eye on the customer.


BROWN’S AUTOMOTIVE owner, Tonnika Haynes, grew up in the business that her father William Brown started in 1980 when he was right out of the Marines. Now that William is retired, she appreciates all the long summers spent with her Dad at the business absorbing all his knowledge of the shop.  


That knowledge has proven to be an asset that Tonnika has leaned on over the past months. BROWN’S AUTOMOTIVE is a NAPA AutoCare Center shop and the entire team has learned a lot in 2020 and the business is now stronger than ever. 

L2R: Bill Rote Service Advisor. Josef Cuna Master Tech, O’Bryan Graham Shop Foreman & Master Tech, James LaMantia B Tech and Tonnika in the center

Tonnika’s shop has 4 bays and 4 team members (plus herself) and they are on target to bring in over $1,100,000 in 2020. That’s quite the statement. And it’s a statement on how the business is run. By paying attention to the basics of a well-run shop – like effectively inspecting each and every vehicle – the focus can now be on growing the business instead of chasing cars.


BROWN’S AUTOMOTIVE is located in the charming city of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It’s a college town that has all the benefits of a city but it still has a small town feel. Tonnika knows she’s lucky to have her business in such a warm and supportive area with customers that appreciate that her team will fix their car right the first time. “I am proud that we have the trust of our community. I am most proud that I have earned the trust of my female customers,” says Tonnika. “I like to care for our customer as well as the car,” adds Tonnika.


Before DRIVE it was like “walking towards a goal on ice, in heels, with a blindfold on. I was looking good, but at any time throughout the day or week something was bound to happen, and I would end up falling and not reaching my goal. Now with DRIVE, I’m walking towards my goals – still on ice, and definitely with heels – but the blindfold is gone. I can see where I am going,” says Tonnika.


Napa AutoCare shop, Brown’s Automotive of Chapel Hill, NC

Marketing at BROWN’S AUTOMOTIVE is a centerpiece of its success in 2020. Google and Facebook have proven to bring in new customers every week, “the phones are ringing and we couldn’t be happier,” says Tonnika.


And what does Tonnika do in her time off? It all centers around her two teenage boys. From cooking to traveling for basketball tournaments, she wouldn’t have it any other way.


Owner, Tonnika Haynes in the office.

Some advice received that’s been the most helpful is to never be the smartest or wealthiest person in the room. “To always keep learning ‘cause when you know better you can do better’. What a smart goal for Tonnika to keep in mind each and every day of owning BROWN’S AUTOMOTIVE. Both her Father and Grandmother have always encouraged and supported her path of entrepreneurship which continues today. Their advice has always proven to be invaluable. All this plus her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina is a proven combination of success for Tonnika and BROWN’S AUTOMOTIVE.

Tonnika Haynes and her Father, William Brown


With her father’s name on the building, Tonnika takes every car that comes through the shop personally. She knows that they’ve been around for over 40 years now and she plans on always being a vibrant and trustworthy part of the Chapel Hill community.”


Her motto and advice for anyone thinking about opening up their own shop is:

Read, have a plan and get a coach!”

DRIVE is proud to have BROWN’S AUTOMOTIVE our October Shop Spotlight!