North Carolina Piedmont Triad

North Carolina Piedmont Triad

North Carolina Piedmont Triad

North Carolina Piedmont Triad

Soothing your friction factor if you are in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina

Sharing personal experiences in my extended neighborhood...

Original publication: September 14, 2011


Style & Cut Shop

2104 Georgia St, Ste 102B
Greensboro, NC 27408
(336) 271-4006

Friction Factor = LOW FRICTION

Barbers for Real Men

Over 20 years ago, when I had hair, I discovered the Style & Cut Shop. Back then their shop was in the building near Friendly Shopping Center that is now Greensboro Orthopaedics (see above). If the Style & Cut Shop had stayed in that building they could have asked their customers what they'd have today, cut your hair or a tendon?

Not long ago a daughter-in-law called for me but my wife said I couldn’t hear her over the hair dryer. She paused with a bewildered look and whispered “He needs a hair dryer?”

Some years ago they moved their business closer in to the main part of Greensboro, several miles further from me. But there was never a thought about making a change.

I can obviously speak only about my experience, but anytime I've ever gone to a hair salon, the experience has been pretty much the same. The ladies in those salons seem to have all been taught the thump technique of hair cutting. Pull up the hair with a comb, grab the hair between the fingers to cut it, and thump the comb against the man's skull. What is it with that anyway? Thump, thump, thump. How is a man supposed to take a nap when he's getting thumped constantly? And the cut itself just...isn't right. Maybe fine for a woman, but mention you'd like the back to be tapered and they just stare at you.

A man just has to have a man's cut from a real barber. The Style & Cut Shop has a man's barbers.

The real barbers there are Bill Gregory, Larry Stinson, Don "Red" Johnson and Ron Teague. Bill cuts my hair. Well, in recent years he's been trying to find hair that he can cut. Not long ago a daughter-in-law called for me but my wife said I couldn't hear her over the hair dryer. She paused with a bewildered look and whispered "He needs a hair dryer?" Anyway, with Bill, no instructions are needed. He remembers all of his customer's preferences and he remembers you. He takes care and always does it right. Bill is more friend than barber. The other three barbers are "good people," too. The conversations bouncing around are just what you'd expect, generally driven by Ron and always having at least one golf story and one hunting story...usually more of each. They snipe at each other good naturedly. It's just an enjoyable place to sit and relax awhile.

Bring your shoes with you for polish or repair and leave them with Cecil. Convenient.

Check out this article on the Style & Cut Shop by Jim Schlosser.

Greensboro Orthopaedics

3200 Northline Avenue, Suite 200
Greensboro, NC 27408
(336) 545-5000

Friction Factor = LOW FRICTION

Dr. Fred Williams Ortmann IV, MD
specializes in orthopedic and hand surgery

I needed Dr. Ortmann's services after I got whacked on the ulna nerve in my elbow a year ago and ended up with non-stop "crazy bone" pain that extended into my hand. He performed surgery that relieved most of the crazy bone pain, but it looks like the rest will be with me for life, though some additional relief will hopefully come with a follow-up surgery.

Dr. Ortmann was referred to me by a friend and turned out to be a great choice. He is the somewhat rare doctor who takes a real interest in his patients, discussing the issues in layman's terms and making sure you understand. He was reported to me to be the best surgeon in the area for elbows and hands and he lived up to that reputation with me.

The staff at Greensboro Orthopaedics is also exceptional—very nice, very helpful.

Merchant Tire in Kernersville

4845 W. Wendover Ave.
Jamestown, NC 27282
(336) 854-3030
Wes Smith, manager

Friction Factor = LOW FRICTION

After the experiences I had at the Kernersville, NC store I switched to the store on Wendover Avenue. Early on I ran into a serious problem at this location, too. As a test, I let air out of one tire before an oil change. At the end of the oil change I asked about the results of the fluid levels, tire pressure, and tire wear check. I was told all was fine. I said "really?". I asked the manager who worked then (not Wes) to come out to the car with me. The tire with low pressure had not been filled, the tires had not been rotated, and a couple of fluid levels were still low. We had a serious discussion about this. I also related this experience to the regional manager.

I was given a coupon for a free oil change. Reluctantly I returned and there was a new manager who assured me those problems would not happen again. In the couple of years since, he has taken very good care of my cars. He had opportunities to over charge or do unnecessary work. Instead, he and those who worked with him performed honorably.

One concern that is not unique to this auto service center: I took in a car to find out why the engine light had come on. I was charged almost $100 as a diagnostic charge. That came as quite the unpleasant surprise. But I have strong confidence in Wes, so I'll take this as a lesson to check in advance about such charges.

1495 NC Highway 66 S
Kernersville, NC 27284
(336) 996-5591

Friction Factor = HIGH FRICTION

I have done business with Merchant Tire in Kernersville for almost 25 years, mosting buying my tires there and getting oil changes. For most of those years the transactions have been ordinary and a level of trust was developed. There were instances along the way in which the trust was stretched, but the manager strived to make things right. It is very difficult to build trust with automotive maintenance shops. There is always pressure on the staff to "up sell" and the recommendations didn't always seem really necessary. Every time I go in they want me to spend a few hundred dollars to do a "normal" service that among other things replaces the brake fluid. I've never been there when my alignment was checked that I didn't "need" an alignment. There was one exception. I told the person at the counter when he invited me to have a free alignment check that I'd never had one here that didn't need it adjusted. Yep. That time he said it was fine. And a shop I do trust told me that I definitely didn't need the brake fluid replaced.

Then came the battery experience. A family member went in for an oil change, tire rotation, and fluids check. The merchant employee said the battery needed to be replaced. There was battery acid leaking all over and the terminals were corroded. The battery was replaced. When told, I was surprised because the old battery was still under full replacement warranty. Why had they not mentioned that as a possibility. So I went back to Merchant to inquire. I was told that the battery was two years old and, even though the battery had not come from them, they assumed it couldn't be under warranty because their own batteries only have a year warranty. I was skeptical that a shop that replaces many batteries every week would not be aware that that high end model of battery from Advanced Auto carried a longer warranty. Then they showed me the battery acid leaking all over the battery. Uh? there was some mild discoloration over the top, but big battery acid leakage? So I asked about the terminal corrosion. I pointed out that that was a common issue unless the post is covered in grease and that part of their normal check included free terminal cleaning. So why wasn't that done? No answer.

I took the old battery back to Advanced Auto where it was tested. For some reason the voltage was low even though it was fully charged for me and before I had taken it to Merchant it was working just fine. With a smile, I asked the Advanced Auto tech to check the "big" battery acid leak. It turned out to be just smeared grease. No battery acid at all (tested).

I returned to Merchant and gave them back their low-end battery and let them know the results of the big battery acid leak. I also pointed out that the normal "fluid" checks had, in fact, not been performed (tire pressure was low, coolant was very low, and windshield cleaner fluid was almost empty). Thus I safely assumed that none of the other fluid levels had been checked either. But I chose not have have them checked then by Merchant.

The duty manager was chagrined by the whole thing and took great pains to refund my money—not just for the battery, but also for the oil change and alignment. I was pleased by his action and it at least partially made up for the hours I lost chasing it all down. I was also assured by a former Merchant employee that during his years there, while he was strongly encouraged to up sell, he was never influenced to make anything up.

What is one to do?

Dr. Roland M. Jones Jr., DDS

2725 Horse Pen Creek Rd., Suite 105
Greensboro, NC 27410
(336) 855-3060

Friction Factor = LOW FRICTION

I served as a medic / dental technician in the Air Force and worked with dozens of dentists. I came to know the quality of work provided by each dentist and am pleased to report that in almost all cases the dentists who served at the base where I worked were outstanding, even exceptional. So years later when my family moved to Greensboro, I sought a quality dentist—and I knew how to judge such. I found that person in Dr. Jones. He has now served my extended family for almost 25 years. He is conscientous and does exceptionally high quality work.

His wonderful staff has been with him the entire time and they are now like members of our family. We love them.