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Pernell’s Alignment & Tire
At Pernell’s the emphasis is always on alignment. Owner Pernell Christian has more alignment experience than any other technician in the area. He’s quick to point out that he also has state-of-the-art Hunter alignment equipment. However, this isn’t the first thing you notice when you walk into his shop in Tea. The first thing you notice when you walk into Pernell’s Alignment and Tire is the cleanliness. “I am a clean freak,” says Pernell. “I guess I always was but the Marines further instilled cleanliness in me. I think it is important for my customers to enjoy a clean atmosphere when they come to my store. Often times they are in nice clothes and many of my customers are women.” You will always be greeted with a smile at Pernell’s. “I guess I’m just a happy person because I’m doing what I love to do.” Pernell also pays attention to the details, including what is on TV in the customer lounge. “I want my customers to be comfortable while waiting for their car to be repaired. My customers can enjoy the Speed Channel on TV or relax to satellite music of their choice.”
Pernell was born and raised in Pipestone, Minnesota and entered the Marines the summer after graduating from high school. Recalling his decision to join the Marines, Pernell remembers, “I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Mom passed away when I was in 6th grade, dad had a breakdown and I ended up living with my great grandma. I had no direction in my life. I called the Marine recruiter and within a week, I was on a plane to San Diego. Wow that was a change of lifestyle. I do think the local law enforcement officers were happy to see me go, however. I never had any money to go to school and I knew I needed a change.” He just didn’t realize just how strong an influence the Marines would have on the rest of his life. “The Marines set the tone for the rest of my life…organization, attention to detail, cleanliness. I enjoyed my time in the Marines, especially the last two years when I worked in Washington, DC and drove car for people like Colin Powell and Casper Weinberger. I got to wear dress blues every day and had a 9-5 job.”
After the Marines he married his high school sweetheart Jill. “I proposed to her in a horse drawn carriage in Washington and she agreed.” The year was 1988 and Pernell was working parttime at UPS. When Pernell returned from the Marines, he went to work for Jim Knutson Tire (current location of Carolan Rent-All). “I owe everything to Jim Knutson. He and Don Lynde took me under their wing and taught me the tire business. Jim taught me how to deal with people. They were tremendous people and I am who I am today in large part because of them.” Other shops began to notice Pernell and he accepted an offer to go to work for Billion Automotive. They were the first business in town to get a computerized alignment machine. “Leaving Jim and Don was like leaving family, however I was young and had a family and I was able to make more money and work a few less hours.”
After working for Billion for about five years, he made a slight career change to a beer salesman, working for Archie Beal for a year. “That was my miniature midlife crisis. It made me realize what I really wanted to do in life.” Pernell went back in the alignment business when he began working for Terry Schulte Chevrolet. “That is where I blossomed as an alignment guy. I fixed wrecked cars from body shops as well as the new cars. It was a challenge to take wrecked cars and make them drive straight again, often times better than new (as some of my customers would say).” Pernell worked for Lithia for awhile before going to work for Sioux Falls Tire & Service. “I really enjoyed that job because all I did was align cars. I would align 10-12 vehicles every day.” His last endeavor was driving a concrete truck for a year. “That is what drove me to open up my own business.” As I was interviewing Pernell, I heard a truck horn and without hesitation or without even looking Pernell said that is the concrete guy. They do that every time they drive by.
Pernell’s Alignment & Tire was opened in September of 2009. The shop features state-of-the-art equipment. “My Hunter alignment machine is the most accurate alignment technology in the Sioux Falls area and has almost no room for error,” says Pernell proudly. “When you are talking alignment, a lot of people can give you the print out but you have to know what the numbers mean. You can get your tires aligned at many places, but will they be done to Marine Corps specifications? I am extremely particular and my customers appreciate it. Precision is important when you are aligning any car but it is especially important for road race and drag cars.
Pernell’s handles all types of alignments including work for local performance shops. “When you are racing cars, it is important that they perform and tire alignment is an important part of that performance.” Four wheel alignments are his particular area of expertise. There are many factors in proper alignment for your vehicle. He has many years experience and knows all the tricks to make your vehicle drive straight. He can even make wrecked vehicles drive like new!
Pernell is especially proud of the commercial customers and performance enthusiasts he has earned since opening his shop. “Commercial customers need work done in a hurry so they can get their vehicles back on the road. They also need to know that the tires I sell and the alignment services I provide will keep their vehicles running for many miles without having to come back for needless repairs.” Performance enthusiasts also choose Pernell’s because of his relentless dedication to perfection. I specialize in alignments of all vehicle types (includes race cars to mini vans). Pernell also sells all brands of new and used tires and features twice daily tire delivery for all name brand tires – which means you get your tires on your vehicle faster. “I price my tires right and guarantee that when you leave, the alignment will be second to none.” He also serves a niche with used tires. “Many people today are on a strict budget. When they come in and I can put a good used tire on and save them a bunch of money, I am going to do it. I personally inspect all of our used tires and will not sell them if I do not feel they are safe and provide good value for my customers. I pride myself in being a tire expert and knowing the correct tire for your individual vehicle.”
Pernell’s is a specialty suspension shop. From alignment to struts, tie rods, and ball joints Pernell thoroughly checks all of these for your safety and your car’s performance. “After a car reaches 30,000 miles, these items need to be checked. Ball joints are often overlooked when servicing a car and tie rods are crucial to your car’s safety and performance. Struts should be replaced at 75,000 miles. Properly installed struts have an incredible difference in the handling of your vehicle. I look at all of these when I service your car. My customer’s safety and their car’s performance are my top concerns. I am very proud that I have earned the confidence of many individuals as well as local shops to handle their alignment, suspension, and tire business like Good Ride, Classic Import, J&M Transmissions, Anderson Collision and Westergard Rod & Custom. It is an honor to work with good people and know that they trust me to do the job right.”
Pernell’s can work on any kind of vehicle from simple day to day maintenance of your vehicle to wrecked body shop cars to hot rods to road course race cars to drag cars to monster trucks to cars with custom modifications – you name it he can align it. Pernell’s is a small shop with a small town atmosphere and that means big savings for his customers. You will notice the minute you walk in his shop that he has a passion for cars and will treat your vehicle as if it were his own. “My low overhead allows me to keep my prices very affordable – big savings, honesty and quality work are my signature…now and in the future! I have been doing it for so long, I know how to do it very efficiently and I pass those savings on to my customers.” Stop by Pernell’s Alignment & Tire in Tea to see for yourself.