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The MBA, an organization of professional, retail and non-profit businesses, promotes Moorestown as the ideal town in which to shop, seek professional services and participate in community life.

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Headlines

South Jersey Driving School Merits MBA Spotlight Award

Apr 11, 2017 -

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South Jersey Driving School Merits MBA Spotlight Award

 

Moorestown Business Association initiated its Spotlight Award Program to applaud member businesses who enhance the township and contribute to the community. In recognizing South Jersey Driving School, the MBA is acknowledging an enterprise for which a vital community service is the nature of the business itself. For 35 years, South Jersey Driving School has provided teens and others with driving skills, and in so doing is making our streets safer for everyone. When you see the school’s signature black and yellow cars on the road, they are being used to teach knowledge to last a lifetime and to protect lives.

Creating a business that fills such an important niche has been quite a road trip. In 1983 Tony Caracci was working in a sales position, but was looking for a new career direction. The former physical education teacher, whose responsibilities had included driver’s education, missed teaching young people. When he took a second job as an instructor at a driving school, he realized it was his calling and decided to open a school of his own. Tony sold his personal car and used the proceeds to buy his first driver education car: a Ford Escort.

Mary Beth managed public relations for area hospitals, but she was excited about his new venture and assisted him part time as the business developed. They married a few years later, and in 1996 Mary Beth began to work with Tony full time to accommodate the expansion of South Jersey Driving School. It was the perfect blend of talents, with Mary Beth using her PR skills to market the business and manage client relations and Tony directing the educational component. “Together we made it possible to be where we are today,” Mary Beth explains.

In 2002, after operating for 14 years out of an office in Marlton, the Caraccis moved the business to Moorestown to take advantage of a more strategic location and also to be closer to home while raising their three daughters.  Soon afterward Barb Krier was hired to manage the office, and the school now has 12 employees and a fleet of six vehicles. Mary Beth estimates that they have instructed over 100,000 students since 1983. It is particularly satisfying for the Caraccis that they are now seeing the second generation of students—young drivers whose parents learned to drive at South Jersey Driving School.

Perhaps one reason people who developed their road skills at South Jersey Driving are now sending their children to learn with the Caraccis is because part of the school’s process is to get to know the students and their families. “One thing that sets us apart from other driving schools is the importance we place on the initial meeting with the student and family members,” notes Mary Beth. Prospective students are made to feel welcome while she stresses the importance of the Graduated License laws and how these laws affect the people they care about.

After the initial meeting and written and eye tests are completed, students are scheduled for a minimum of six hours (the state requirement) of behind-the-wheel training, although many families opt for more. South Jersey Driving provides “door-to-door” service for most of the area it covers, which includes Burlington County, parts of Camden County, and potentially the Jersey shore. Instructors arrive at students’ homes or schools to pick them up for lessons and then drop them back off when they are done, making it easy for busy families. When they are ready, students are accompanied by South Jersey Driving School agents to the DMV so they can take the road test to get their drivers licenses. The school sends about 20 students a week for road tests, and Mary Beth says most pass on their first try. The Caraccis derive a great deal of satisfaction in knowing they have helped place competent and aware new drivers on the road.

The couple is also active in civic engagement, with a history of supporting local youth sports teams and high school Project Graduation. Mary Beth, formerly an MBA board member and active in Burlington County Chamber of Commerce, will be serving as a Moorestown Rotarian as of this year. Tony is a board member of the Driving School Association of America, a national organization promoting driver safety and education all over North America. He is also an active member of the Basketball Club of South Jersey, where he awards an annual scholarship.  Tony and Mary Beth stress that the most valuable service they can provide is to start kids off right with good driving skills. “It is so important for them to be prepared and to learn how to avoid distractions and develop safe driving habits from the beginning,” they emphasize. “We love and believe in what we do here.”

Photo: MBA President Steven Pazienza, South Jersey Driving School owners Mary Beth and Tony Caracci, and MBA Vice President Kathleen Hiltner. Photo credit: Tom Sheckels

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InTown Auto Care recognized with MBA Spotlight Award

Mar 19, 2017 -

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Newly Branded InTown Auto Care
Recognized by Moorestown Business Association
 

 

MOORESTOWN—Tucked in the back of a shared parking lot off of Mill Street, InTown Auto Care is comprised of a bustling set of garages and an office that operates like command central. Formerly known as Ed Ebert’s, the repair facility’s new owners Suzanne and Mike Dunn have been putting their own stamp on the well-established business since they purchased it from its namesake almost four years ago. Now long-time as well as first-time customers are experiencing brand new upgrades and a heightened focus on customer service. The pride the Dunns place on these professional and personal touches, as well as a commitment to community service, caught the attention of the MBA board, which presented InTown Auto Care with an MBA Spotlight Award on March 1.

As veteran auto shop owners and service professionals, it was important to the Dunns to carry on the tradition started by Ed Ebert, but also to modernize and customize the way they did business and to genuinely connect with Moorestown residents. This mindset is reflected in the company’s new name, InTown Auto Care, which is meant to express a commitment to the community. The Dunns make an effort to not only get to know their customers’ vehicles, but to know the people who own them as well. “We know everyone by name, and treat them the way we would treat a member of our own family,” explains Suzanne. “We want our customers to expect expert auto care, but also to know that we care about them.”

The Dunns go above and beyond when it comes to customer service. They go to great lengths to make sure customers understand what needs to be repaired and why. After hours, the shop’s phone is forwarded to the Dunn’s personal number so customers can always reach them, because no one knows or plans when their vehicle will have a problem. InTown Auto Care offers rides to and from home while cars are in the shop, have a loaner car for customers who need it, and keep bicycles on hand for those who want to get around while they’re waiting for their cars to be serviced. They have helped customers find auto care for their cars while they are traveling, provided rides for medical treatment when vehicles are being repaired, secured after-hours emergency automobile assistance, and Suzanne has even transported a pair of Rottweilers home when their owner’s car broke down. It’s all in a day’s work.

Since they took over the business, the Dunns have invested in significant equipment, technology, and tool upgrades, and the business is now completely computerized so they can provide precise and timely information. A state-of-the-art digital inspection system is their newest upgrade, allowing them to evaluate 32 points on each car arriving for an oil change and check-up. They provide digital photos of items needing attention, allowing customers to see and understand what the technicians are recommending. InTown Auto Care specializes in German cars, but provides expert care for all makes and models. The Dunns take pride in a staff that performs outstanding work, and are meticulous about making sure each employee is involved in continuing education as the industry evolves. Their hard work and attention to detail shows, and in 2016 they were one of 16 businesses in the state (one of only two in South Jersey) to be presented with a New Jersey Small Business Development Center Success Award.

Situated in the heart of town, the Dunns also find it meaningful to participate in organizations aiming to improve Moorestown. They are active Rotarians and MBA volunteers, assist local charities like Kennedy’s Cause, and even buy cases of Girl Scout cookies and hand out boxes of the treats to their delighted customers. InTown Auto Care is the main sponsor for the Moorestown Robotics Club, and Mike is scheduled to talk about automotive technology to its young members. The business also adopts families at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and is a big supporter of Relay for Life and Carz N Toyz events.

The MBA is pleased to recognize InTown Auto Care for its commitment to providing excellent service, improving and expanding its business, and for making community involvement a priority.  Moorestown Business Association launched its Spotlight program in 2015 as a means to highlight local businesses that have had a positive impact on the community.

Photo: MBA President Steven Pazienza presents a certificate of recognition to Intown Auto Care owners Suzanne and Mike Dunn and their staff, Stephanie, Joe, Kevin, Scott, Matt and John.

Photo credit: Tom Sheckels

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MBA Spotlight Award goes to Math Accelerator

Feb 07, 2017 -

MBA presents Spotlight Award to Math Accelerator 

The First in a Series of Awards to New Moorestown Businesses


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Moorestown Business Association launched its Spotlight program in 2015 as a means to highlight established local businesses that have had a positive impact on the community. The MBA is broadening the program in 2017 to also applaud new businesses that enhance Moorestown, beginning with Math Accelerator, an innovative math enrichment center that makes learning fun for its students.

Kit Wong’s enrichment program is designed to help children master mathematics, so parents new to Math Accelerator may be surprised to find their children full of excitement and reluctant to leave when it’s time to go home. After all, building critical thinking skills and honing math ability is serious business—or is it? According to Wong, learning should be fun because that’s what makes students retain information. Proving her point, a steady stream of eager learners has flowed through her doors since she opened her business on Chester Street in March, 2016.

Absent from Math Accelerator’s cheery rooms are student desks and text books. Instead, Wong urges her pupils to wear sneakers and engages them in games that sharpen math skills and develop problem-solving techniques. “Our classrooms are designed to help students get out of their comfort zone and excel with confidence,” explains Wong. “No child can resist learning in a fun and challenging, yet stress-free, environment.” She incorporates teamwork throughout her process, which increases children’s ability to effectively communicate and helps Wong identify areas in which each child needs extra attention.

Wong focusses on interactive teaching methods using dry erase board activities and engaging games that encourage students to absorb information and ultimately gain the self-assurance to present solutions to the group. Instead of traditional tests at the end of each term, Wong developed a “mathscape” room, patterned after the popular escape room trend. Children brainstorm as a team, using math logic and concepts they’ve learned in order to solve the code and ‘escape’ the room.

Wong developed the Math Accelerator program in response to her own daughter’s struggles in the subject, and the learning system she created overwhelmingly improved her child’s performance. When her teacher asked what her mom did that made such a difference, her daughter answered, “she played games!” Wong went on to assist other students in her daughter’s school, and saw consistently successful results. Realizing she was on to something that could benefit all young learners, she decided to make a career change. The engineer and technical project manager quit her job at Lockheed Martin, wrote a book about her unique teaching process (The Math Accelerator, available on Amazon.com), and started to build her business.

From the outset, Wong’s first goal has been to help students build confidence in their abilities and realize their potential. Working under the philosophy that “everyone can shine,” she carefully evaluates each child and then arranges customized placement in different levels of her program. Wong teaches children from pre-school (“It’s never too early to learn math!”) through high school, is adding programs geared to robotics, directs special family math fun nights, and is contemplating developing a “stay sharp” program for senior adults. This summer, she will be offering a special MEMSA camp (mathematics, entrepreneurship, money management, science & art) to provide another fun and creative learning experience.

The MBA is pleased to welcome and recognize Math Accelerator as one of the township’s dynamic new businesses helping to make Moorestown an outstanding community.

Photo (L to R) MBA Vice President Kathleen Hiltner, Math Accelerator owner Kit Wong, MBA President Steven Pazienza.
Photo credit: Tom Sheckels.

 

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