Growing up in Maryland, Ron Thayer remembers working on cars at home in the garage with his dad, who was a car enthusiast. He also fondly remembers one of his best birthday presents, the 1969 Mustang his grandmother gave him when he turned 16.

The Mustang was 16 years old and Ron, with his father’s help, spent countless hours working on it. He recalls spending many afternoons while in high school working on the Mustang’s engine, braking system, suspension and the body itself until the Mustang ran perfectly and looked like new.

From high school, Ron went on to East Carolina University, got a degree in business and entered the banking field. He worked his way up to vice president of operations for a major mortgage banking firm, but after ten years in the business, he saw the underlying problems that eventually brought the banking industry into crisis and he decided to get out.

He looked at various franchising opportunities and even went to a company that helps people determine what type of business at which they might excel. “I knew I had good mechanical abilities from my years of working on cars,” he said. “When combined with my financial background as a banker, running a Cottman franchise made sense.”

Getting Started In The Auto Repair Business

Twelve years ago this month, Ron, now 45, opened a Cottman Transmission and Total Car Care center in a location that had been an auto repair shop.

The center located at 145 S. College Road in Wilmington was not on a main thoroughfare and could not be seen from the main road. “I knew we couldn’t rely on drive-by business,” he recalled. “We had to work hard to build awareness and earn trust in the community.”

“When we started, it was a challenge to get people to know about us,” he said. “Now, we’ve built and reputation for quality, service and integrity and people find us.” It’s a good feeling, he said, when we see repeat customers and they refer Cottman to friends. Ron said he has customers who come from as far away as 50 miles, on the strength of the center’s reputation.

“I’m proud that people think of me as their Cottman man for this part of North Carolina,” he said.

Ron credits his success to a dedicated team of employees who share his strong sense of customer service and doing top-quality work. He is proud that many of his employees have been with him for years. His transmission rebuilder, he proudly points out, has been with him eleven of the twelve years he’s been in business.

Ron is active in the community, coaching and supporting local sports programs, supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs, The Lions, Fraternal Order of Police, summer camp and Christmas charity events.

Auto Repair Center in Wilmington, NC

Ron’s dad still lives in the area and when he needs work done on his car, he brings it to Ron’s Cottman center. It’s an ironic reversal of roles, but Ron appreciates the start he got from his dad, working on the ’69 Mustang out in the garage.

For more information about the Cottman Of Wilmington center, visit

About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care:

With locations across the U.S., Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is an auto repair and transmission company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care continues to take claim of the growing $250 billion aftermarket auto industry and specializes in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more. Cottman is based in Horsham, Pa. For more information, please visit