Transmission Repair Specialist
This month marks a year since Scott Stillwell became the area’s Cottman Man, as owner of the Lancaster, PA Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care center at 419 East Ross St. But he is hardly a newcomer to transmission repair and the Cottman brand.
In the early 1990’s, Scott noticed an ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer seeking a center manager. He had previous sales experience as well as management experience running all union jobs for Ashlers Construction, a Philadelphia contractor who had contracts for reinforcing steel placement in South Jersey and Eastern PA.
“I was introduced to Ozzie Bombaro, who had me work in two of his New Jersey centers, and eventually in Lansdale. We later became partners in the ownership of the Cottman in Flourtown,” Stillwell said.
For much of that time, he also ran another business that was highly unusual. He bought and sold vintage high-end audio systems, specializing in theater sound systems from the early days of “talkies” in the 1920s. Many of his customers were in Asia, which meant frequent travel overseas.
They eventually sold in the Flourtown Cottman center, and he found an old farmhouse in the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside. It wasn’t necessary to constantly travel for other business and he now had plenty of time on my hands. He agreed to manage the Lancaster center. “I realized the Cottman of Lancaster center had potential, and I purchased the center when the former owner retired,” said Stillwell.
Once he became the new owner of Cottman of Lancaster, PA , he focused on three priorities.
Customer service, he said, comes first. “I always try to make myself available to customers, to answer their questions and help them deal with any concerns they might have regarding their cars. I’ve had customers call me at 6 in the morning and on weekends, and I’m always happy to take their calls,” he said.
Second, do the job right the first time. “Our goal is to do the job right the first time, to avoid aggravation for the customer,” he added. “If it means it takes a little longer to get the job done properly, we are ok with that. We don’t push work out quickly just to get it done. And we try to be generous with our warranties to show that we stand behind our work and our brand.”
Third, create a good work environment. Scott places emphasis on the workplace. “I’ve tried to create a good work environment by treating employees with respect,” he said.
“I value the relationship I have with the people I work with, and I believe that is reflected in the quality of the work they do for our customers.”
Professional Auto Repair Center in Lancaster, PA
Lancaster’s Cottman Man has also added new lifts, diagnostics and state-of-the-art service equipment to the center.
Scott’s wife Rosemary assists him in the business, handling accounting and overseeing back-office functions.
When asked what makes him feel proud of his business, Scott, 59, said, “I use my own moral compass to do what feels right for customers and employees. I try to treat people the way I would want to be treated.”
That version of the Golden Rule seems to be working well for Scott Stillwell and his Cottman center.
Cottman of Lancaster, PA can be reached at www.CottmanofLancaster.com.