A substantial number of center owners got their start fixing cars by learning the business from their fathers; but Greg Dittbrenner, owner of the New Castle Cottman with his wife, Carolyn, came at things from a slightly different perspective.
Brothers Scott, Jeff, and Greg learned the business first. Then, once they had their skills down, their father, Earl, bought a center and put his sons to work.
Local Business In The Family
“When I was still in high school, both my brothers used to work for the Cottman in West Chester, PA. I used to go in after school and help out,” explains Greg.
“At the time, our dad was working as an accountant. He overheard my brothers talking about opening their own center, so he started looking for an opportunity. The Cottman of New Castle, DE became available, so he bought the franchise and we all went to work there.”
The brothers worked together, honing their business skills for about 10 years. “The West Chester center came on the market, so dad bought that one and Jeff ran it,” says Greg.
Scott, the oldest of the three, went on to open an independent shop in Downingtown, PA. He passed away about 10 years ago.
About half the business at the New Castle store is commercial; they have an outside sales person who keeps their name out in front of the shops and businesses in the area.
Since 1983 this center has established a great reputation within the community and one thing that sets the New Castle store apart from the rest is cleanliness: Their customers claim they have the cleanest transmission shops they’ve ever seen. That’s something Greg takes great pride in, because he knows just how valuable a clean shop is for building a great transmission, and how important it is to their customers.
Rebuilt Transmissions In New Castle, DE
And Greg takes particular pride in building a terrific transmission, because he’s not just the owner… he’s also the center’s rebuilder.
In his spare time, Greg has a ’72 Cutlass that he built into a drag racer. But he doesn’t actually do the driving: That’s something he leaves to his daughter, Jillian. And he’s just finishing up a second car for his youngest daughter, Emily.
So, whether it’s fixing cars or racing them, Greg Dittbrenner and his family are blazing new trails in the traditional, family-owned business model.
Cottman of New Castle, DE owner Greg can be reached at www.CottmanofNewCastle.com.