September 3, 2014
Sal Albanese has had a lifelong love affair with cars. The owner of Cottman Transmission & Total Auto Care at 1 Kintner Alley in Stroudsburg, grew up in the transmission repair business.
He worked at his father’s transmission shop in Brooklyn, N.Y. as a youngster, before attending Brooklyn Automotive, where he graduated at the top of his class at age 16. Albanese then went to work at his cousin’s transmission shop on Long Island, before moving to Pennsylvania to work at the Cottman center he now owns. For three years, he was the transmission rebuilder and manager of the Cottman store, before buying it four years ago.
Family Owned Business
“My family’s been in this business for 95 years,” he said, “and I knew this what I wanted to do since I was a kid. It’s what I love.”
Taking over a business wasn’t easy, he recalled. The Cottman center Albanese bought had undergone a few tough years, but he worked hard to turn it around quickly.
The Cottman brand has a reputation for quality, he said, but Albanese added his own quality assurance by offering a 36,000-mile, 3-year warranty on all work done at his center.
The other trick to turning the business around?
“We treat our customers like family,” Albanese said. “People actually enjoy coming in to see us. We turn what could be a negative or frustrating experience into pleasant one. Our customers aren’t nameless numbers to us; we get to know them. It’s often more than a one-time business transaction. It’s a relationship.”
Customers often stop in to bring cookies and Italian pastries, or just to say hello and stay in touch, Albanese said with pride.
“In some ways,” he recalled, “it’s like being in the old neighborhood where I grew up. As big as Brooklyn is, people in the neighborhood knew each other. My Cottman center is like that. We’re part of the Stroudsburg community.”
He does a lot to connect with the community. His passion for cars led to his involvement with the local 200-member car club, the Monroe County Cruisers Car Club, where Albanese now serves as president. His shop supports five car clubs in the area, and he sponsors a drag race at Island Dragway, the local race track. He often participates in races, with one of eight collectible cars he has restored, including a “cherry” ’65 Chevy Impala convertible.
He recently hosted “Cruisin’ the Burg,” a cruise night at his center that raised more than $2,000 for the family of a local police officer who died. His center helps with the annual Toys for Tots drive, sponsors the local high school football team and helps with Valor, a program to support homeless veterans.
Not only does he strive to treat customers like family, but he feels like his center’s crew is like family too. All have been with him for the eight years he’s been at the Cottman center. His manager actually is family. Manager Santo Albanese, 24, is Sal’s son and clearly is following the family tradition.
Auto Repair Center In Stroudsburg, PA
Cottman of Stroudsburg, PA is located at 1 Kintner Alley, Stroudsburg, PA 18360. Call 570-476-9898 or visit the website for more information www.cottmanofstroudsburg.com.
About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care:
With locations across the U.S. and in Canada, Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is an transmission and auto repair 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 www.cottman.com.