SAUSALITO − When Michael Gallup got his first job pumping gas at a local station, he didn’t have a clear vocational goal in mind—just a love for cars. “I was your classic car guy in high school, always working on hot rods and such,” he says. “I always figured I’d go to college and get into a different field, but it just didn’t work out that way. I guess I was having too much fun playing with cars!” It wasn’t long before Michael was promoted from pumping gas to repairing tires and changing oil, and over the following decade, he worked for an assortment of dealerships and tire shops. At the age of 27, he was hired as manager of a local auto repair shop, and after 10 years, he bought the business from the owner.
Today, as owner of A & A Automotive Corporation, Michael says while he still loves cars, his favorite part of his job is working with people. “Cars are my passion, but at the end of the day, they’re still inanimate objects. It’s the people who make the job fun. I really enjoy interacting with our regular customers and meeting new people on a daily basis.”
Born and raised in Marin County, Michael resides today in Petaluma with his stepson, Sean. Outside of work, he says his favorite pastimes tend to involve vehicles of one sort or another. “Even when I’m not working, I like to mess around with cars. I also love taking my ski boat to the delta on weekends and going for rides on my Kawasaki motorcycle. I’m probably one of the few people in my age group who doesn’t ride a Harley—not that I have anything against them, I just grew up riding Japanese bikes.”
In regard to his professional philosophy, Michael says he likes maintaining a casual, friendly atmosphere at his shop. “At my first job, the folks who ran the gas station were truly part of the community. Everybody in the neighborhood knew them, and people would just drop in and say hi. I’ve tried to emulate that with my business, and I like to think of my shop as the local neighborhood garage.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Michael says he’d hit the open road. “I’d like to do a road trip across the country. My dad and I did that a couple of times when I was a kid, and I have very fond memories of it.” He also says he’d find opportunities to get more involved in his community. “My dad retired recently and is now doing a lot of volunteering, which is something I’d also like to do when I’m in that stage of life. I’d probably get more involved in teaching automotive students, just to pass on what I’ve learned.”