Make us your home page
Instagram
5Questions with Mike Michaels

Portrait of an auto repair shop owner

Mike Michaels is owner of Mike’s Belleair Repair, 795 Indian Rocks Road, Belleair Bluffs. The shop is heading into its 30th year.

PIPER CASTILLO | Times

Mike Michaels is owner of Mike’s Belleair Repair, 795 Indian Rocks Road, Belleair Bluffs. The shop is heading into its 30th year.

Times are tough, but Mike Michaels, 65, appreciates what he's got. Right now, owning Mike's Belleair Automotive on Indian Rocks Road in Belleair Bluffs has its advantages. "Put it this way, I sure wouldn't want to be selling new cars right now,'' he joked. Mike's Belleair, which includes two other full-time mechanics, is heading into its 30th year. In order to keep operating, Michaels hopes to see $35,000 worth of business each month. "The recession is hurting us some, but all-in-all (the business) seems to be doing okay,'' said Michaels, who lives with his wife, Jeanne, in the Oakhurst area. They have three daughters and two granddaughters.

1What is the key moneymaker for you? It's usually doing maintenance, and right now, during these times, some customers are not doing proper maintenance because they don't have the money. They should stick to the schedule though, because it can become costly.

2Can you give a comparison of what happens to those who don't follow the schedule? For a 5-year-old car, if someone gets a complete oil and filter change and lubricates every 3,000 miles, that would (generally) cost $28. But, if you don't get that done, an engine overhaul could cost from $1,000 to $8,000.

3Do you think this location, in an affluent neighborhood, is a benefit? Yes. I've only had six bad checks in 29 years.

4What do you think of the General Motors collapse? I certainly think they needed overhauling. Their problem was that they kept building big stuff because of profit so they didn't build the smaller, fuel efficient cars.

5What was the first car you owned? It was in 1964. A Ford. It had a 427-cubic inch engine and two four-barrel carburetors with four-speed transmission. It was more powerful than what the police were riding in at the time. When I got married, I had a champagne colored '65 Mustang and a '56 T-bird convertible. The T-bird only lasted a year. My wife would say, 'You think more about the T-bird than you do me.' I got rid of it.''

Portrait of an auto repair shop owner 08/01/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 12:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]