Local Guys Running Local Businesses

Local Guys Running Local BusinessesGreg Meier, owner and operator of Diablo Motors, grew up in Walnut Creek and graduated from Northgate High School. Greg’s parents still reside in the house where he grew up. Greg started Diablo Motors approximately 17 years ago and has operated the business from a metal building on Fostoria Way in San Ramon. Diablo Motors recently relocated to the former Total Sports building on San Ramon Valley Blvd. to create a larger and more visible showroom and service area.

Diablo Motors sells pre-owned high quality luxury cars (mostly BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and Land Rovers) and a wide variety of sports utility vehicles. Greg individually inspects and hand selects the inventory, and his in-house service department performs all safety and maintenance functions. All vehicles are CarFax certified, sold with a warranty and delivered detailed with a full tank of gas. Clients can even custom order at no extra cost. Diablo Motors can arrange financing, take trade-ins and process the DMV paperwork. Greg says, “I pride myself on having a nice local guy approach to business. I work hard to eliminate the nerve-wracking weekends of cheesy dealerships and classified ad shopping a lot of people go through looking for a clean and reliable car. At Diablo Motors we try to keep it simple, easy and honest.”  Greg’s reputation and his focus on customer service is refreshing and not taken for granted by his loyal cliental, many of whom have purchased several cars from him over the years.

Damon CasaticoDamon Casatico, Partner and Co-Founder of The Auction House, grew up in Danville and graduated from San Ramon Valley High School. Damon and his siblings still own the house they grew up in. Damon and his business partner/father-in-law, Gary Gapp, started the idea of The Auction House approximately 17 months ago. Damon is the high profile owner of Charity Benefit Auctions. He is one of the most sought after auctioneers in the country primarily focused on raising money for charities. Damon and Gary liked the one-time Cartan’s Baby Furniture store and connected with Greg to determine if a shared building arrangement might work.

The Auction House will be a unique blend of the old style auction format with a blend of Tri-Valley charm. Gary and Damon believe the focus will be on the sale of estate items including, but not limited to, antiques, jewelry, art, musical instruments and the obscure. The Auction House will be a place where the community can take advantage of buying or selling anything from a vintage juke box to an antique rug, a cigar store Indian to a diamond pendant. Gary says an auction is the most sincere and honest form of commerce known to man and he sees this venue as a gathering place on Wednesday nights where people can come and enjoy camaraderie, a little wine and cheese and an entertaining professional auctioneer who has the fast paced auction chant down to a science.  “An auction house should do well in a good and bad economy, but the community’s support of local business is critical to a company’s success,” Damon says. 

Secret to Lasting Love


It recently dawned on me that one component of to staying in love with someone may be related to the level of adoration that we feel for have of them. Think of what it feels like to have a crush on someone. It is particularly easy to believe we could love that person when we see them through adoring eyes. In my I know that in my own experiences, my love for people grew as I witnessed them change.

If we fall in love because we adore someone, we can stay in love by maintaining similar feelings, even if it is a more subtle – or differently dimensioned – form of adoration than the initial infatuation. The couple relationships that I’ve seen fail are often those where one or both partners lose that sense of wonder and adoration of the other. And while a state of total adoration of our partners at all times is clearly unrealistic, there is a lot we can do individually to nurture the qualities we possess that cause people to admire and respect us.

Behavior patterns such as complaining a lot, always being negative or unsupportive, not dressing attractively anymore, gaining weight, drinking and/or drugging too much, gambling, being overly busy, involved in too many things outside of your family and partner, are actions that can cause someone, who may have once adored you, to do so less and less. Conversely, sometimes the very things that first attract us to a mate and are initially adoring for us end up morphing into something we find reproachful.

For example, that sensitive side and a man’s career in social services may be very attractive at first, but may end up meaning long working hours and taking his work home with him more than a partner might like, becoming a bone of contention. Similarly, ambition and a socially outgoing personality can be very attractive in the beginning but over time a partner may start to perceive an underlying self-centeredness, status mongering or shallowness of thought in place of that outgoing personality.

Over the course of maturing together and individually, it is often the adoration of a beloved that gets whittled away and when the adoration is gone or eroded, it is only natural the relationship will falter. In fact, that loss of admiration and respect is like a crack – a fault – in the relationship, where further tensions will build up and store until such time as a major quake occurs.

So what can be done about this? How do we maintain the adoration in a relationship? The key is to keep yourself amazing. Keep striving and exploring for the amazing you and be that person. Cultivate an amazing you. And if you’ve fallen off the path and aren’t currently being very amazing, the good news is that you can start anytime and in many ways. Be pleasant, charming and fun when you are with your partner and other people. Pursue your passions and interests so that you remain an interesting person. Give enough time of yourself to your significant other. Be tolerant of their faults, even when you feel like you are working harder at the relationship. Work at being an interesting.  If your partner doesn’t work to be amazing too, or if they still just don’t seem to notice how amazing you are, the relationship may still develop issues, but all you can do is work on yourself. You will reap the benefits of being an amazing person regardless, even if, ultimately, the relationship doesn’t survive. Human beings adapt quickly and are naturally pretty amazing anyway, so being or becoming someone who is worthy of adoration is an attainable goal. If your current partner doesn’t find you amazing, someone else will.

Keep growing and being amazing individually and as a couple. Cultivate charm and likeability, grow in wisdom, behave as good citizens, and pursue health and healthful activities. Be sensitive to the needs of others and show respect for others needs, especially your partner’s. That’s what builds adoration and respect, in the present and over time. Lots of people are already doing this and they tend to be the ones who are still happily married, even after 12 years, 20 years, 50 years. “Live Well, Laugh A Lot, Love Often” is a quote  I recently saw that on a car license plate frame. and I believe that successful couples do, indeed, just that.

Laurie Austin is a freelance writer, researcher and thinker who writes under the self-proclaimed moniker “The Accidental Genius.” She currently resides in Seattle, WA and hopes to move to the Bay Area sometime in the future. Laurie can be reached at theaccidentalgenius@yahoo.com