SANTA CRUZ -- Working as Autoworld Sales and Rentals' business manager saved Doug Factor's marriage.
"As my wife Pamela says, 'For better or for worse, but no lunch,' " the 79-year-old Santa Cruz resident said with a laugh. "We made it to 50 years because I work six days per week."
Jokes aside, Factor loves running a car dealership. He's worked in the business for 60 years, and has been selling cars in Santa Cruz since 1962.
Factor grew up in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he underwent a job training program at General Motors. For the next 10 years, he worked for Halladay Motors with Oldsmobile and Cadillac.
Factor's first love was his 1953 Oldsmobile, which he remembers driving through the country in Cheyenne.
"Right out of high school, I knew I wanted to be a car dealer," Factor said. "I was set on it. I like business, and I really liked how car dealerships have five departments: new car sales, used car sales, services, parts and body shop."
Factor was invited to work as the business manager at Santa Cruz's Don Starr Motors in 1962, where he learned how the ins and outs of Oldsmoblie, Nissan, Subaru, Fiat and AMC cars. After 17 years there, Factor and his business partner Charlie Allen decided to open Autoworld.
Even after 60 years of selling cars -- "I've been in the car business longer than anyone else in town," he said. Factor said he still enjoys working 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
While Factor's a master in all areas, his favorite aspect of the job is interacting with people. He frequently oversees sales, as well as picking up rental car customers to hear why they're visiting Santa Cruz.
"I never sell someone a car; I have them buy a car," Factor said. "If you're being sold something, it's not what you need. I use that in my whole life; people enjoy being the buyer."
Factor runs the business with his daughter Stephanie Factor-Mayfield, who joined the company eight years ago. While she helps maintain the dealership, he doesn't plan on leaving the business any time soon. It's all about perspective and Factor said he feels pretty lucky.
"I saw the man walking down the street with no shoes and felt sorry for him, then saw the man walking down the street with no feet and felt sorrier for him," Factor said. "There's always someone who has it worse."
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Getting to Know
Born: Feb. 22, 1933 in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Family: Wife Pamela, daughters Stephanie and Shama, and four grandchildren
First Santa Cruz perspective: 'I thought I'd died and gone to heaven; there were only 8,700 people at the time. A group of people took me down to the wharf and I said, '"Damn, that's a big lake."'
Changing times: In addition to cars evolving, Factor has witnessed a change in gender equality. 'In those days, a woman couldn't be a dealer. His wife didn't have the right to take over if she died.'
Rodeo love: Factor grew up loving the rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyo. 'I wanted to be a rodeo cowboy, but I never could because I'm too tall.' He still attends the California Rodeo Salinas and the Clovis Rodeo every year, as well as occasionally takes motor home trips out to the Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Father Figure: Factor served on the Scotts Valley School Board for over 14 years.
On age: 'You know the person that said these are the golden years? They should hang that person, because they're not golden years. You can't do everything you want to do.