Valley mechanic opens ‘dream’ space after decades of service

King’s Quality Auto owner, Gary King, opens a new space at 1208 Bendigo Boulevard North

Gary King isn’t much for big speeches, but he is willing to put in the work.

King, the owner of King’s Quality Auto, was joined by his family to celebrate the opening of his new 3,500-square-foot, five-bay shop off of Bendigo Boulevard in North Bend on June 11. It served as a reminder how far he had come.

“Over the years, I moved from a van then to a small one-bay shop and now today — we’re here,” he said. “This has been a dream for me for a while.”

Almost two decades ago, King, a Mount Si High School graduate, returned home after spending time as a firefighter in Alaska and getting an associate’s degree at Arizona’s Universal Technical Institute.

King returned home to North Bend and started his own business, a mobile auto repair shop he ran out of the back of his Jeep Grand Cherokee, servicing everywhere across the Puget Sound region, spending days running from the Valley to Everett and SeaTac. He loved the change of pace from his dealership job and getting to interact with customers.

“I’ve had the dealership experience and I’ve had this experience and I love it when customers come over and tell me we don’t want to go to the dealership,” he said. “They get to meet us and feel comfortable here. That’s important to me.”

King ran that mobile service until 2019, when he moved into a single-bay shop across the street from the track at Mount Si High School, where he could be regularly seen working late into the night.

Since owning that permanent space, King said he has cut down on his mobile service, but still likes to help out people in need wherever he can. One memory that sticks out for him is gifting a car to a woman who lost her daughter in a car crash on I-5.

“I heard about it and we wanted to help out, so we found a vehicle, replaced the transmission and gave it to her,” he said.

For King, helping others doesn’t just end with cars. It also includes those recovering from addiction. King, who is five years sober, is also vice president of the nonprofit Adventures in Sobriety, which provides social events for those in recovery.

“I’m the kind of person that just likes to be there,” he said. “I’ve been in that struggle, I’ve been stuck, lost and wish I had someone to help me out and there’s times that I didn’t. That’s probably what drives me more than anything.”

Reflecting back on his achievements, King said going in on his own business has made a huge difference.

“I found doing it on my own, I really liked dealing with customers and I really like the gratitude and preparing their vehicles right,” he said. “I think I’ve become a better person out of it and a better businessman. It’s just helped me out all around. The bad became good.”