By Donovan Hasson
After coming to the United States from Palestine at the age of 1, Jalil also known as J, watched his father struggle, holding three jobs in a foreign country. Watching his father face these difficulties inspired Jalil to take his father out of this situation. So Jalil dedicated himself to the goal of being a business owner and his own boss. This eventually led him to become the owner of “Michaelis”, a convenient store that sells unique sandwiches, located on the corner of Polk & Larkin Street. Jalil learned how to make sandwiches from a young age, working at his family’s convenience store since the age of 11. Making sandwiches has become a 2nd hand routine and something he enjoys doing. Jalil created his own unique sandwiches giving them a unique artisanal twist. His personal favorite, and top seller, is the “Warriors” sandwich. He chose to name his sandwiches after Bay Area teams, being from the Bay Area himself, as well as the fact that he loves sports. Jalil extends his love of sports to the Galileo community. Michaeli’s has supported Galileo’s flag football team by helping them financially to be able to afford new equipment and uniforms.
Jalil loves being in the Russian Hill community and working with Galileo students. “I know my customers very well and make sure they are taken care of. Since the day I opened I’ve said if they respect me and I respect them in return,” Jalil said Galileo students have nothing but praise for both the store & the sandwiches that J makes. Rory Jones said, “I like going to Michaelis because their sandwiches taste good and are really yummy. My favorite sandwich is in between the “Giants” and the roast on toast, but I’m going to say “Giants” is my favorite.” Senior Francis Gonzalez said, “I like sandwiches and to me Michaelis is the place to go for sandwiches, my favorite sandwich is the 49ers,”
Senior Julio P. said, “It’s close to school and convenient because I get the goods of a corner store and a delicious lunch all at one location”
Jalil was quick to get in the work force, having a job since the age of 11 in a liquor store. J then dropped out of high school, but still stuck to the liquor store business since he was already familiar with it. However he realized the importance of earning a degree so he went back to get his GED and later earned a certificate in Finance. With his business certificate he then got a job as a business analyst for JP Morgan.
Using the skills he acquired as an analyst working at JP Morgan, Jalil staked out a great spot on the corner of Polk & Larkin Street where the owner didn’t realize its prime location. Already familiar with the liquor store business and being good at making sandwiches, Jalil has been running Michaelis ever since then. He believes that what makes Michaeli’s unique is the interaction he has with his customers as well as the store being family oriented.
Jalil plans to eventually invest in real estate. In order to reach that goal he plans to open up another business, bring the sales high for that business, and then sell it, using the money to invest in real estate. Jalil says, “I hope to earn enough income to make more Michaelis and start a chain business.”