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December 21. 2013 8:57PM

These bikes move


National Power Sports in Pembroke houses over 700 bikes of all makes and models from different eras in its 50,000-square-foot warehouse in Pembroke. (BENJAMIN C. KLEIN)

Nathan Sanel turned a business that started in his garage selling used motorcycles into a $13 million a year enterprise. BENJAMIN C. KLEIN 

Starting in his garage with $500 and a single motorcycle over 10 years ago, Nathan Sanel has grown National Power Sports, a company that primarily sells used motorcycles, into a company that has over $13 million in annual sales.

The company houses roughly 700 motorcycles of all different makes, models and eras wall-to-wall in a 50,000-square-foot warehouse in Pembroke.

"Motorcycles are amazing, I mean they have two wheels and a motor, what more could you possibly want?" Sanel said.

Sanel, who previously worked for a technology company that went out of business, said he started fixing up and selling motorcycles when he became disappointed in the returns of his traditional investments. Now he has 35 full-time employees, from Web developers to mechanics.

"A big part of our success is that I have set up a good process and hired the right people. You have to have good people working for you, which I do," Sanel said.

Key to his company's remarkable growth is a business model predicated on customer service, variety of the motorcycles offered and a strong presence online, specifically on ebay.com.

Once a bike is purchased by National Power Sports, which can come from a variety of sources such as dealerships, trade-ins and auctions, it goes through moving assembly line where it is serviced, detailed and test driven.

"Even though the bike is used, I treat it like it is brand new, and since the beginning I have been very honest about what the pros and cons of each bike are, so every customer knows exactly what they are buying," Sanel said.

Also, Sanel said he doesn't allow negotiations on the prices of the bikes.

"My guys don't work on commission, and we don't allow negotiating.

"This way we can put the right people with the right bike at the right price," Sanel said.

The reason why negotiations are not allowed is that all the bikes are marked at the absolute bottom line, and they have to be reasonably priced to ensure that inventory moves quickly.

"With our business model, which is not predicated on maximum profit per bike, we have to move a lot of bikes.

"And the market, believe it or not, is very volatile, so once I buy a bike I have to sell it very quickly to guarantee a profit," Sanel said.

After years in the motorcycle industry, Rob Nye recently came on board as the company's motorcycle buyer.

"As someone who used to be an outsider, I can tell you I was very familiar with National Power Sports. In many ways they set the prices on used bikes because their prices were so well priced," Nye said.

While National Power Sports sells bikes across the world, Sanel said that a lot of his business is still done in New Hampshire.

"New Hampshire is a motorcycle state, it has more bikes per capita than any other state in the country."

Along with being a motorcycle state, Sanel said New Hampshire, and Pembroke, are great places to do business.

"New Hampshire is very business friendly, and Pembroke is a great place to be located.

" A few years ago when we were looking for a new warehouse we wanted to stay in Pembroke because of how great the town has been."

Sanel said he has his sights set on expanding, and that the next step in the progression is to expand the company's physical presence to match its already expansive online one.

To that end, he said that he wants to open a strictly retail store, and mentioned Nashua as a possibility.

"What I would want to do is move progressively down the East Coast. What I would like to do is have another warehouse in maybe Atlanta, and than I would connect the two warehouses through a string of retail stores," Sanel said.