North Carolina shop builds worldwide success on eBay

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A North Carolina custom shop has made a big name for itself on eBay, customizing motorcycles and selling them in the states and overseas.

The Bike Exchange in Gastonia sells between 25 and 40 customized Harley Davidson motorcycles every month, says “Big Mike” Nowling, the custom business manager. Since opening in 2007, the shop has sold close to 800 bikes on eBay, Nowling told the Gaston Gazette.

The shop has had sales in 35 of 50 U.S. states, selling parts as well as whole motorcycles. Parts account for between $10,000 and $30,000 in sales monthly, which translates to several million in sales for the last few years, Nowling says.

Owner Steve Hardy runs the shop with Shop Manager Tripp Kirby and Nowling. They build their creations from used Harleys purchased at auction or Harley; the shop also takes trade-ins.

The average Bike Exchange Harley is spoken for in seven to 10 days, about the time it takes to turn the raw materials into a custom ride.

Hardy says sales dropped by half in 2009 and 2010. Things are looking up, but he doesn’t see that as reason to get reckless. “We had a couple of extremely profitable years before that,” he says. “If we had gone out and blown that instead of saving, we wouldn’t be talking to you now.”

Posted by Holly Wagner

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