ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Steve Caruso likes motorcycles. A lot.
It’s what led him to his career from working in motorcycle shop after motorcycle shop in Albuquerque to owning his own, full-service shop – Moto Authority.
“I worked at so many of the other motorcycle dealerships in town,” Caruso said. “When I left the last one, I wasn’t ready to be the owner of a motorcycle store. But I did want to do it for myself. I figured if I was going to work that hard, I wanted to reap the benefits.”
Not that that is a truly good reason to own a motorcycle store, Caruso said.
“Really, you don’t do this to reap the benefits,” he said. “You do this because you really love motorcycles.”
He apparently found plenty of kindred spirits out there because he opened the store – that originally focused on apparel and accessories – in 2008 at the height of the depression.
“It was tough, tough times,” Caruso said. “But it worked out well for us. We’ve been going strong since day one. And that’s a good thing because we did everything with our own money, my wife and I. If we weren’t successful, we were in a bad way.”
Before too long, he had customers that wanted to get rid of their rides, so Caruso took on a few motorcycles on consignment.
Soon, he was forced from his small storefront and found a bigger place that allowed him to expand the number of motorcycles he was able to comfortably display on his showroom floor.
“It just kind of happened and it’s been great,” Caruso said of the expansion of the consignment end of things. “It quickly blossomed into service and consignment.”
He follows some strict rules for the bikes he sells: In particular, they must be in great shape.
And the showroom is full of everything from Yamaha to Harley-Davidson, racing machines to street rides to off-road dirt bikes.
A former racer himself, Caruso said he has a particular affinity for fast bikes, and also supports employees and customers who ride.
“That’s the thing about this,” he said. “They start out as customers and become friends.”