He works on them, buys and sells them, promotes and markets them. He will wear you out talking motorcycles.
Baker’s drive and unbridled passion has revved MJ Sales into the largest pre-owned motorcycle business in Fort Worth. In November 2011, MJ Sales became the authorized Royal Enfield dealer in Fort Worth and has been the largest seller of Royal Enfield motorcycles in the country two consecutive years.
“Michael told us that he would sell an unprecedented number of units in his first year,” says Kevin Mahoney, president of Classic Motorworks, the U.S. importer of Royal Enfields. “We took it with a grain of salt and wrote it off to his enthusiasm . . . . on the other hand, he is not the kind of fellow that I would bet against. To my shock and delight, he did meet his goal the first year. I then thought, ‘Well, it was just a fluke’ until he did it again in 2013.
“Most motorcycle dealers could be a lot more successful if they had Michael’s skills and tenacity. He does not have the words ‘no’ or ‘can’t’ in his vocabulary. He realizes that one sale leads to the next if he instills enthusiasm and goodwill into each customer.
“I wish I could clone him,” Mahoney says.
Baker borrowed money from his mother to buy his first motorcycle when he was 10.
At 15, he convinced West Side Cycle Center in Fort Worth to hire him. After working other odd jobs—including parking cars at Billy Bob’s Texas and screen printing shirts for Fort Worth Stockyards businessman Steve Murrin—Baker had accumulated a garage full of bikes. He sold them to buy more motorcycles, not to make money, he says. “At one point, I had 18 motorcycles in Mom’s garage. I still have some there. If I had an ego, it would be to own all the motorcycles in the world.”
It was while sweeping floors at West Side that he dreamed of one day owning his own shop and the birth of his commitment to customer service. “As a kid, it was so frustrating to ride my bike on the weekends, then have to wait until Tuesday to get parts or service it,” he says. “It never made any sense to me, and today we are open six days a week. Most shops are closed on Mondays. Mondays are one of our busiest days.”
Baker graduated from Paschal High School and Texas Christian University. He majored in graphic communications with a minor in photography, but he always wanted “to do the motorcycle thing.” At TCU, he met his wife, Krystal. They’ve been married 22 years and are proud parents of two sons, Brock, 17, and Connor, 13; and daughter Erika, 15. All ride motorcycles. “Do I want them to do it? No,” Baker says. “But it’s in their blood.”
Baker says he enjoys helping his customers achieve their goals with his products. “I really ride the product,” he says. “I’m not just in it to make money. If you want to ride, I’m the guy to help you do that.” Anyone can be successful as long as what they’re selling is true and honest and positive, and as long as they respect people, Baker says. “I’m very concerned that not only do I win in the sale, but that the customer wins as well. I don’t want them to feel like they’ve been run over or gouged. I’m not ever going to do anything unethical. That’s how you lose.”
He says he has a good team of people working in the same direction with the same goals. He wants them to succeed, too.
“Our motorcycles are more than just motorcycles; they are relationships, unforgettable experiences and storytellers,” says sales associate Jeff Azcona.
“I graduated from TCU in May of 2012, (but) I feel like I never left the classroom. What I’m learning you can’t learn in a book, movie or seminar. I’m learning the fundamental principles of how to treat people right while still being successful. Every great businessman at one time had a great mentor, and that’s what Michael is for me.
“I grew up around a Honda shop, cleaning toilets and assembling the motorcycles; before meeting him, owning my own motorcycle shop was just a fantasy. He has the tendency to pour his passion out in 50-foot waves that is impossible for others around him not to be splashed with inspiration. Try telling him he can’t do something and watch as he does it.”
What is it like being married to Michael? “When Michael is focused on anything, it is 110 percent,” Krystal says. “He is so passionate about everything he does. Sometimes his enthusiasm is difficult to contain; he literally is obsessed with everything motorcycles. The great thing is that he is happy to go to work every day, and he comes home happy. And who wouldn’t be? He gets to do something most men only dream of.”
It’s a dream Baker has had since forever. “Every day I get to do what I love. Every day I buy motorcycles, meet motorcycle riders and I’m part of an industry that has always fascinated me. For that I’m very grateful and feel like the luckiest guy in the world.”