Moshe Pourad didn’t party or play sports in high school. Instead, he sold cars. Today, he owns one of the largest independent used car dealerships in New York City with four locations in the Bronx.
In 2017, Pourad, 27, opened 26 Motors in the Eastchester section of the Bronx with a single 30-car lot location on Boston Road. Not many places were selling high end cars in the borough and Pourad grabbed the bull by the horns.
“There were some people doing it, but mainly on Long Island, not so much in Queens, but there was a huge opportunity to cater to people who wanted to buy luxury cars,” Pourad told the Bronx Times.
However, his path to success was not easy.
Growing up in Forrest Hills, Queens, Pourad’s father was a wholesale car dealer and his mother had multiple sclerosis. Hit hard by the 2008 recession, his dad struggled to make ends meet and Pourad was forced to start working at a young age to keep his family home from foreclosure.
“I wasn’t playing basketball with my friends,” he said. “I was working. I had this drive saying I had to make it.”
At age 12 all the cool kids were wearing Abercrombie and Fitch and Pourad wanted those clothes. His dad said he needed to work. So, he got a job at a car dealership in Jamica where he washed cars, learned how to pass them for inspection and sold his first car at 15.
According to Pourad, everyone at the car dealership thought a 15-year-old working there was a joke, and no one wanted to teach him anything. He said he’ll never forget the customer’s face when he sold the first car. From that point on, he knew the sky was the limit.
“I wanted to learn everything, not just to sell,” he said. “I wanted to own a store.”
He told the Bronx Times no one gave him advice nor took him seriously. Knowing he wanted to have his own business as soon as possible, he completed his requirements for 11th and 12th grades in one year and graduated high school a year early.
Pourad had one friend who believed in him, but everyone else doubted him.
“When people tell me no it makes me stronger,” he said.
At 17, he opened his first store on Hillside Avenue in Queens. He was buying cheap cars and reselling them, but things took a turn for the worse when Pourad was tied up and robbed at gunpoint.
He shuttered the location, but opened a larger one five blocks away. Pourad’s father came with his people and wanted to work there. So, after a year and a half he gave his dad the store.
“You can’t mix family with business,” Pourad said. “At that point, I stopped and said I don’t want the car business anymore.”
Pourad did real estate for a short time, but was at a crossroads in life and needed a break to clear his head. He went to Israel for a month where he planned his next steps.
When he returned from the Jewish homeland his friend Yosef Ayzencot picked him up from the airport and took him to the Bronx. Pourad had never been to the borough and only heard bad things about it. Little did he know that he would find the future home for 26 Motors.
Ayzencot showed him four floundering businesses along Boston Road.
So, with Ayzencot and their friend Aharon Benhamo, they launched 26 Motors in 2017. In Judaism, 26 is the the sum of the Hebrew characters for the name of the god of Israel. The company’s name means “God’s Motors.” In fact, in observance of the Jewish Sabbath it is closed on Saturdays.
The trio saw there was a need for high end cars in the community and slowly began to garner a reputation within New York City and beyond.
“All of our competitors were not happy because we took away a lot of their business,” Pourad said.
The business slowly became the prime dealership where people shopped for luxury cars. From having exclusive inventory, building a great online presence and helping those who needed a second chance to purchase a vehicle, 26 Motors began changing the dealership business.
A day at 26 Motors is unlike a day at any other dealership. You may just run into A-list celebrities like rappers 50 Cent and Sheff G, or end up taking a selfie with DJ and record producer DJ Envy of Power 105.1.
Over the years the Bronx and 26 Motors became Pourad’s second home. Customers from throughout the tri-state are, and some even nationwide, have bought cars from him. Today, Pourad has a total of eight locations in New York and one in Miami.
“My whole life has been dedicated to this place,” he said. “This is where I started. This is my baby. When you come from a broke family this is just a dream.”
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t slow Pourad down either. He closed for two weeks in March 2020, but after that remained open and business was booming.
Pourad said the supply shortage caused by the pandemic didn’t affect his business either. He spent extra money to make sure the parts and cars were available for his customers.
“Everybody had money from the PPP loans and stimulus checks and every morning there was a line out the door with people waiting,” he said.
Pourad said besides buying a house, purchasing a car is one of the most important financial decisions in one’s life. Therefore, he always wants people to feel welcome at 26 Motors.
“I sacrificed everything to get this place,” he said. “When people come here and drive off with a smile it’s priceless.”
For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes