Shop Talk: More Fees for Pawn Shops in Mohave County, AZ?

sg2485u1lxPawn brokers in Mohave County, located in the northwestern corner of Arizona, aren’t too happy about the possibility of having to pay even more fees.

“The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office says revenue from a proposed fee on all pawn shop tickets would cover the costs of participating in a national database geared toward recovering stolen property and tracking down suspects,” reported MyFoxPhilly.com reported on February 11, 2013.

On the same day, the Kingman Daily Miner reported, “Pawnbrokers are objecting to the fee because many of them already have to pay a per transaction fee to local police departments.”  One pawn broker in Kingman was quoted as saying that he already pays three dollars a ticket.  Another pawn broker in Bullhead was quoted as saying he already pays Bullhead City one to two dollars a ticket.

To read the MyFoxPhilly.com article in full, click here.

To read the Kingman Daily Miner article in full, click here.

Shop Talk: Cash America to Close 147 Mexico Pawn Shops

On September 27, 2012, Cash America put forth a press release announcing that plans to “discontinue the operations of approximately 147 of its jewelry-only Mexico-based pawn locations before the end of 2012.”  The press release also states that Cash America the 43 full-service stores its opened in Mexico over the last two years will stay in business, and that some of its jewelry-only pawn shops will be converted into full-service shops within six months.

First Cash has been a long-time frontrunner in Mexico, but until now, Cash America had been giving First Cash a run for its money–or, at least, presenting it with some healthy competition in certain regions.  While Cash America certainly isn’t out of the game in Mexico, the closing of 147 locations would certainly seem to indicate that First Cash will continue to be the frontrunner in Mexico for the foreseeable future.

A recent Star-Telegram article explains that Cash America entered the Mexico market in 2008 when it purchased a large chain with more than 100 jewelry-only shops.  The jewelry-only shops turned out to be a problem.  The article quotes Cash America CEO Dan Feehan:  ”‘We found the market becoming highly competitive, with mom-and-pop locations going up everywhere.”

The article also quotes First Cash CEO Rick Wessell:  ”‘The jewelry-only pawn shop model is a bad model,’” he said.  ”‘There are probably 5,000 jewelry-only pawn shops in Mexico, versus maybe 1,000 full-service pawn shops–and we have more than 500 of those.’”

The moral of today’s Stallcup Group “shop talk?”  If you have a jewelry-only pawn shop, you might want to consider diversifying.  If you’re thinking of opening a jewelry-only pawn shop–don’t.  Until the market changes and gold prices aren’t compelling moms and pops to open up new lending businesses left and right, keeping a jewelry-only pawn shop afloat could be very tough–or even impossible, as Cash America found out the hard way just south of the border.

To read the Cash America press release in full, click here.

To read the Star-Telegram article, click here.

Shop Talk: Are Pawn Shops Banks?

An NBCNews.com news report released on September 26, 2012, suggests that more and more people are treating pawn shops like banks.

Featured in the NBCNews.com video below, Jeff Bernard, owner of Palace Pawn in San Diego, California, says, “I am a bank.  I’m a banker for the under-banked and un-banked.”  He goes on to explain, “I’m seeing people that are living paycheck to paycheck, day to day, so they don’t have the luxury like they had many years ago of having three, four hundred, and five hundred dollars sitting in the bank so they can pay their bills.”

The Feds claim that 17 million people in the US don’t have a bank account, according to the news report.  Ron, a Palace Pawn customer also featured in the video below, is said to have explained that the reason he relies on the pawn shop is because banks simply charge too much for accounts and too much when he falls behind.

Bernard helps sum the news report up by saying, “Banks haven’t made the transition to deal with what’s going on with society, where a pawn shop can make adjustments on the fly.”  Pawn shop owners are not only benefitting from increased business, but, according to Bernard, higher loan amounts and high numbers of customers who pay off their loans and retrieve their items.

Shop Talk: Hardcore Pawn’s Les Gold Weighs in on Work Ethic of Americans

In a news report posted earlier this month on Foxbusiness.com, it is proposed that democrats are attacking presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s job creation record inappropriately.  The report claims that fact checkers have proven that Romney successfully brought the unemployment record in Massachusetts down to 5 percent.

In the video, Bill O’Reilly says the stat is bogus.  He says the unemployment rate in Massachusetts is actually 4.5 percent, and that the people in that 4.5 percent either can’t work or won’t work.  He goes so far as to call the unemployed some pretty nasty names.

Hardcore Pawn TV star Les Gold also appears in the video, and makes some controversial statements of his own.  According to Mr. Gold, “There’s still jobs.  You just need to want to go out to work.  You need to want to be there and give your boss, give your employer a day’s work for a day’s pay.  The problem is people don’t want to do that.  They want to get paid.  They don’t want to work.”

Certainly, there are people out there who are applying for jobs that aren’t actually interested in working. However, lumping those people in with the millions of Americans who can’t work for medical or other reasons, or who simply can’t find a job that will pay the bills and allow them support their families, seems more than a little short-sighted.

What do you think?  Are the majority of people who apply for positions at your pawn shop lazy drug users with no work ethic, or are most of them regular people looking for steady employment? Do you agree with Mr. Gold, or have your employment experiences as a pawn shop owner led you to believe something different?


Shop Talk: The Hottest Illinois Pawn Shop News

It seems that a lot of people in Illinois have been talking about pawn shops lately.

In Waukegan, IL:
The Lake County News-Sun reported on August 22, 2013, that the Waukegan City Council voted five to three to approve a fifth pawn shop license after rejecting the proposal five to three just two weeks earlier.

Scott Kaghan, a former Stallcup Group client, requested the license. Apparently, all it took was little more time for his proposal to sink in for enough aldermen to change their tune.

“Kaghan told the council’s judiciary committee last month that his former business was bought by a national chain in 2010, and he signed a non-compete agreement that expired in July. He told the committee that he had “’nothing but great experience with Waukegan,’” and wanted to open a new shop,” reported the Lake County News-Sun.

Having worked with Scott directly, we were happy to hear that his proposal was accepted, especially since we’d helped him achieve the lenient non-compete agreement he needed to apply for a new license so quickly after the sale of his former shop.

Congratulations, Scott!

Contact us to request a case study on how Stallcup Group helped Scott and his partners complete the sale of their four Chicagoland shops.

In Des Plaines, IL:
According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune on August 9, 2012, a Lake in the Hills resident recently applied to open in pawn shop in Des Plaines, Illinois, which is home to the Rivers Casino.  Earlier this month, aldermen turned down the man’s proposal five to two.

Interestingly, there was apparently talk among the aldermen about the popular show, Pawn Stars, and how it has improved the reputation of pawn shops.  Apparently, not enough alderman regarded the popularity of the show as a good enough reason to grant the Lake in the Hills resident’s request.  Sorry, Pawn Stars!

In all seriousness, it sounds as though the reasons the man’s request was denied had more to do with some aldermen not wanting to change zoning regulations and/or simply not wanting pawn shops in the area at all.

In Elgin, IL:
In another Chicago Tribune article published late June 2012, it was reported that “Elgin officials voted [...] to advance plans for the city’s second pawn shop, despite protests from some residents that the business will increase crime and damage the city’s image.”

It was EZPAWN that had applied for a lease.  The four to three vote in favor of leasing space to EZPAWN was based on zoning allowances, the article explained.  In order to move forward, the Elgin City Council will also have to vote to issue EZPAWN a license.

Stallcup Group didn’t find any official announcements or reports in the media regarding the license being granted, but there is a job listing on the EZPAWN website inviting people to apply to work at its Elgin location.

To read the Waukegan article, click here.

To read the Des Plaines article, click here.

To read the Elgin article, click here.

Shop Talk: Is Your Pawn Shop Ready for Father’s Day?

Father’s day is just around the corner, but there’s still time to put together a great holiday special, advertise your sale, and drum up additional business before the big day.  Below are five free or nearly free things you can do to promote your last-minute Father’s Day sale:

1. Advertise your Father’s Day sale online.  Promote your sale on your pawn shop’s website and social media pages.  Tip:  Include pictures of one or two sale items and their regular prices and sale prices.

2. Send an e-mail.  Have you got a list of your regular customers’ e-mail addresses?  If you’ve got an Internet connection and an e-mail account, it costs nothing but a few minutes of your time to send out an e-mail and let your regulars know you’re having a Father’s Day sale.  If you want to send out something fancier than a simple e-mail, go to Constant Contact and sign up for a free trial.  You can create a professional e-mail, complete with pictures of the items you’ve got for sale, send the e-mail to your contacts immediately, and track who opens your e-mails—all for free.

3. Put up a sign.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  A printed notice under your glass countertop or a small sign posted to your door can be enough to encourage customers to shop a little longer and pick up something for dad.

4. Tell customers about your special.  When you greet customers, ask them if they’ve heard about your special Father’s Day prices.  Get customers talking about their dads and what the like, and point them to appropriate merchandise.  Whose dad wouldn’t like a new lawn mower, a better drill, or a nice piece of electronic equipment?  If you’ve got some great guitars, ask your customer if his or her dad plays the guitar.  Start a conversation that will be likely to lead to a sale.

5. Customize your sales tags.  To encourage shoppers to think of dad, add phrases like, “Perfect for dad,” “Happy Father’s Day,” and “Show dad you love him” to your sale tags.

You might not have time to advertise in your local paper or be inclined to spend money on a big storefront banner.  That’s okay.  By doing small things like those listed above, you can advertise your last-minute Father’s Day sale easily and cost-effectively.

Shop Talk: Fender Launches New Line of Pawn Shop Special Amplifiers

According to the Fender website, its new line of Pawn Shop Special amplifiers “present a cool, unconventional take on amp design by evoking the enjoyably esoteric finds you might discover in a pawnshop or second-hand store.”

It’s cool that Fender is giving pawn shops a nod, but will the Pawn Shop Special line take business away from pawn shops?  It doesn’t seem likely.  The Pawn Shop Special line is comprised of just two amplifiers, the Excelsior and the Greta.  On the Guitar Center website, the Excelsior is currently being sold for $299.99.  The Greta is being sold for $199.99.

For kicks, here’s Fender’s pawn shop nostalgia-inspired Excelsior promo:

Shop Talk: Luxury Pawn Shops Rising in Popularity?

The media is taking note of the fact that more and more pawn shops are dealing in high-end, luxury goods.  Just today, a story about Biltmore Loan and Jewelry, which caters to wealthy clientele in Scottsdale, AZ, popped up on several popular news websites.  ABC put out its own story on high-end pawn shops and their sometimes rich and famous customers just three days ago.  (See the video clip below.)

Whether luxury pawn shops are really rising in popularity is hard to tell, but as long as banks remain cautious about lending, you can bet that there will continue to be savvy pawn brokers who will pick up the slack.

Shop Talk: The 21st Century Pawn Shop

In the video below, Kate Snow of NBC learns about the online pawn industry by taking a look at Pawngo, an online pawn shop headquartered in Denver, CO.

What do you think about online pawn shops?  Are they the way of the future?  Is there a chance that traditional pawn shops could one day become things of the past?

Shop Talk: What Would Your Pawn Shop Patrons Do?

Ever seen the show, What Would You Do?, hosted by ABC’s John Quinones?  Well, a recent episode of the show tested pawn shop patrons by bringing in actors who pretended to sell fake items.  If you’re a pawn shop owner, you won’t be happy with the results of this little experiment. Whether it was a man, woman, or couple doing the scamming, it was only rarely that another patron would speak up and tell the owner or pawn shop employee that something shady was going on.  Highlights from the episode are below.