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As economy dips, pawn business soars

“Things are not good out there. I can tell from the people coming through our doors,” said Ron Frank Sr., owner of Radford Pawn and Coin.
He’s referring to the fact his pawn shop business is “through the roof” and “busting at the seams” due to a dwindling national economy and lost jobs.
“I have people who are absolutely bringing in their last belongings” to be pawned, he said. “They’re getting paid $7 an hour and paying $3 to $4 a gallon for gas.”
At Dublin Pawn Shop, owner Mike Millirons is seeing the same thing.
“For the most part, people are running out of decent stuff to bring in,” Millirons said, adding, “we can’t take everything.”
Millirons explained that some items have no resale value, so pawnshops can’t afford to take them in. One item he is seeing a lot of is NASCAR collectibles.
“People have invested in them, thinking they will have something of value, but there are so many (of each item) made, they have very little value,” he said.
Even items associated with the late “NASCAR king” Dale Earnhardt are not valuable because they were mass-produced. It’s the same with Elvis Presley memorabilia, Millirons added.
Unless it’s something that belonged directly to the celebrity, it doesn’t have much value, he added.
Millirons said business at his shop has increased about 25 to 30 percent since “gas prices started really climbing.” Only about 52 percent of the people bringing items to the Dublin shop are returning to get them out of pawn.
Millirons noted he is taking about 90 percent of the items not picked up to other areas to be sold because “people around here can’t afford to buy them.”
Six months ago, Frank said 60 to 65 percent of his customers returned to get their property out of pawn. Now, that figure is down to about 35 to 40 percent.
He indicated he is seeing “a lot of new faces” in his Radford store.
Frank said he hasn’t yet decided how he’ll sell the items because it’s not a “sales driven economy.” He’ll most likely hold an auction in a few weeks. “But it’ll be a gamble as to (how well the auction) does.”
Plus, as they buy more property, Frank said “our funds get limited too and we have to start paying less” for pawned items.
In his 12 years in the pawn business, he said he has “never seen it this bad.”
He noted a woman brought in 45 movies to pawn Thursday, commenting that it cost her $1.50 to buy a can of soup.
“I expect to see some pretty bad situations this winter,” said Frank, adding that services that are supposed to help people having financial troubles are being cut at a time when they’re most needed.
“It seems like (the government) is turning their backs on the American family” while spending large sums of money to bail out Wall Street, he said.
Jeremiah Gardner of Gardner’s Pawn Shop in downtown Pulaski was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

As economy dips, pawn business soars

“Things are not good out there. I can tell from the people coming through our doors,” said Ron Frank Sr., owner of Radford Pawn and Coin.
He’s referring to the fact his pawn shop business is “through the roof” and “busting at the seams” due to a dwindling national economy and lost jobs.
“I have people who are absolutely bringing in their last belongings” to be pawned, he said. “They’re getting paid $7 an hour and paying $3 to $4 a gallon for gas.”
At Dublin Pawn Shop, owner Mike Millirons is seeing the same thing.
“For the most part, people are running out of decent stuff to bring in,” Millirons said, adding, “we can’t take everything.”
Millirons explained that some items have no resale value, so pawnshops can’t afford to take them in. One item he is seeing a lot of is NASCAR collectibles.
“People have invested in them, thinking they will have something of value, but there are so many (of each item) made, they have very little value,” he said.
Even items associated with the late “NASCAR king” Dale Earnhardt are not valuable because they were mass-produced. It’s the same with Elvis Presley memorabilia, Millirons added.
Unless it’s something that belonged directly to the celebrity, it doesn’t have much value, he added.
Millirons said business at his shop has increased about 25 to 30 percent since “gas prices started really climbing.” Only about 52 percent of the people bringing items to the Dublin shop are returning to get them out of pawn.
Millirons noted he is taking about 90 percent of the items not picked up to other areas to be sold because “people around here can’t afford to buy them.”
Six months ago, Frank said 60 to 65 percent of his customers returned to get their property out of pawn. Now, that figure is down to about 35 to 40 percent.
He indicated he is seeing “a lot of new faces” in his Radford store.
Frank said he hasn’t yet decided how he’ll sell the items because it’s not a “sales driven economy.” He’ll most likely hold an auction in a few weeks. “But it’ll be a gamble as to (how well the auction) does.”
Plus, as they buy more property, Frank said “our funds get limited too and we have to start paying less” for pawned items.
In his 12 years in the pawn business, he said he has “never seen it this bad.”
He noted a woman brought in 45 movies to pawn Thursday, commenting that it cost her $1.50 to buy a can of soup.
“I expect to see some pretty bad situations this winter,” said Frank, adding that services that are supposed to help people having financial troubles are being cut at a time when they’re most needed.
“It seems like (the government) is turning their backs on the American family” while spending large sums of money to bail out Wall Street, he said.
Jeremiah Gardner of Gardner’s Pawn Shop in downtown Pulaski was out of town and could not be reached for comment.