Alan Spiva learned the art of pawnbroking from his mother, a successful pawnbroker in the early 80’s.
Today at AAA Pawn in Marietta, GA, Alan and his brother Robert have been pawnbroking for over 25 years. Recently, his pawn shop was promoted to Top Shop status based on feedback from PawnGuru users. AAA Pawn is located in the middle of Cobb County, the fourth most populated county in Georgia. Most of AAA Pawn’s clients are repeat customers, and a good many of them have been so for over two decades. Their average pawn loan is $75 per customer.
Want to pawn or sell an item to AAA Pawn?
Get cash offers from AAA Pawn and other local shops.
They’re open seven days a week and offer flexible hours as late as 8 pm on Mondays and Fridays, and 6 pm on other days.
“We have convenient hours for our customers and are probably the only pawn shop in the area that’s open on Sundays,” Spiva said.
Over the years, AAA Pawn has seen rare and unique items, such as a signed Marilyn Monroe album. Though they didn’t end up taking it, Spiva said the customer later reported that he was able to sell it for $5,000.
“It’s probably one of the rarest items we’ve ever seen,” said Spiva. “We also once got the ball from the 2000 New Years Eve ball drop in Times Square, which wasn’t a high dollar item, but it was something I have never seen before.”
There’s no day that goes by at AAA Pawn where a customer won’t be in desperate need of a quick cash loan. Spiva says it could be for necessities like gas to get to work or diapers and food for their baby. In Marietta, GA, most customers will bring in everyday items, like TVs, personal electronics, tools, jewelry, and precious metal mementos.
According to Spiva, competition is fierce, and “being able to stand out from the crowd is hard to do.” Ultimately, he says most individuals that come into a pawn shop just need quick cash and aren’t looking for a relationship. Also, smaller shops can’t always afford to give the most for gold based on the market value on any given day. Some customer will visit a corporate store with a larger cash flow without the need to establish rapport, and run the risk of defaulting on the loan.
Why AAA Pawn Recommends PawnGuru
“At first I was skeptical of PawnGuru, then I realized this is a new thing, and I saw that people were responding,” Spiva said. “What excites me is that PawnGuru has set up something where it draws the customers to us, and we can show them who we are and what we can do for them.”
He also feels that PawnGuru gives shops the inside track for hundreds of quality items submitted by local people.
“I recommend all customers use PawnGuru,” Spiva said. “It takes little effort on your side to get willing pawn shops to say, ‘Hey we can help you with this item here’s what we can give you!’ You don’t have to run all over town to find a place to help you.”
Advice for Small Pawn Shops
Spiva says pawn shops have to develop customer loyalty, and they’re doing a business error if they do not.
“When they bring in an item to pawn, it’s more than just an item,” Spiva said of his customers. “We’re helping people in a financial relationship.”
According to Spiva, appreciating your customers starts with understanding your customers, and it will lead to a win-win situation.
“We’re not just here to take people’s stuff. When their items are due we’re here to work them,” Spiva says. “We want to create long-term customers, and that’s what we’ve been doing very successfully.”
Tips From The Pros
“Have an open mind, a pawnbroker isn’t going to be able to give you what you paid for the item originally,” Spiva says when asked what he’d advise first-timers. “It will be based on the retail used value and loyalty.”