Pawn shops like the Silver Dollar in Roswell, Georgia are working hard to change the misconception about the pawn industry. News organizations and law enforcement often give pawnbrokers a bad rap for being shady and dealing with stolen items. Even in the 1500’s, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, portrayed the moneylender character Shylock, in less then a good light.
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In July 2014, Joseph Ellis, owner of the Silver Dollar, opened his doors to the public. He grew up in the business; by age nine, he was already working in his father’s pawn shop.
“My grandfather owned a pawn shop in Florida called Sunshine Loans,” Ellis said.
Later in the eighties, Ellis’s father opened up a pawn shop too.
He grew up in the business; by age nine, he was already working in his father’s pawn shop.
Ellis describes his store as an exclusive jewelry shop with high-end goods.
“Eight out of ten people that walk in, say it is the nicest pawn shop they have ever walked into,” Ellis said. “We keep it very clean and organized.”
Ellis works hard to serve his community, which is middle to upper class, as he said, “We do a lot with big investors, our average pawn loan is $1000, most shops are closer to $50.”
Since he looks only for high-end goods; such as jewelry, firearms, and electronics, it would be hard to find item like old power tools or kitchen appliances.
The Silver Dollar knows 75% of everyone who walks through their doors. The business has been creating real relationships, and as a result many first time customers become repeat customers.
“That is my favorite part, having the camaraderie in the community with the regular customers,” Ellis said. “Second to that, is being able to make deals that make the company a little money, and saving someone money is the best feeling.”
“That is my favorite part, having the camaraderie in the community with the regular customers,” Ellis said.
Ellis advises first-time visitors to pawn shops to work with pawnbrokers that are flexible.
“You want a pawnbroker that is willing to work with you,” Ellis said. “Nobody likes the guy who’s going to pull your stuff the day after it’s due.”
Depending on pawn shops near you, you will find a variety of cool items available for purchase. For Ellis, he has seen it all; including, a 1931 National Style-O steal guitar, bear skin rugs, elephant foot stools and a classic 1956 Chevy.
To Ellis, the most memorable was when he was working at his father’s shop. A British war veteran came in to pawn his old plume, sword, war medals, complete diary and letters from the Crimean War.
“I thought that was epic,” Ellis said. “I have no idea what happened to the gentleman, but we never sold it. We just put it on display in the shop, and my family still has it to this day.”
From a pawn shop owner’s perspective, Ellis says PawnGuru gives you the ability to drive in more business. In many situations, individuals will only go to the nearest pawn shop, but PawnGuru allows for quicker discovery and interaction.
In addition, pawn shops can communicate with potential customers through the PawnGuru website. When an individual submits an item via the website, pawn shops in a specific area are notified instantly and can communicate with customers.
In many situations, individuals will only go to the nearest pawn shop, but PawnGuru allows for quicker discovery and interaction.
“It is competitive, so make sure you come out swinging and treat people right,” Ellis advises new shop users of PawnGuru. “There are people who are actively using the site, so just come out with a fair offer to begin with. Otherwise not only will you not get their business for that transaction, but they will probably remember how low your offer was and not want to do business with you in the future.”
Since starting to use PawnGuru, the Silver Dollar has had many successful interactions. Ellis mentioned of one individual in particular who came to his shop at least five times thanks to PawnGuru.
“Being in the industry this long; we kind of assumed that the platform was something we would not be interested in,” Ellis said. “But, within the first 48 hours we had a new customer lead.”