Economy boosts pawn shop’s business

Published 6:42 pm Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The economy has sent many people in modes of panic and fear, and leaving a lot of people without a job and with no idea when and where the next paycheck is going to come from.

With so much uncertainty and anxiety, many are left with little to no choice as they head to pawn shops to give up sentimental and monetary items for some extra cash.

“It’s amazing what they’re willing to part with,” said Tom Reigel, owner of the Pawn Shop in downtown Luverne.

Email newsletter signup

Customers come in to either sell or pawn their belongings, which can either be jewelry, guns and many other sellable items.

“It really is sad to see what people have to do to get by,” said Reigel.

However, Reigel’s heart is about as big as the booming business as he does what he can to see that some people get a little more than usual.

Reigel said that one lady came in to sell off her jewelry to pay for a $200 gas bill, and there have been single mothers coming in with their children to sell personal items.

“Sometimes, I’ll give a little more if I can tell that they need it,” said Reigel.

Even though the pawn business has been good, Reigel says that one just can’t help but feel bad for the customers that come in.

The business has had a 50 percent increase since January, which has been the biggest increase for the pawn shop in the last two years.

“I talked to a guy down in Florida and he says it’s just been unreal,” said Reigel.

Typical things like gold, guns and TVs have been pretty common in a pawn shop, but the top item has been electronics.

“Things like movies and DVDs have been mostly sold here,” he said.

Even with so many items coming in, there are a few that Reigel has had to turned away.

“I’ve had people come in trying to sell their cars and 4-wheelers,” he said.

The economy has sent so many people into a frenzy and desperation, things like antiques and sports memorabilia have been pawned off.

“It’s just sad to what is happening (to our economy),” said Reigel.

According to Reigel, many pawn shops in places in New York have has some wealthy people even selling off high-priced items.

However, even with as many people selling personal and memorable items, there are just as many people coming in to buy things in the pawn shop.

“It does balance things out,” said Reigel.

Reigel explained that things are usually cheaper to purchase in the pawn shop, so many people come in to buy what has been sold and pawned off to the store.

According to Reigel, during the months of November, December and January, they are his busiest months.

“People will come in to sell something in order to buy something elsewhere, or others will come in just to specifically buy something from here for the holidays,” said Reigel.

However, desperate times have been calling for desperate – and illegal – measures since the sheriff and deputies have investigated on possible stolen items.

Some people have broken into cars and trucks and taking items from the vehicles to take to the pawn shops.

“You typically have 20 days to recover any pawned items,” said Reigel.

According to Reigel, some people have come in to try and pawn or sell car parts, and even firearms have come up cheap.

With tax time coming up, more people are expected to come in here to pawn and sell more valuables just to scrape by the months.

“It’s just amazing that people are so willing to sell just about everything, but it’s really sad that that’s what our communities have come to,” said Reigel.