‘Is Pawn the new Prada?’

midtownlogoIt is in Miami, according to this press release from the Jiminez Group. (Full disclosure: our Maui pawn shop, Kamaaina Loan And Cash For Gold) knows Jiminez well; we use their pawn business consulting services.)

“It’s like the Neiman Marcus of Pawn, the Mercedes-Benz of Pawn, the Tiffany’s of Pawn . . . you get the idea,” laughs President, Adriana Hernandez, “it’s the complete opposite of the dark, cluttered, seedy places you may have seen on Law & Order or in the movies.” 

Well, our Maui pawn shop is not dark and seedy, but nor is it the Neiman Marcus, Mercedes-Benz or Tiffany’s, either.

Somewhere in between, we like to think. You can indeed find Tiffany jewelry in our retail store at 42 N. Market St. , and Prada in our eBay store, safedeal. But no Mercedes-Benzes.

Pawn shops continue to battle their image as resorts only for down-and-outers. In a way, pawnbrokers should be proud to help down-and-0uters. Who else does? Not banks, that’s for sure.

But we keep trying to get out the message that pawn borrowing is a service that can suit the needs of everybody, from the person who’s out of work and hungry to the rich entrepreneur that Hernandez is angling for:

“It’s no different today. You’d be surprised at how many of our clients are visionaries or businesspeople who want to take their unused assets and trade them – temporarily – for the capital they need to invest in a new venture or project, and who were turned down by traditional banks. We offer a safe, cost-effective alternative for financing. The way we see it, we don’t make loans, we fund dreams, just like (Queen) Isabella did (to finance the voyage of Columbus) 500 years ago.”

In reality, the story about Isabella pawning her jewels is not historically correct, but kings and queens did pawn their stuff in the old days. Maybe they still do.

Here is another story about pawn’s bad reputation, this time in Roanoke, Virginia. The comments are interesting.

Somebody named Joe says what Kamaaina Loan Blog has often  referred to:

Pawn shops are governed by the state. They do not knowingly take in stolen merchandise, or they would lose their pawn license. A customer is required to have a valid State ID, and a complete description of the item, including the serial number if applicable, is entered into the shops’ computer system. At the end of every business day, all pawn shops report all of their transactions to the Virginia State Police. Once that information is submitted, the State Police enter the information in a data base so detectives from various counties can access the list for a match of possible stolen merchandise. Believe this; the thieves get caught.

Some people aren’t fortunate enough to have good credit. These folks might get in a bind and need some money to pay a bill or whatever. A pawn shop helps these people in times of need. In fact, pawn shops have been around longer than banks. Look it up.

Don’t worry, South Roanoke, the pawn shop will not cater to thieves and drug addicts as you so believe. They are legitimate businesses with educated owners and employees. Also, you never know, one day you might need a little loan to get you out of a tight spot.

Even if you don’t need a loan, try taking that one diamond earring — the one you lost the pair of under mysterious circumstances at the best party you ever went to (you think you remember) — to a bank and see what you get for it.

Then try us.