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Pawnshops thrive as economy dives

Posted October 22, 2008
Updated October 23, 2008

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— With the economy tanking, some Triangle pawnshops are seeing more customers looking to turn valuables into cash.

“We seem to be loaning more money and selling less merchandise,” said Bill Dawson, with Carolina Jewelry & Pawn.

Dawson buys, sells and lends money based on things folks no longer need or want or that they decide they will have to live without. During troubled economic times, business is brisk, Dawson said. However, it is often a bittersweet transaction as people pawn their memories for money.

“There's bills, there's gas, (people) keeping from bouncing checks. It is for anything that somebody might need a short-term loan, fast,” Dawson said.

Dawson says that these days, he is not only seeing more cash-strapped people, but also a different clientele.

“I do see more affluent people,, more people that can't get refinancing, people in the construction business that got three or two houses on the market that they've got to pay interest on. They still have to meet payroll. They still got to cover their costs,” he said.

Bill Williams doesn't operate a pawnshop, but makes his money the same way, buying unwanted possessions. His company, Lindstrom and McKenney, specializes in valuables such as jewelry, coins and autographs.

“I offered her $400 and she wanted $500,” Williams said of a recent transaction.

“Old coins, 1964 and before, are good. Paper currency, old money is good,” Williams said.

With money tight and people looking to sell estate items, Lindstrom and McKenney set up a temporary shop inside the Hudson Belk at Crabtree Valley Mall.

“If people really need the money, then I think that is always hard for us. We don't see too many folks like that, but it is harder because the price they need for what they're selling has nothing to do with what they're selling. It has to do with saving the house or something like that,” Williams said.

The buying event at Hudson Belk took in items like currency from the Civil War era, paintings, and rare gold and silver. It lasts through Friday.

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  • BULLDOZER Oct 24, 2008

    Like any other business they are in for a profit and like any other business you must look before you buy. There is nothing sinister here except a businessman adjusting his business model to current market conditions. I would rather someone sell his Rolex or flat screen tv than go bad on making his mortgage payment. I admire folks willing to sell material, valued possessions to support their family. You can always buy this stuff back later or not.

  • TStills Oct 23, 2008

    Times are tough. I'll be the first to admit I hocked my gold fillings last week for a meatloaf dinner and a bottle of Thunderbird. What can u do?

  • enoughsenough Oct 23, 2008

    They also give u as little as possible, and then as carolina above said, jack up the price for the buyer.

  • ConcernedNCC Oct 23, 2008

    I've looked in pawn shops and people should check prices before they buy. It's not unusual for a pawn shop to price tools only $5 to $10 less than they can be purchased new with a warranty. I saw used handguns at Arrow Pawn when they were in Garner priced for $50 above the new price. When I pointed it out to the manager, he said, "It's worth whatever I can get someone to pay for it." Don't buy without checking.