Local News

Pawnshops thrive as economy dives

Posted October 22, 2008 11:26 p.m. EDT
Updated October 23, 2008 9:14 a.m. EDT

— 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.