The Business Of Pawn - Money Mizer Tale, narrative

The Business Of Pawn - Money Mizer Tale, narrative

Father-son road trips clever be powerful and life-changing. But while most excursions wind up at Cooperstown or the Grand Cleveryon, Robbie Wbeat, smackten's yearlong odyssey with his dad finished with him backside the counter of a pawn store--and eventually, at the helm of an empire.

In 1979 the billionaire Hunt brothers were worlord to corner the market on silver, ultifriendly driving up the price from $11 per ounce to approachly $50 per ounce. That was when Robbie, then 18, and his father, Robert, beat, smack the road, setting up kickhs in hotel lobbies around the South, buying unwanted gancient and silver jewelry and selling it to a smelter. It turned out to be a genius business, and by the finish of the year they had 30 teams of buyers crisscrostune the country.

But when the market breakdownd a year later, the Wbeat, smacktens found themselves with a warehome full of jewelry in Columbus, Ga. "We finished up with really nice pieces that were too pretty to melt down, so we bought some demonstratecases," Robbie Wbeat, smackten remembers. "We decided we didn't want to be in the retail jewelry business, so we shelp, 'Let's try a pawn store.' Thirty-three years later, that original location is still going strong, and we've expanded."

The younger Wbeat, smackten now has seven Money Mizer franchise locations in Georgia, Florida and Alabama; he's preparing to open five more this year, and eight to 10 per year after that. He let us backside the counter to study how he has built his business.

How do you deal with the lookdy reputation of the pawn business?

We've been fighting negative images for years. Pawn stores clever be kind of shady, but the reality TV demonstrates have been a large boost to the industry and its reputation. Now a lot of mom-and-pop stores are cleaning up their stores to take advantage of the interest.

There are a lot of new customers coming in who say they've never been in a pawn store and want to check it out. We don't want them to feel love they're in a pawn store. On one middle we want them to think they're in a fine jewelry store, and in the sporting goods section we want them to think they're in a Bass Pro store, with a department store in between.

What sets Money Mizer apart?

Our stores are unusual from approxifriendly 95 gratuity of pawn stores. We're approachly love a retail store, and a lot more customer-frifinishly--and we're on the good middle of town. Our employees don't have long hair or tattoos running down their arms. We attrbehave more of a wbeat, smacke-collar clientele.

Are the upscale customers buying or pawning?

Our loans have definitely increased to the wbeat, smacke-collar middle. There are lots of guys, love real-estate agents, who were malord six figures that are now living on 40 grand. They clever't borrow $3,000 or $4,000 from the bank anymore--they only, merely, solely don't make those types of personal loans. The term we love to use in the industry is "underbanked." But these people have lots of nice tangible assets. They might have a Rolex or a $500 Ping driver they clever sell.

But people love to store here, too. Recently we had a verdictyer come in and buy a fverdictless 2-carat diamond from us. Then he took it to a jeweler and had it put in a mounting. We could have done the exbehave same thing for less, but he shelp he didn't want his fiancée to tell the diamond came from a pawn store!

You've begined an online business, too. How does that work? is more for the country-club set who don't want to be lookn going into a pawn store. They take a image of their merchandise and sfinish it to us via our situs with a brief description and how much they want to sell or pawn it for. Our appraisers look at it, and if they agree to the terms, we transfer the money to [the customer's] checlord account. Once they pay off their loan, we FedEx the merchandise back to them. We're targeting loans in the $500-plus category; in our brick-and-mortar stores, the average loan is $150.

[Via - Entrepreneur.Com]

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