Holiday Shopping Season Spurs Jump in 2009 Pawn Shop Loans
By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kirk's Pawn in Warr Acres has been a success story for 24 years, but this November, employees have seen more customers than ever.
Typically, the number of pawns fluctuates 1 to 2 percent in the Fall from year to year.
"We've been busy, very busy. We're up 12 percent. That's a big increase for a small shop, it's a big increase," said Don Kirk, owner of Kirk's Pawn.
In fact, it's the biggest increase in the history of his business.
"It's crazy. I think a lot of this is people wanting to buy on Black Friday and before Christmas," Kirk said.
He said he's heard that as a reason among many of his customers who don't have as much Holiday spending money as in years past.
Ted Tyner pawned a tool set for just that reason.
"Paychecks don't stretch as far as they used to. With gas being as high as it is and insurance and everything else going up sky high, I need a little extra money for the Holidays. I'm going out of town. I got to see what I can do. I have people to buy for," Tyner said.
Kirk said one-third of his customers this Fall are first timers and that is unusual at pawn shops. The National Pawn Brokers Association said while the numbers vary around the country, most pawn brokers are seeing an increase in lending since banks have reduced lending options.
"I've never seen it as busy as the last two months, especially this month. Jewelry pawns are up the most. These people are good people. Everybody is just a little tight for money now. Banks won't lend. In particular, they can't lend just $200 to $500. We're a good option for people," Kirk said.
Industry leaders said while there is an increase, pawn brokers are also seeing a decline on the retail side. They say consumers should consider shopping at local pawn stores for deep discounts on electronics and jewelry.