Pawnshops expecting busy season

It’s that time of year where things get bananas around the shop and the exchange of money really starts to flow. Will you, or are you ready as the influx of people start showing up ready to pawn, buy, or sell their items? PawnMaster can help you be that extra clerk, manager, or set of eyes you need when things get chaotic. Think of PawnMaster as your must trusted employee that always has your back! As we come into the heart of the holiday season, we are here to support you with any and all of your hardware and software needs. Feel free to contact one of our industry specialists for assistance 888-949-7296. Here is a great article we found about the upcoming holiday season.

By James Walsh
Times Herald-Record
Published: – 11/25/12

NEW WINDSOR — It can be a place to go for an emergency loan, or maybe to buy a chain saw.

Those with romance on their minds can get engagement rings. Others, looking to make a few bucks, lug in treasures mined from basements and attics.

It’s the modern pawnshop, exemplified in Orange County by businesses in Central Valley, Middletown, New Windsor and the Town of Wallkill.

Not all are alike.

World of Pawn in Wallkill is heavily into tools and machines. Fort Knox Jewelry and Loan in Central Valley is a jewelry store where the stock also includes watches and coins. Its sister business in New Windsor, Fort Knox Super Pawn and Thrift Shop, is the company’s flagship, said Stephen Rinaldo, director of operations.

“You can buy a WeedWacker there or a Rolex watch,” Rinaldo said. “It’s a true pawnshop.”

The wares were indeed an eclectic mix: power and hand tools, antique weaponry, musical instruments, a fancy Mexican-tooled western saddle, and even an autographed and authenticated pair of Johnny Damon’s Yankees shower shoes.

Reality TV shows boost interest

Hudson Valley Pawnbrokers of Middletown is entering its busy season, said manager Rob Ambrose.

“Sales go up this time of year,” Ambrose said. “The whole business in general picks up during the holidays.”

He credits reality TV shows about pawnbroking for generating interest in the shop’s wares. “All the shows on TV bring people in,” said Ambrose, who’s seen customers wanting to pawn or sell items ranging from more than three dozen baseballs signed by Hall of Famers, to harpoons, to a flint gun used to ignite gas lamps on city streets.

State regulates interest rate

Rinaldo and Vinnie Formisano, manager of the New Windsor store, believe some people have mistaken impressions about the pawn business. The stores aren’t dark and dusty with unsavory characters hanging around. And they’re not like their TV versions, where every day brings the rarest of antiques to the counter.

“What you have, basically, is middle-class, hard-working people,” Formisano said. “The transmission on the car goes and they need a loan for a week or two.”

Superstorm Sandy sent people to pawnshops like it did to hardware stores.

“We sold out all of our generators,” Rinaldo said, “and we were able to help a lot of people out with short-term loans.”

The business wasn’t hampered by the downed computers and closed offices that affected some banks, said Chris Romano, head of jewelry and merchandising at Fort Knox in Central Valley.

“This time of year, we’re lending more money,” Rinaldo said. “People need holiday cash. A lot of customers have been affected by the economy. They’re not broke, but they may not have credit, and they come here for a short-term loan.”

The interest rate — 4 percent per month — is regulated by the state. Loans are for four months, and can be renewed. Additional interest may be charged for storage of large items.

“We’ve done loans on contractor’s trucks,” Romano said. “A contractor has trucks he’s not using, and he needs money to start a new project. A bank isn’t going to give you credit on your dump truck.”

Some customers seeking to sell

Besides people looking for loans, there are customers looking to sell items ranging from furs to snowmobiles.

John Connolly of Newburgh was at the New Windsor store recently, intending to sell a keyboard and a cymbal from a drum kit.

“I have stuff lying around that I don’t need anymore,” Connolly said.

Others, like Valentino Mann of Monroe, come in to buy. He was in the market for a chain saw.

“I want to see if they have one here that’s cheaper than what they charge at the store,” said Mann.

Rinaldo finds that 90 percent of customers repay their loans and take back their merchandise.

“We don’t want them to forfeit their stuff,” Formisano said, “because they’ll come back and take a loan on it again.”

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