Stereotypical Politicians and Pawnshops Disturb me, how about YOU?

Posted on 25. Jun, 2011 by in Blog

Greenfield decides pawn shop is bad trade-off

Exchange Street won’t fill vacant big-box site

Posted: June 22, 2011 7:54 a.m. |(3) Comments

Greenfield – It was a “no sale” when it came to establishing a mega-pawn shop in the former quarters of Circuit City in Greenfield.

The Common Council Tuesday night voted 3-2 against issuing a special-use permit that would have allowed an Exchange Street pawn and resale business at 4585 S. 76th St., a big-box retail site that was last occupied by Ultimate Electronics earlier this year.

Minnesota-based Exchange Street operates four shops in the state and a total of 23 around the country. But a majority of Greenfield aldermen weren’t comfortable with the local site becoming the chain’s fifth Wisconsin location, especially after input at a public hearing Tuesday.

Pawn problems

The main concerns of alderwomen Linda Lubotsky, Pam Akers and Shirley Saryan included the probability that a police detective would have to be hired to make sure stolen goods are not sold there.

The estimated cost is $120,000 for a detective, including pay and benefits, Lubotsky said. Exchange Street offered $50,000 toward that amount but an agreement was not reached, Chuck Armstrong, Exchange Street spokesman, said after the meeting.

Another worry some alderwomen expressed was that such a large pawn/resale shop would put the city’s small mom and pop resale shops out of business.

But the idea of a big-box pawn shop on 76th Street, in which the city has invested improvements in recent years, did not sit well with some aldermen.

“As William Shakespeare said, ‘A rose by any other name will smell as sweet,’ ” Saryan said. “A pawn shop by any other name is still a pawn shop.”

Other objections heard at the public hearing speakers included concerns that a huge pawn shop might attract the criminal element and result in higher crime rate in Greenfield.

“I would hate to see people visiting this place and start to look around,” said resident Jeff D’Agostino.

And once one pawn shop is approved, others will likely come, said small business owner Bret Eulberg.

His brother owns a pawn shop in California and now three others have opened up around him, he said.

Some selling points, too

But aldermen Karl Kastner and Tom Pietrowski said the pawn/resale shop would not be the stereotype pawn shop.

They were convinced it would be well-run, based on a report of police who checked out an Exchange Street store in Madison. It also would provide a service to those who want to get rid of unused possessions and make a little money, they added.

“Basically, it’s a Goodwill store you get money for,” Kastner said.

He also said the city cannot keep a business out to protect existing businesses from competition.

And the money needed for an additional detective could be obtained from the company in the form of a transaction fee, Pietrowski said.

“Exchange Street is a real good opportunity for Greenfield,” he said.

Following the meeting, Armstrong acknowledged dismay in how some aldermen view the company.

“We’re disappointed,” he said. “There continues to be a serious misconception.”

However, Armstrong doubted that the company would try to challenge the decision in the courts.

Commentary from Jerry – It really does disturb me to see and witness after all the years that we have fought for image and equality that stereotypical perceptions still occur with many of those in the public eyes. Even in the midst of historic economic tragedies, our industry is still perceived and construed as un-desireable by many. Empty retail spaces equate to no rent, no taxes, no jobs, no traffic and no revenues which are not generated as a result of this form of descrimination, even when rental retail space availability is at it’s historic high in the country today. Amazing !!

We may be going mainstream, but we are still struggling with Main Street!

A few cents from Jerry Whitehead


Jerry Whitehead

Pawnshop Consulting Group, Inc.






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2 Responses to “Stereotypical Politicians and Pawnshops Disturb me, how about YOU?”

  1. ButterMilk

    30. Jun, 2011

    I’m not a pawn broker but I am a business man– and even though I’m not IN the pawn business I have done business with pawn shops at different times during my life. I sometimes visit a pawn shops to get an important “disk polished” or to look for good deals on instruments or even tools when I had extra cash flow and wanted to add new instruments to my studio or do a fix-up project. It sometimes make no sense to RENT a tool for a few days, for a small job when you can buy a perfectly good used one cheaper than you can rent one and have that for as long as you need it. So I’d say I visit my local pawnshops several times a year.

    In fact, I used to do that a lot where I lived where a lot of musicians would move to town with big dreams of becoming a STAR! Most of them did and NOT make it for long at all so they’d have to sell most if NOT all their stuff to try to get back home. Who else would be willing to buy their used equipment on short notice but pawnshops – especially if these people don’t have the time to wait for everything to sell on E-bay. So a pawnshop was a valid service that was NEEDED or these people would have been out of luck! SO WITH THAT SAID – I see that in this post- the city is against a new Super Pawn shop stating that it would increase crime and they would need another detective for $120/per year just for this shop! HUH? Do they say that about Super Wal-marts that basically steal the livelihoods of most small town businesses?

    I do NOT get the cities or alderman’s position – their thinking is totally flawed. I did NOT read the second half about the Positive things said – as the first part just made me MAD! Hence I wanted to weigh in with my thoughts from a NON-PAWN BROKERS STAND POINT!

    1. (We’ll have to “Hire a full time detective” to check for stolen goods?) HUH? Why a full time detective for $120K for ONE SHOP? That makes ZERO SENSE! The taxes generated by a super shop like the one proposed I would assume be quite hefty, again I’m not a pawn broker but I do know that taxes must be paid! What would be the “overall taxes” paid by this shop – (sales taxes, service taxes; state employee taxes or payroll taxes; local business license fees, pawn license fees, corporate or LLC Taxes, state income tax, and I’m sure a LOT more? I just know a LOT of EXTRA REVENUE that otherwise is taken completely OUT of the mix in an economy that NEEDS more things in the mix! States, Cities all need revenue – and people need a place to go for short term cash, as it’s easy to fall behind. And in this economy – even middle to UPPER class people need a place to go to get a short term loan! Maybe a person gets hit with an unexpected huge expense and needs some time to get their bank balance up. Usually something unexpected has happened but their “local banks” would say “sorry to hear that – but we can’t help you”. And if their credit cards are maxed out – what are they supposed to do? I can assure that for the less fortunate – they may be forced to turn to CRIME as they have NO PLACE ELSE TO GO!
    2. Also this shop would be paying RENT or a long term lease for an otherwise EMPTY building that is in time going to be an EYESORE and will have to be patrolled even more to make sure it doesn’t end up being vandalized or broken into all the time – more police hours wasted with ZERO INCOME being produced by an empty building. And of course the longer the building sits the fewer taxes that get paid and the building continues to deteriorate hence the owner is losing MORE MONEY and any possible new tenant will offer less for RENT or even to buy as the building will continue to lose VALUE – as well as depreciating the value of that commercial district and that entire part of town – it all trickles down. Let’s not forget that this shop will be paying good money to the city for WATER, Sewer, ingress and egress maintenance (keeping the entrances and the CITIES part of the land clean, grass cut, etc). Of course, there’s Electricity, I’m sure lighting up a store like that would include outside lighting for security and aren’t those tied to the City’s STREET LIGHT Grid? So isn’t that MORE money for the city? I’m sure there are plenty of other costs I don’t know about – as I’m sure there’s something to be paid out by the pawn shop every time they turn around! But that money paid is more money going back into the community– and money can’t trickle down if you dam up the stream.
    3. OH – and if they are SO WORRIED about a full time detective, why can’t the city have the super store help pay or defray some of the costs for one of those programs that allows for Electronic Reporting to the local police (so that city/sheriff have it) and to be fair, they should make the other mom and pops USE the same system AND help to PAY for (and maintain it) by paying the CITY for a license to use it! Talk about a win-win for the police as they are undermanned and overworked as it is! So that cuts down on TOTAL MANPOWER spent by the City for entering Pawn tickets and descriptions into a database – as I’m sure Mom and POP stores are probably HAND-WRITING TICKETS so that “the police pick them up on the cities gas dime or waste a TON of paper by having ALL tickets on buys and pawns from every store FAXED over to the police AND the sheriff – (more paper, more man hours, more time wasted) so that the pawned/bought items are somehow entered into some system (other than a huge stack of paper) which I’m sure in many cases isn’t even put someplace where it can be accessed – as most municipalities don’t have the time or the manpower to do all the DATA ENTRY! So with no Electronic reporting how do you catch a “theft ring” that steals from 4-5 counties surrounding city and then going to as many shops as they can and pawning those stolen items – how are the police going to keep up with THAT! They Can’t! TECHNOLOGY has gotten so good and it’s getting cheaper all the time! If FACEBOOK has facial recognition software – how costly can it be? I’m sure the technology has gotten to be more affordable – so SUPER PAWN SHOP will have CCTV or some type of video security and that “could” be put into Facial recognition SW if needed. So why NOT use that technology for the BETTERMENT of society (not to breach privacy rights, but to catch thieves). I can assure you that malls and other places are using this technology (and I’m TOTALLY against that) but nobody really ever hears much less knows about that – but it’s being done! And the places that use this type of SW the MOST are grocery stores – as more money is spent on groceries – as we all have to eat! So the companies that provide goods to these groceries stores want to KNOW what your shopping habits are so they can make more money by placing their products in the store where they’ll sell MORE – and then they even MORE money by SELLING that info to marketing companies! And nobody says a word about that! So why not put up a HUGE SIGN at the front of the pawn shop that we use CCTV and FACIAL RECOGNITION SW could be USED– so do NOT bring in stolen items unless you want to get caught! AS preventing crime is a LEGITIMATE public interest to protect as well as using CCTV for safety issues vs. these malls or grocery stores that are DATA MINING and making MONEY off peoples private shopping habits when they are visiting these places of business!
    4. Further the mom and pops that are hand writing tickets are MORE LIKELY to pawn/buy stolen items since they are not tied to any central database. Therefore hot items are already sold or gold is melted down (try to identity grandma rings now!) before the POLICE have even had a chance to even coordinate with OTHER COUNTIES or across state lines to try to FIND these stolen items? And the police won’t be able to arrest anyone if they don’t KNOW what items have been stolen by having access to a central database? And WHAT PART of when a Pawnshop says: “WE LOSE MONEY IF WE BUY HOT STUFF” do these city officials NOT GET? And I know that a pawn shop could slip up and buy a couple of items that ARE STOLEN – everybody makes mistakes, especially when they are busy. But a sophisticated shop can smell a hot item before it hits the door, but these thieves are (usually) smart enough to NOT try to sell their hot items all at one PLACE *(or at larger stores with heavy security, CCTV’s, etc. They will hit the small shops sell one item here, one there, etc so as to avoid suspicion.
    5. And the SUPER SHOP will have to REPORT to the police EVERY TRANSACTION, and will be heavily regulated! This is creating more jobs and more fees! And pawnshops WANT to help the police – in fact they support them as they need them to help mind their businesses after hours of even during the day (I’m sure a super pawn would donate MORE to the police and fireman’s funds than any mom and pop’s combined). And as stated before, a more sophisticated operation can smell a hot buy before it walks in the door – you can tell by the people driving up – what type of care they are in and what they pull out of their car to sell (an old junk car comes up and the person pulls out a NEW TV?) C’mon do you think a seasoned pawnbroker is going to just BUY that?? I Doubt it! But mom and pop are MORE LIKELY to buy that – as they are struggling in this economy and can’t turn down a great deal – especially when they KNOW they are hand writing tickets so the chances of getting caught (*wittingly or unwittingly acting as a fence) are diminished greatly thus creating incentive for smaller shops to CHEAT! And I’m not saying ANY pawn shop – large or small is doing that – I’m just saying that smaller shops that are hand writing tickets are a bigger target for the sophisticated thieves!
    6. What other revenues are spread around when a new business opens? Insurance: premises liability to a local insurance company, Workman’s comp, Insurance for inventory, fire, loss of business income, flood, fire, property/casualty, key-man insurance, and MORE! But that’s MORE income to the insurance companies, the underwriters, the sales people the support staff, etc, etc.
    7. What about other jobs that are created – such as Private Security guards – a shop that size – may need to hire off-duty cops (or older guys that need a job) to police the place at night – *(more money for off-duty cops that are underpaid as it is or for Retired Policeman that need an extra source of income!)
    8. OH and let’s not forget about CREATING JOBS at the Pawn Shop! Not to mention all of the people that will make money as listed above, – but the shop will need Employees and plenty of them which is even MORE JOBS and isn’t that what we need in this economy?
    9. And the city says this super pawnshop is going to put the smaller mom and pops out of business? Again, nobody said anything as Wal-Mart slowly moved across America basically killing small town businesses in the process. And what happened to FREE Enterprise – and why don’t the mom and pops endure the same type of scrutiny as a BIG SHOP?

    I see this new super shop as a small step or small part of helping to rebuild our economy – and yet the City is shooting down a whole other source of different ways to HELP the city to improve totally so they are SORELY mistaken about the New Crime Wave that will ensue – in fact, if more shops and business don’t continue to open and more jobs are NOT created – then more and more people will be FORCED into having commit petty crimes just to try and LIVE!

    But what do I know?

  2. Jerry Whitehead

    14. Jul, 2011

    Great commentary ButterMilk, but hey, what do I know is right!!