Detroit pawn shop sees increased need for quick cash for 'survival'

Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 18:08:28-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — With hundreds of thousands of layoffs across the state due to COVID-19, some metro Detroiters are turning to pawn shops for quick cash.

Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders, pawn shops are considered essential. They administrator loans. So businesses like American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit are still open providing a financial service, they say, is badly needed.

"People are coming in because they need to go to the grocery store," Owner Les Gold tells 7 Action News, "So the people that are pawning their merchandise need the money. As a matter of fact, yesterday a woman came in needing $50 for her ring (and) thanking me because now she had money to go to the grocery store."

The owner of Hardcore Pawn Fame says he knows the woes struggling small businesses and individuals are living through.

"We've furloughed half of our employees," Gold said. "Ya know, we feel bad about that but because of the downturn in business you have to be understanding of how to run a business and still be profitable."

He added, "We're really trying to help the public and the people who need the money the most."

To do that, Gold says he's following social distancing guidelines. Signs telling people to stand at least 6 feet apart from each other are posted in numerous places. Workers are wearing masks, sanitizing surfaces, and no more than 14 customers are allowed in the store at a time.

He says the shop is actually less busy and fewer loans have been requested because people are doing fewer recreational activities, but Gold says the loans that are requested are out of need not want.

"And so what we're going to offer is for all new customers that come in that take a loan out with us we're going to give them the first month free of charge. No interest," Gold explained.

He added, "I see them struggling with this virus. It's a really bad thing, and I want make sure that my employees, my customers, my family are all safe."

Instead of a 90-day loan, Gold says he's going to extend that window another 30 days.