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Pawn Shops Provide Alternative Shopping Opportunity During Holidays

Wayne Baker

Black Friday is known for crowded malls and long lines outside of big retail stores.  But with more people strapped for cash these days, pawn shops are becoming a holiday shopping destination.

It's not your parent's pawnshop anymore, according to Larry Beloff, the president of Max's Jewelers and Loan Company in Springfield. He says with new shows on reality TV, like Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn, these shops have taken on new appeal.

"Some people still have the attitude of the pawn shop that you see in the movies. The sleazy back street dealership and pawning stolen goods," Beloff states. "Today, that's not so. We are governed by state law, city law and now the federal government has put us under their federal banking laws."

Pawn shops are a way for people to use items as collateral to get small loans, it's also a place to buy inexpensive merchandise.

The National Pawnbrokers Association says there has been a significant increase in new pawn shops since 2007 when the recession began, and the number of pawn loans have up gone during that time period.

Beloff says with the holidays approaching, customers depend on pawn shops for better deals than they can find at other stores.

"The same amount of money you'd spend on two items at the mall you could buy four or five items here and still have some money left over to go have a nice dinner," he explains.

Beloff says he's expecting a large crowd on Black Friday, but it won't be quite as big as the end of the holiday season, when people are looking to sell unwanted gifts for cash.