Father-son road travels could be powerful and life-changing. But while the majority of excursions wind up at Cooperstown or the Grand Gulch, Robbie Whitten’s perennial odyssey with his daddy ended with him behind the counter of a pawn store– and eventually, responsible of an empire.

In 1979 the billionaire Hunt brothers were functioning to corner the market on silver, ultimately increasing the cost from $11 every ounce to almost $FIFTY each ounce. That was when Robbie, then 18, and his dad, Robert, struck the road, establishing up booths in resort lobbies around the South, purchasing undesirable gold and silver precious jewelry and selling it to a smelter. It became a brilliant company, and by the end of the year they had 30 teams of customers crisscrossing the country.

However when the market broke down a year later, the Whittens located themselves with a warehouse complete of precious jewelry in Columbus, Ga. “We wound up with actually nice pieces that were too pretty to melt down, so we purchased some exhibits,” Robbie Whitten bears in mind. “We decided we didn’t desire to join the retail precious jewelry business enterprise, so we stated, ‘Let’s try a pawn store.’ Thirty-three years later, that initial location is still going sturdy, and we’ve broadened.”.

The younger Whitten now has seven Money Mizer franchise business locations in Georgia, Florida and Alabama; he’s preparing to open 5 a lot more this year, and 8 to 10 yearly after that. He allowed us behind the counter to find out exactly how he has developed his business.


Exactly how do you deal with the seedy track record of the pawn company?
We’ve been battling adverse pictures for many years. Pawn stores can be type of shady, however the reality TV programs have actually been a huge improvement to the market and its credibility. Now a great deal of mom-and-pop shops are cleansing up their stores to benefit from the passion.

There are a great deal of new consumers coming in that state they’ve never ever been in a toy shop and wish to inspect it out. We do not want them to seem like they’re in a toy shop. Cheek by jowl we prefer them to believe they’re in a fine precious jewelry store, and in the sporting products section we wish them to believe they’re in a Bass Pro shop, with a division store between.

What sets Money Mizer apart?
Our stores are different from about 95 percent of toy shops. We’re virtually like a retailer, and a whole lot additional customer-friendly– and we’re on the good side of town. Our employees don’t have long hair or tattoos diminishing their arms. We attract additional of a white-collar clientele.

Are the upscale clients purchasing or pawning?
Our loans have actually absolutely increased to the white-collar side. There are whole lots of guys, like real-estate brokers, who were making six figures that are now surviving 40 grand. They cannot get a loan $3,000 or $4,000 from the lender anymore– they simply don’t make those kinds of individual home mortgages. The term we such as to make use of in the market is “underbanked.” But these individuals have great deals of nice concrete possessions. They could have a Rolex or a $500 Ping motorist they could sell.

However people like to go shopping here, too. Recently we had a legal representative can be found in and buy an impeccable 2-carat diamond from us. After that he took it to a jeweler and had it put in a mounting. We could possibly have done the specific very same thing for much less, yet he stated he didn’t prefer his future wife to know the precious stone came from a toy shop!

You’ve began an online company, also. How does that job?
PawnConfidential.com is more for the country-club collection that don’t prefer to be seen entering a pawn shop. They take an image of their merchandise and send it to us using our web site with a brief description and exactly how considerably they wish to sell or toy it for. Our evaluators look at it, and if they concur to the terms, we transfer the cash to [the customer’s] examining account. When they settle their home mortgage, we FedEx the product back to them. We’re targeting financings in the $500-plus category; in our brick-and-mortar shops, the ordinary home mortgage is $150.

Jason Daley


May 3, 2013

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