Money Mizer Pawn & Jewelry opening this week at 2424 W. 23rdSt. in Panama City. CEO Robbie Whitten, who will open the shop, founded the company with his father about 30 years ago in Columbus, Ga. and due to demand is now expanding nationwide. This is the second Money Mizer in Florida (the first opened this week in Jacksonville) and the company expects to open 25 total stores throughout the state within the next three years.
Why, you ask, would someone consider opening a pawn shop these days?
According to a 2009 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., about 9 million households are unbanked and another 21 million are underbanked. As this population continues to grow, pawn shops have become a primary source for basic financial services such as loans and check cashing. As a result, sales are skyrocketing and chains are expanding. Furthermore, gold prices are steadily rising, which is good news for pawn shops that see much of their business from pawned jewelry.
Money Mizer, a growing chain of franchised pawn stores, offers a new spin on the traditional pawn shop, with an upscale store setting and advanced pawning options like PawnConfidential.com. The new website attracts more untraditional customers who are concerned about privacy and allows them to obtain a cash loan quickly and securely with complete discretion and without visiting a pawn shop. As a result of the struggling economy, the customer demographic of those who frequent pawn shops is shifting tremendously; now seeing an influx of white-collared Americans relying on their services.
Growing Pawn Shop Chain Opens Second Store in State, Plans 25 More Locations by 2015
(Panama City, Fla.)—As America’s unbanked and underbanked community continues to grow, pawn shops have become a primary source for financial services. According to the FDIC, 1 in 4 American households is considered unbanked or underbanked. Coming soon to Panama City to serve this expanding population is Money Mizer Pawn & Jewelry, a growing chain of franchised pawn stores that offers a unique blend of traditional financing services as well as an unmatched selection of quality retail products in a comfortable and appealing, upscale store setting. The store will open at 2424 W. 23rd St. in Panama City on August 8 and it will be one of 25 franchised locations planned for the state over the next three years.
“With so many Americans in need of basic financial services, pawn shops have become a reliable source for small loans and cashed checks,” says Robbie Whitten, president and CEO of Money Mizer. “Banks don’t service this sector of the population, it’s not worth their time, and we’re happy to offer some support and help meet the needs of people in the community.”
A pawn is another term for a collateral loan, primarily 30-day renewable loans. Pawnbrokers lend money on items of value ranging from gold and jewelry to electronics, musical instruments and almost anything imaginable. Loans are based on the value of the collateral. When a customer pays back the loan, their merchandise is returned or they may choose to surrender the collateral as payment in full. The average pawn loan is $125.
Many people today who depend on pawnbrokers to help them meet financial needs not offered through traditional means, are working families who use pawn loans to simply keep the electricity on, the rent paid and their gas tanks filled. The fast-growing, competitive pawn industry is governed by all of the major federal laws that apply to other financial institutions and is represented by the National Pawnbrokers Association.
The average median household income of people who pawn in Whitten’s stores ranges between $40,000 and $60,000 and is continuing to increase due to a number of factors related to the economy, including job losses, foreclosures and cost of living increases.
Technology has also played a large part in the growth of the pawn industry and will continue to do so in the future. As more untraditional customers tap pawn shops for loans, many are concerned about privacy. Earlier this year, Money Mizer launched PawnConfidential.com, an online resource that allows customers the opportunity to obtain a cash loan quickly and securely with complete discretion and without visiting a pawn shop.
“Although companies such as Money Mizer have helped to change the sometimes-negative connotation associated with pawn shops, technology helps cater to the non-traditional customers that rely on pawn services but are uncomfortable going into a shop,” says Whitten.
The new site provides short-term loans in exchange for collateral in the form of high-value items like jewelry, watches, precious metals, coin collections, cameras, fine art, antiques and collectibles. Valuables held as collateral during the loan repayment period are bar-coded and kept in a secured vault until the loan has been paid back. When the borrowed amount is paid in full, the items are promptly returned to the customer. Depending on the retail value of the item, loans range between $50 to $100,000 and no credit reporting or checking takes place.
About Money Mizer Pawn & Jewelry
Founded in 1980 by Robbie Whitten and his father Robert Whitten, Columbus, Ga. based Money Mizer has grown to four locations in Georgia and Alabama. The company has experienced tremendous growth and has loaned customers more than $26.4 million to date. Money Mizer launched a franchise program in 2009 and expects to open 150 locations by the end of 2015, primarily in cities with populations of at least 50,000, including college towns and military bases. For more information, please visit www.moneymizerfranchises.com.