LOS ANGELES TIMES - Pawn Shops cashing in
via the Los Angeles Times
The stores are seeing a rise in customers as more financially strapped people seek quick loans.
By David Pierson
December 25, 2008 in print edition C-1
Not far away on Santa Monica Boulevard is Beverly Loan Co. – a pawnshop the same way a Bugatti Veyron is a car.
The 70-year-old business, on the third floor of an office building that makes it look more like a doctor’s office, was born out of the Great Depression and is experiencing growth with this recession.
“This is probably the closest thing we’ve seen to that time,” said Chief Executive Jordan Tabach-Bank, whose grandfather, Louis Zimmelman, founded Beverly Loan. “Between the 1930s and today, we’ve experienced several cycles but nothing as dramatic as now.”
By that, Tabach-Bank was referring to the number of white-collar clients who have been coming through his bulletproof-glass door and the percentage of customers who fail to reclaim their valuables, which has jumped from about 3% in more sturdy times to about 7% today.
This week, a business owner whose line of credit had been frozen by his bank needed to make his payroll and did so by pawning fine watches.
“Rolexes, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Panerai,” Tabach-Bank said. The loan was “over $100,000.”
The company deals mostly in luxury timepieces and jewelry but there is also artwork by Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali. There are ivory horses in the main showroom pawned by an African princess, Tabach-Bank said.
In the last year, real estate brokers have been appearing more while waiting for escrow to close. One showed up with diamond studs.
“We get a lot of laid-off people,” Tabach-Bank, 30, said. “Stock portfolios are at an all-time low. Ordinarily, they’d sell stock and do their Christmas shopping. Not now.”
“This is an edited excerpt of “Pawnshops Cashing In” by David Pierson”
This entry was posted on Thursday, December 25th, 2008 at 10:58 am
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