LAS VEGAS – Everything has a story and a price, as the famous “Pawn Stars” say.
That is especially true right now with the prices of gas, food and just about everything else on the rise.
But even so, pawn shops are regaining business as the COVID-19 pandemic seems to wind down.
Shop owner Rick Harrison, from the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” said he once had a guy try to sell a bag of human skulls.
While he has not seen that every day, he did say a lot of people have been coming in to buy. “People are spending a lot of money. I mean, there’s all this crazy inflation thing and all this money out there from all of the government just spending money like water.”
GROCERY SHOPPERS MAKING ‘DRAMATIC SHIFT’ AWAY FROM NATIONAL BRANDS AMID INFLATION, SUPERMARKET CHAIN SAYS
Harrison has run the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas since 1988.
“For four years, I pitched the reality show and people just kept telling me that no one wanted to watch a show about four fat guys in a pawn shop,” he joked.
His reality show premiered in 2009, during the recession. “It took a while to climb out of it, but it was slow and progressive.”
At the time, the pandemic and the government’s response to it were not affecting the economy, so Harrison said the recession in 2008 was a more naturally occurring situation.
His pawn shop and many others are now managing the ebb and flow of business during the pandemic.
“Pre-pandemic, I was averaging right around 3,000 customers a day. Then the pandemic happened, and in April 2020, at a $325,000 payroll and $48,000 in sales,” Harrison said, “I mean, it was a ghost town in here.”
Now, the country faces record-high inflation.
POWELL SAYS THERE IS NO GUARANTEE FED CAN TAMP DOWN INFLATION WITHOUT HURTING THE JOB MARKET
“A lot of the lower-end stuff people are looking to make a quick buck off, and things like that,” Harrison said. “With the higher-end stuff, it’s just, people see it as an investment.”
David Moreno recently went to Gold & Silver Pawn for the first time. He had sold a collection of comic books to another store in 2016 for $1,100.
“Now, I remember the comics that I had, and some of them I see now, they’re way more for one than the $1,100 I made on that one to sell,” Moreno said.
Collectible items are popular right now.
SAN DIEGO FOOD TRUCK CHEF SPENDS $2,000 ON GAS EACH MONTH
Harrison said baseball cards have been going for hundreds of thousands of dollars, when a few years ago, they would sell for around $20,000.
Mike Roland of Northern California is a frequent pawn shop buyer. He is in the market for vintage guitars, despite the higher prices.
“I don’t let it get me down. I keep on going,” Roland said.
The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop still does not have as many international visitors as before the pandemic.
“I won’t be caught shorthanded on cash again… so I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” Roland said. “Business is Darwinism. You keep on evolving or you die.”