Friday, April 29, 2011

Softcore Pawn Stars of Toronto

TV series ‘Pawn Stars’ in Las Vegas and ‘Hardcore Pawn’ from Detroit have shined the spotlight on the pawn business (buy, sell or use almost anything as collateral for a loan) in the States. From what I see they need margins of 40 to 60% to stay profitable and will only keep away from large items that would take up space for too long, otherwise anything seems to go. In Toronto we have a large group of pawn stores downtown in the Church Street/Queen Street East area. The few stores that I have been in are extremely crowded, dusty and, for some reason, nothing like what I see on television. They aren’t very busy either. As a photographer I check out the camera equipment and see that most of the stuff is old film cameras. Another time I checked for guitar cases but the few I found were not much cheaper than going out and buying something new.

One of the big stores is James McTamney & Company with their large green name on the Church Street building. McTamney’s say they are one of Canada’s oldest businesses and one of the world’s largest pawnbrokers. Next door is the H. Williams & Co with the large red, vertical Pawnbroker sign.

With the advent of online resellers like eBay, kijiji and Craigslist this probably isn’t the best market for selling used goods in a retail store front operation anymore. A lot of the loan business also would have gone to the abundant populations of payday loan outfits scattered everywhere. I think that they need to get Chumley on board and maybe the business north of the border may improve.

All that talk of hardcore and softcore reminds me of someone that long ago jokingly told me he was in the p*rn business. When I asked him what he did, he said he was a stunt dick. Now that was funny, when the action was too dangerous maybe a stunt dick would have to be called in to keep the star safe.

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