News & Resources

Television shows prompt better image, higher traffic for pawn shops

Oct 27, 2012 Quinn Thomas

For the past few years, many consumers have been keeping up with television shows that revolve around the true nature of short term lenders. Programs like "Hardcore Pawn" and "Pawn Stars" have popularized the industry, turning a once scoffed-at sector into a popular place for people to obtain a loan or shop for offbeat items. Brokers have producers and reality television stars to thank for much of this growth. Not only have the shops in which the shows take place seen increased popularity, but many within the whole industry have noted heightened interest. What was once thought of as a shady practice is becoming much more mainstream.  Better reputation
According to the Bismarck Tribune, reality TV offerings have done a lot to help boost the reputation of the sector to something positive. The programs, mixed with the dismal economic landscape that has put many people in a tough spot during the last few years, have led to more individuals becoming interested in the services of brokers. "I think it really has opened people's eyes," broker Gerald Couture told the newspaper. "Now, I have a lot of different people bringing really interesting things." Couture explained that some sellers are approaching his employees with rare and unusual items with more frequency, as they are getting a better idea of what their merchandise is worth because of the shows. Like some of the shops on the programs, many brokers have experts they go to for accurate price estimates.  However, the broker noted, just because many people are increasingly interested in seeing what the industry has to offer, owners still need to make sure they strike up personal relationships with borrowers and buyers to ensure success and propagate the good image. Increasing revenue
Many experts believe that the success of the shows has directly translated to higher income within individual shops. "There's no question it has increased the number of people going to pawn shops," Richard Feinberg, consumer science and retailing professor at Purdue University, told the South Bend Tribune. "The industry itself could not have asked for anything better." As wide exposure makes it more socially acceptable to frequent pawn shops, many brokers are also seeing more sales by offering other loan options. For instance, Couture's pawn shop also allows individuals to take out short term loans from the storefront  and was the first short term lender in North Dakota, according to the Tribune.