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Behind the scenes at a pawn shop

Both new and used items are sold at Greenbacks Pawn Shop. Photo by Evan Doherty, QNet News

By Evan Doherty [1]

BELLEVILLE – Matilda Aide has heard the misconceptions about pawn shops.

“I guess that (people think) we don’t have new stuff; that they think that’s it’s all used and not very good quality. We pride ourselves on having good new quality stuff. We get stuff from suppliers. Sometimes people think of as more of a pawn shop than as a retail store,” said the marketing and sales co-ordinator for Greenbacks Pawn Shop.

Greenbacks Pawn Shop [2] opened its first location in Belleville in 2001.

Pawn shops are places where people can buy, sell and pawn items off for a loan, but there are some misconceptions around what they’re all about.

Walk into a pawn shop, and chances are you can find anything from movies and jewellery to cell phones and video games. The walls could be are lined with guitars and the shelves are lined with almost anything you can think of. There are people from all walks of life coming for a visit whether they be buying, selling or pawning, they are coming in just like any other shop.

Aide said that the owner of the shop usually goes to conferences and meetings. She said that their stuff comes from all over.

“He (the owner) meets people and goes get connections. goes to events, corporate meetings and conferences, makes connections and then they buy from all over the states and Canada, ship it here and we also ship out,” she said.

Greenbacks Pawn Shop has a location in Belleville and another one in Cobourg. Photo by Evan Doherty, QNet News

She explained that there are some differences between pawning and selling that people often overlook. She talked a bit about how the process of selling to a pawn shop works.

“Someone comes in with their item and takes it to the counter. We have our employees assess it and then we tell them how much we’d buy from them for. Then we make up a file for them,” she said.

She said it works differently if people pawning their items for a loan.

“If it’s loan we give them a piece of paper that shows much it is to buy it back. They would come back within 30 days and pay the price to buy it back at a 30% interest rate,” she said.

Another pawn shop in the area is Bill’s Buy and Sell [3].  It’s owned and run by William Bill.

He said pricing at his store is partially based off of how much items are being sold online.

“It’s just general knowledge. Just go online on Amazon [4] or eBay [5] and find out the price on something. If it’s being sold for 100 online, you could lend them 50 dollars for the item,” Bill said.

He explained that some items sell better at different times. He said that what’s popular changes over time and makes a difference when it comes to what’s brought into the shop.

Bill’s Buy and Sell is locally owned and operated. Photo by Evan Doherty, QNet News

“You’ll have some weeks where everybody will come in for Xbox One games. Sometimes they will come in for PS4 games. Other weeks they want that at all and they all go for DVDs or something else. You just don’t know,” he said.

Bill also said that more pawning happens after Christmas. He said it’s mainly because the money people spend on gifts.

“We tend to have more sales this time of the year after Christmas. We tend to have more pawns. People spend all their money at Christmas and they need money to help them get through that,” he said.