Bad Economy Good For Pawn Shops, Bargain Hunters

By Don Culpepper - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - After 27 years in the pawn shop business, Sykes Haney knows a sign of tough times when he sees it.

"Things are slower. People are needing money though and they're pawning a lot of stuff," Haney said.

The overcrowded shelves at Haney's Pawn Shop tell him construction in South Mississippi has slowed dramatically.

"Tools of all kinds. Sheet rocking tools, your carpenter tools, grinders, saws. That seems to be the slowest right now, which we thought would be the busiest."

The merchandise coming through the door at Edgewater Pawn in Biloxi tells a different story.

"Jewelry, guns, gold, anything," said owner Mary Eaves. "My loans have gone up tremendously. The worse the economy is, people turn to our type of business more, because it's like a small bank. You can't take your ring to the bank and borrow $200 to $500 dollars, or whatever. And we have people from all social and economic levels do business with us."

However, both of these owners say not everyone is selling. Bargain hunters are also buying.

"People and also saving a lot of money buying from a pawn shop, because the jewelry sells for approximately half than you can get at any jewelry store," Eaves said.

"Oh, you take a circular saw. So it's been used. It's been pre-tested, so we say," Haney said.

And they agree that like their businesses, the economy will bounce back for their customers as well.

"I've seen it all. We will rebound," Eaves said. "We've been through it before. We're all going to make it."

Both pawn shop owners say a significant number of their customers are pawning items just to buy gas.