Pawn shops across the nation are experiencing an influx of customers since the pandemic started.
All Pawn in Solvang started seeing a major uptick in customers back in March.
It’s a surge unlike any other in their seven years of business.
Owner Clyde George says they’ve been deemed an essential business, so they haven’t had to close the doors.
“It's been, very busy here,” George said.
He loans money, buys items and trades.
Hand tools and musical instruments are flying off the shelves while DVDs are being bought by the box load.
“They just pile them up and they said for the COVID, you know, we're just going to watch movies,” George said.
He says they’ve also been inundated with people wanting survival gear, generators, knives and guns.
“We virtually sold out of our guns within three weeks and we've sold out probably two-thirds of our ammo,” George explained.
He says that business was especially non-stop with customers when stimulus checks started going out.
“Out of 100% of our pawns, we were down to 90% gone, because people just came down and redeemed and took all their stuff.”
Months later, they’re back up to almost 80% on their loans.
“We’re the guys you come to in an emergency. We're the guys if you want a loan, you’re in and out of the building in 15 minutes.”
The way it works is people come in with a collateral item. The shop then loans a percentage of that item’s value to the person.
“They have four months and 10 days to pay us back, plus interest or they can come back at the end of the four months and extend that loan by paying just the interest.”
Kathleen Eddleston pawned her gold St. Christopher medallion she had since she was a kid.
“I needed money,” she explained. “With everything going on, our work is really limited.”
She said she never thought she’d have to do that to make ends meet.
“You gotta do what you have to do to survive,” Eddleston said.
Meantime, with small businesses forced to close nationwide as a result of COVID, George is counting his lucky stars.
“We're extremely thankful that we were deemed essential. This business wouldn't be here if we hadn't been,” George concluded.
If you’re thinking of selling, the pawn shop says it’s looking for guns, ammo, jewelry, and coins.