The normal stream of customers heading into EZ Pawn shops has slowed to a trickle.
“People assume that pawn shops thrive in times of desperation and that’s just not where we are right now,” said Lauren Kaminsky, President of EZ Pawn Corp.
Pawn shops were exempted from Governor Cuomo's order closing all non-essential businesses to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
EZ Pawn President Lauren Kaminsky says all 15 of her locations are staffed and open, but walk-in business is down dramatically.
Loans are the pawn industry’s bread and butter. And while foot traffic is slow, Kaminsky says traffic is brisk on EZ Pawn's new website and app. Online sales are now what’s keeping this family business afloat, and they’ve seen certain items sell better than others during the health crisis.
“Now they were stuck at home. Their kids had to be faced with home schooling and they needed a laptop immediately. They couldn’t have just one laptop they have three kids,” said Kaminsky.
Surprisingly, many customers are coming in to pay off their loans plus interest, which can range up to 20 percent, and reclaim the items they had used as collateral.
CEO Jordan Tabach-Bank says the same is true at New York Loan Company in Midtown. They offer loans on high end jewelry, luxury items and fine art.
“People are receiving PPP funding, EIDL Loans, severance packages, unemployment, stimulus checks and combined with all of this, combined with a lack of spending, people have a short term wealth, I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years,” said Jordan Tabach-Bank, CEO of New York Loan Company.
On the Board of Directors for the National Pawnbrokers Association, Tabach-Bank says it’s a trend they are seeing nationwide. That said, with so much of the future still uncertain, pawn brokers believe that the unprecedented economic impact of COVID-19, will bring their customers back and bring in new ones.
“The banks right now are making us look really good because I know people have struggled to get these stimulus checks and when you come to NY Loan Company you bring in your Patek, your Warhol, your GIA certified diamond and you literally walk out with cash in hand,” said Tabach-Bank.
The pawn brokers say they plan to remain open whenever New Yorkers need a little or a lot of cash.