Southwest Floridians turning to pawn to make ends meet

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Paul Dolan
People are turning to pawn shops for financial help. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Business is booming at pawn shops because people are selling valuables to pay their bills given the price of gas, food, and rent.

“Sadly, with the economy and everything in the uptick, fuel prices, inflation, and everything,” Jose Leyva said. “Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of new faces, we’ve seen a transition.” Leyva works at Larry’s Estate Jewelry and Pawn in Fort Myers.

Working in the business for more than 20 years he explained it’s been tough for his customers the last six months or so.

“It hurts, it hurts sometimes, because you hear some of the stories and, and it touches your heart,” Leyva said. The way the business used to work was people coming in looking for a rare treasure. Now, people arrive hoping to sell and too often take what they can get to make ends meet by any means.

“You want to help everybody, but there are times that we just can’t help everybody,” Leyva said. “So, we help who we can.”

James Boyes, a disabled veteran hoped for the best after going through all of his tools. “I know a lot of people are bringing in merchandise they normally wouldn’t sell or pawn,” Boyes said. “In my case, I have no need for my power tools anymore.”

Popular items to sell at Larry’s Estate Jewelry and Pawn are jewelry, guns, and electronics.

Torrence Robinson got a lot less for his amazon tablet than he was hoping for. “He didn’t give me like 100 bucks,” Robinson said. “But he gave me enough for me to go do what I got to do.”

Lots of people are also asking pawn shops for collateral loans. Larry’s Estate Jewelry and Pawn said they’re helping as much as they can. But, they can’t give everyone what they want because they’re in business to make money.

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