Los Lunas pawn shop aims to be the ‘best little pawn shop around’
Jeremy and Margaret Shawver have a simple goal for their new business enterprise.
“We aspire to be the best little pawn shop around,” Jeremy says.
They opened their store, Guns & Gold Pawn, about two months ago at 3476 N.M. 47 in Los Lunas in a building that in the past has housed, among other things, a pawn shop – and there’s a story there.
“A little over a year ago,” said Jeremy, “we began exploring a new business model. Lending with collateral seemed to be a business that did well in this economic climate,” so he and his wife settled on the pawn shop idea.
“We felt there was a need in the county for a service like this,” said Margaret.
Once the decision was made, they began to hunt for a location.
“Actually, we met the guy who owns this building at a Sheryl Crow concert,” said Jeremy. “We got to talking and found out he has pawn shops in Bernalillo and Albuquerque and used to have the pawn shop here for something like 16 years.”
The Los Lunas pawn shop closed not because of bad business, the owner told him, but because he couldn’t find reliable help to run it.
Shawver said that in addition to renting him the building, the man gave him a lot of advice about the business.
The couple remodeled the interior and built a separate raised open room with an Old West design for the gun area.
“All the wood in the gun area is from an old barn in Bosque,” he said.
Besides its namesake guns and gold purchasing, Shawver also handles electronics, jewelry, tools and musical instruments on a sale or pawn basis, but he won’t take just anything.
“It has to be in good shape and has to work well,” he said, “and it has to be something someone would want. For instance, in TVs I won’t take anything other than a flat screen.
“We’re pretty picky. We don’t want a junk store.”
The Shawvers are also bringing high-tech to the pawn shop business.
“My wife is running the Internet part of the business,” Shawver said. “She’ll be putting a lot of our items on a website and maybe other places.”
He said the couple “bought the best inventory software available” and catalogs every item and transaction. Most items are tagged with a computer-generated price sticker that includes a barcode.
Shawver said he’s doing everything he can to make sure that merchandise he buys or takes in pawn is legitimate and legal.
“We’re real straight with our customers,” he said. “We require a driver’s license or some sort of picture ID with every deal. We’ve got a lot of security cameras around the place, and we send a weekly report to the police department.
“We work real close with the Los Lunas Police Department. Everything we buy we hold 14 days by agreement with the police.”
With no previous experience in the business, Shawver said there have been a few rough spots.
“The largest learning curve has been the jewelry and musical equipment,” he said. “The hardest thing so far has been finding out what people are really looking for.”
One thing he enjoys the most is the bargaining and bartering that are part of the nature of the business.
“One of the most interesting things to me is that we buy, sell and trade,” Shawver said. “I really enjoy the haggling and bartering. I think it’s neat that someone can come in here with a guitar and a ring and can walk out with a gun.
He said he has had “really good response” since opening about the first of April, and that the store is typically busy from early to mid-morning and from mid-afternoon on.
“It gets really busy in here at times,” Shawver said. “I guess that’s good, huh?”
Guns & Gold Pawn is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The phone number is 505-565-2958.
Contact Dana Bowley