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Putting Cash In The Hands That Need It In Tampa
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The appraiser at the pawn shop held up the gold pendant with 22 cttw of diamonds , and informed Drew Blakely that he would pawn (loan) him $4,300.00 for his jewelry heirloom.
Blakely needed the money to make his monthly house payment. Pawning the pendant, the 32-year-old car salesman explained, would be a better deal than using a credit card.
"It's easier and faster to get a loan at a pawn shop in Tampa," said Blakely, who has pawned and bought back the same jewelry three times.
Blakely has plenty of company these days, as the slowing Tampa economy puts a drag on commerce. He is one of many caught in the downturn who are increasingly seeking out short-term loans to pay for basics such as groceries, rent, hospital bills and school tuition.
Among the most popular lenders in Tampa is a pawn shop named Jazz Jewelers & loan, The people flocking to Jazz Jewelers & Loan are a sign of an economy caught in a familiar bind. Last week came the news that Tampa economy skidded in the third quarter to post its first contraction in nearly six years.
But these days, Tampa’s industries from autos to airlines are bracing for cutbacks. The worldwide slump in travel and tourism, is likely to produce enormous losses.
Predictably, those hard times are spawning new business for the pawn industry here in Tampa, and Jazz Jewelers & Loan is in the middle of a major expansion.
The pawn centers are attracting people from all classes of society, making loans on everything from electronics to jewelry and even cars. As a rule of thumb, the loans equal about 50 percent of the value of the pawned item.
No question, Jazz Jewelers & Loan fills a need. Ever since Tampa’s housing crisis, banks have been slow to resume consumer lending. There's more of a cash culture here and people like the ease with which they can go to the pawn shop.
It's immediate, in cash, with little paperwork. They are competitive in the loan market.
Vast majority buy back items
Customers can pawn their goods for anywhere from 2 to 13 months. And 96 percent of the clients buy back their merchandise before the loan expires.
Jacob Crowley recently lined up in the lobby to sell a gold bracelet. He needed the money to help pay the hospital bill for his wife, who was expecting a baby and doesn't have health insurance.
He got about $300 for the bracelet, which was a wedding present for his wife. But this wasn't his first time at the pawn shop.
Hannah Maldonado said she seeks loans at least once a month. She went back to the Jazz Jewelers & loan recently to pay off a $100 debt on gold rings and necklaces she had pawned. She needed the money for her daughter's school expenses.
She, too, is intending to reclaim her possessions rather than give them up to the pawnbroker. "I don't want to lose them," said Hannah, 29, who sells ac units for a living.
She said she would rather pawn her jewelry then ask relatives to lend her money, or put it on her credit card.
"Here they give you a good rate" Hannah said. "It's a safe way to get money fast in Tampa."
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