The mystique of a pawn shop goes back to the time before there were banks, according to Maine Pawn & Jewelry owner Jonathan Burnham. “The pawn shop is actually the oldest form of banking we’ve ever had,” he said. It’s a secured loan with a piece of collateral that will be held on to for a period of time. When the time is up, usually a month, the person returns, pays back the loan plus interest and takes back his or her item. No credit check needed.
Burnham, a resident of Raymond, has been in business for 23 years. His shop is now located at 760 Roosevelt Trail in Windham.
More than just a place to get a loan, pawn shops are also a place to sell items outright or to purchase items at prices that rival any box store. When someone doesn’t return for their collateral, the item goes out on the floor for sale.
Maine Pawn & Jewelry has everything from flat screen TVs to rifles to video games and video game systems to movies and sporting equipment and electronics. Burnham has display cases with coins, gold, silver and platinum jewelry. He also has an assortment of diamond and other gem jewelry. And his inventory is always changing. Tools that are in the shop one day, might be gone the next. He is the only pawn shop that is a federally licensed firearms dealer in the area.
The shop also has a large selection of guitars and other musical instruments to choose from.
Burnham said that he has customers who shop knowing they can get great deals on jewelry, others need a little cash to get through to the next paycheck.
“Everybody gets in a pinch for money. Pawn shop is sort of a barometer for the state of the economy. If they need money right now, they can walk out with money right now,” he said.
Pawn shops have become more popular in recent years thanks to reality shows like Pawn Stars.
Burnham looks for items that he’d be proud to put on his shelf. He doesn’t take furs or broken electronics and is looking to buy gold. Hours are Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday by appointment. When pawning items the person must be over 18 years old and be the legal owner of the item. There are no refunds and no checks accepted.
For more about the shop, visit www.mainepawn.com