In The Beginning…

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The first step to open a pawn business was to find out the rules to play by.  In that I mean what the Federal, State & City laws were and how they applied to me.  The Federal laws are those that keep a person from laundering money, and supporting terrorist organizations.  The state laws give you guidance to the maximum amount of interest your business can charge per month and any additional fees that may be allowed.  In the case of Kansas it is 10% with no other fees allowed. That brings us to the city. Arkansas City, KS is the entity that provides the actual license to pawn within the city limits.  Since my buildings are located at 104 S Summit, Arkansas City, KS then it is my duty to get a license from them and follow the rules. I pulled my first license in 2011 and my license number was 2.  Yes, Arkansas City had one other pawn shop.  their license number being 1.

So began a journey that I wish I had started from the beginning of opening Double Eagle Firearms in 2008.  The next step was to order my paper tickets to write loans on.  At this juncture the Ark City Police Dept was the source of the required info.  The ACPD provided me a copy of what would be required on these paper tickets and the local printer already had the template, just had to add the business name. Being naive, I order 500 tickets, at that time I was thinking of only loaning on firearms and figured a town of 12,000 souls that would last for at least a couple years.  500 duplicate pawn tickets cost $63.00 and would take about a week to deliver.  The next step was to start loaning out money.  I decided I could take $500 from the cash drawer and loan that out. BOOM I was in the loan business, or so I thought.

My very first loan was to Chuck, a newly licensed fellow gun dealer needing to increase his inventory. He was just starting out in the firearms business and had often came into the store to ask questions or just say hi.  Chuck had an AR-15, as I recall, that he pawned for $300. You would think that $300 would not help much, but at the time a dealer could buy a 91/30 Mosin Nagant for $65.00 and sell them for $115.00 all day long.  He left happy and I was scared because I only had $200 left to loan out.

Not to worry, I did not make another loan for over 4 months.  I was not working the business properly.  I did not have clear goals and still thought of my store as a gunshop instead of a pawn shop.  And Chuck never made a single payment on that AR-15.  The AR-15 became our property and we put it out on the rack to sell.  Luckily, the AR market was hot at this time, you could not keep them on the shelves and it sold the next day.  Now I had around $750 to loan out.  Guess what I did next?  Yep, went to Ebay and purchased a neon sign for $250 that said “PAWN” nothing else just pawn. I put it into my front window, plugged it in and have never turned it off since. That sign was the object that made it start to work.  My regular customers that bought firearms and ammo came in and asked if it was a joke, but new people came in wanting to borrow money.  It was working. I wrote 3 loans that day, and had loaned out about $100, and none of them were guns.  I had already broken my own rule.

Fast forward 9 months of writing loans on paper tickets, and the inherent problem of finding the ticket you want to record a payment, or the person that the police want more information about. Having to remember to reorder more books.  It is a mess of little 4″ X 9″ books stacked up everywhere in unorganized chaos.  It irritated me and irritated my loan customers.  The decision was made to buy pawn software… OH MY!

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