An Afternoon With A Pawnbroker

Pawnbrokers have one of the most interesting occupations on the planet. They consistently meet different people from different walks of life - every day is a surprise! 

Have you ever wondered what a pawnbroker does in a day? 

Someone took the time to learn about what a pawnbroker does in a day by pawning off some precious things. Read about what they learned here. 

Visiting GEM Pawnbrokers

A group of individuals visited the flagship store location of GEM Pawnbrokers, found at 230 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and spoke with Rachel Wilen, the president of the business since 1992. 

GEM Pawnbrokers was established in 1947 by the late Martin Kaminsky. 

The first location was on Third Avenue and Atlantic, opened by Martin. For the longest time, it was the only location available. 

Through the years, it has become one of the largest pawn shops in New York with the most locations, opening 24-hour branches as well. 

In 1975, Gem Financial Services, Inc. was established by the founder’s son, Mitchell. More than just a pawnshop, GEM has become a leader in financial services in the pawn industry that are equipped to provide its customers with financing programs. 

Today, GEM remains a family-owned business with Rachel Wilen, the founder's granddaughter, at the helm of the company. 

70 years have passed and GEM services New Yorkers with the best financial pawnshop services with over 130 people employed. 

Above all, they value excellence in service as the most trusted pawnshop in New York City. 

The benefits of pawnshops

Rachel Wilen tells us that many banks won't lend you money unless you have collateral assets and a pretty good credit score. 

Unfortunately, many New Yorkers are living paycheck to paycheck. Not everyone is qualified to get money at the bank - leaving pawnshops as a viable option. 

So instead of worrying about cash when their car gets unexpectedly towed or they have a medical emergency and need a few dollars to get by, they can use precious items like a credit card. 

Jewellery, vintage pieces, and electronics can all be used as a credit card. 

Even if you have bad credit, pawnshops won't question you at all. Credit checks aren't a problem as you only need one thing: you have to own the item. 

Besides getting the cash you urgently need, you can still take your item back after paying interest. In fact, 90% of our customers take their jewellery back! Once you get it back, you can even pawn the same item again! 

GEM Pawnbrokers are one of the cheapest places to borrow money in. Interest rates at GEM are 4% each month for up to 4 months. Compared to other states that charge 25% a month, GEM Pawnbrokers come up with the best finance plans. 

The scepticism behind pawnshops

Many aren't convinced by pawnshops and think that pawning off your item is equivalent to selling it or getting rid of it forever. 

In reality, pawning is us lending you money in exchange for an item of value. In other words, pawning equates to collateral loans. 

Pawnshops hold your items as collateral so you can get the cash you need, immediately. 

Your items are safe with us as we seal and package them to be placed into a bank vault. The item is still considered yours and we don't have the right to sell it until our contract ends. Although the law states that we should wait four months before considering the item ours, GEM Pawnbrokers value our clients and we give them seven to eight months to reclaim their items. 

Most of GEM Pawnbroker's business revolves around lending money, affirming that the items in our store don’t necessarily belong to us, they are items that people have sold or have forfeited. 

So upon browsing our stores, you'll find jewellery, sneakers, handbags, electronics such as Apple products and other things that can stand the test of time. 

Now that you understand how pawn shops work, there is no need to feel uneasy about coming into our stores and selling or pawning items off, especially when you work with GEM Pawnbrokers in New York City. 

Other services offered by pawnshops

Pawnshops also offer services that customers find convenient. Here are some of them:


The second primary source of income for pawnshops is retail sales. Meaning, if a client forfeits their item or someone directly sells us an item, this merchandise is now available to be bought by anyone who comes into our store. 

Auxiliary services

Pawn shops are also known to supplement their earnings through various auxiliary services that they charge fees for. 

For example, extra services might include check cashing, cell phone activation, Western Union, and other money transfer services along with bill payment services. 

There are even pawn shops that act as shipping locations for UPS and FedEx. 

Convenient for clients, right? 

What happens when the pawnshop closes?

Many worry about the state of their item when their local pawn shop closes down. 

Do you lose your item for good? Is there a way to get it back? 

The National Pawnbrokers Association ensures that your item is safe and sound even when the pawnshop closes as your items are stored in a location outside the pawnshop. 

So if your loan is still active, it would be best to keep making payments on it. 

If you're still worried about the ramifications of your local pawnshop closing down, be sure to find a pawnshop that has financial security - like GEM Pawnbrokers. With over 20 branches in New York City, it would take more than a pandemic to shut our doors to our clients, ensuring financial security for our clients and peace of mind. 

Speak to us at GEM Pawnbrokers today

Are you looking to pawn off an item? Are you in need of cash quickly? Or do you simply need to get rid of items you no longer need? 

If you said yes to any of these questions, give us a call today at GEM Pawnbrokers or visit one of our locations to transact with our reliable pawning services.