• Name: Pawn Depot
• Location: 3646 Brainerd Road
• Products/services: The store sells “anything you can imagine,” with an ever-changing selection, said co-owner Duane Goff. The pawnshop specializes in electronics, music equipment, guns and ammunition. It uses a national database to check prices on items to be pawned, and can perform telephone evaluations.
• Age: Three months
• Startup investment: $250,000
• Anticipated annual sales: $250,000
• Target market: Ideal customers need a short-term cash loan that is guaranteed by some sort of tangible item that will have value to other customers.
• Biggest hurdle: “Regulations are pretty tough,” said fellow owner Samuel Keys. The cost of capital is also high, as is the competition against nearby pawnshops owned by chains, he said.
• Biggest reward: “Obviously, we like to see people be able to pay their utility bill,” Goff said.
• Challenges in the future: The owners fear that gun regulations could be tightening, increasing the already hefty stack of paperwork they constantly face.
• Lesson learned: “We wish we had checked the sign regulations in Hamilton County,” joked Goff, gesturing to his “now open” sign that he was forced to move away from the street.
• Five-year goal: Goff would like to see the store grow into a place of business that customers think of as their local solution, as opposed to chain stores. The shop has the ability to double its space if business picks up.
• Contact: 933-3693
— Compiled by staff writer Ellis Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6315
Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...