WEST COVINA – Mention the pawnshop and most people envision a negative experience.
For many, it’s a last resort, a place to get their hands on some quick cash. What about the money? It is often used for the essentials – paying for a car, rent, or just putting food on the table.
There is no doubt that most of the people who visit these companies suffer financially.
But Armen Galstian, owner of the Goodfellas Pawn Shop at 1203 S. Glendora Ave. in West Covina, has a more optimistic outlook.
“We are really like a small bank,” he said. “We can give you a loan when no one else will, and it’s not based on your credit. Here, we do not say no.
Pawn shops have long been a financial haven for those living on the edge. But in the wake of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, a growing number of middle-class Americans are also returning valuables and other items for quick cash.
Some have lost their jobs or seen their hours cut, while others may face spiraling medical expenses or some other unforeseen financial calamity.
Galstian says his business has grown 20% since the US economy turned south. But for most clients, he said, the result is not as dire as you might think.
When someone brings an item to Goodfellas, the store will provide them with a loan worth up to 50% of the item’s value. The client then has four months – plus a 10-day grace period – to repay the loan, with interest. Then they can get their property back.
“90% of my clients end up getting their business back or renewing the loan where we can extend it for another four months,” Galstian said. “We had a lot of professionals who came here. A lady is a nurse who earned $ 35 an hour.
When it comes to tough times, the US economy doesn’t discriminate. The back room of the Goodfellas bears silent testimony to this.
Guitars, big-screen TVs, tools, electronics, and dozens of other merchandise are neatly stacked on the back shelves of the store.
Up front, the store features a variety of pledged items that customers have refused to collect, including Fender Stratocaster guitars, guitar amplifiers, tools, watches, jewelry, DVDs, binoculars, laptops, accordions, iPods and digital cameras.
Goodfellas is a family business that has occupied its current location for 15 years. The company strives to provide top notch service. And judging by customer reviews online, they do.
“Very happy with this pawnshop,” wrote Jessica H. de La Puente in her online Yelp review. “I’ve always had a bad taste in my mouth with places like this, but Armen made me feel more comfortable. All the staff are amazing and so nice! ”
Diamond Bar customer Kay C. was also happy with Goodfellas.
“This pawnshop has been my choice whenever I am in financial difficulty and need a short term loan.” she said. “They give you a reasonable amount for the item you bring in and the process is quick and easy.”
Goodfellas is located at 1203 S. Glendora Ave. at West Covina. You can reach them at 626-918-3020.
Contact Kevin by email, by phone at 626-962-8811, ext. 2701, or on Twitter @sgvnbiz.