45: From Pawn Stores to Pawn Software with Steve Mack

September 19, 2018

No Comments

Yigal Adato: 00:01 Hey pawn family, welcome back to another episode of the Pawn Leaders Podcast. First of all, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to listen. And if you haven’t joined the Facebook group, join at Pawn Leaders Podcast Community on Facebook. Just search it and jump in, we talk about pawnbroking, we talking about life, leadership, hiring, firing, you name it. There’s tons of questions there. And on this next episode I have an awesome guest with me. I have Steve Mack who is a fourth generation pawnbroker and Harvard business school graduate. He has the vision of how technology can help the pawnbroker, reach their fullest potential and he grew his family’s single pawnshop to 50 stores and sold them and then founded Bravo. So, listen to the episode and thanks for joining us.


Yigal Adato: 00:53 Hey everyone, my name is Yigal Adato and this is the Pawn Leaders Podcast, a podcast that help you make more money, stress less, and live an epic life all while working at the pawn shop.


Yigal Adato: 01:17 Steve, welcome to the show.


Steve Mack: 01:19 Thank you for having me today.


Yigal Adato: 01:21 No, I’ve been trying to connect for a while. You’re a busy guy and I appreciate you being on and I can’t wait to have this conversation.


Steve Mack: 01:29 Well, I admired you and your brother and your family’s dedication to the pawn industry all these years. And so I feel honored to be on your podcast today.


Yigal Adato: 01:38 Thanks man. Thank you. Appreciate it. Steve, let’s go back from the beginning. Tell me about how you got into the pawn industry.


Steve Mack: 01:47 Well, 52 years ago, when I was eight years old I have officially went to work for my dad and he had a pawnshop in Reno, Nevada that he had started and it was sort of the place where if you wanted to see my dad, that’s where he was. And back and forth from the store as my mom also worked in the store. We would go down to the store in evenings and mornings and Sundays and I would just find myself really amused and curious about the people that would come in and all of the items that were hidden away and all these different places and parts of the store. So, as curiosity, as a small child, I just liked being there, felt comfortable.


Yigal Adato: 02:42 So, are you second generation?


Steve Mack: 02:44 So, I’m the fourth generation.


Yigal Adato: 02:46 Oh Wow.


Steve Mack: 02:47 Yeah. And so my great grandfather started his pawn shop in Seattle, Washington. His son, open a store in Oakland, California. My Dad started his store in Reno and I went into business with my dad. Yeah.


Yigal Adato: 03:02 Nice. So, fourth generation pawnbroker, started at eight years old coming into the shop then I’m going to guess, you went to school, you probably worked there in the summers here and there. You went off to college, right? What did you study?


Steve Mack: 03:16 I studied systems and accounting, got a degree there and then later I’m got a postgraduate degree from Harvard and owners presidents and management degree.


Yigal Adato: 03:26 Nice. So, you graduated at Harvard and was a plan to always kind of come back to work with your father or was it to go out there and do something else?


Steve Mack: 03:35 So, I worked consistently every single summer all the way through high school. [Inaudible] summer during my freshman year in college, went back to work and worked in there. But my intention was to become a lawyer and became a tax attorney. I soon found out though, the day after I graduated college working for an accounting for only one day that my heart wasn’t there and I spoke to the managing partner of [Incomprehensible] accounting firm and we had a quick conversation, basically convinced me to go back and pursue my dreams. So, I called my dad up that afternoon I was in Phoenix, Arizona and said, would you be interested in me coming to work? And it was a surprise to him and a surprise to me and he was thrilled at the news and that’s where it started.


Yigal Adato: 04:36 Nice. So, how was working with your father? I worked with my dad in the pawnshop for awhile, working with family could be hit or miss. How was your relationship while you were working at the shop?


Steve Mack: 04:49 He was generally hands off and my mom also worked in the store and her and I were more aligned in our communications and my dad and I, we would have, mostly very productive conversations. But there were also times very difficult family orientations happening and differences of opinion that became much more animated and personal but we stuck it out for 13 years. And my dad, through the course and through the evolution and the growth of what that single store was when I came to join him. And then finally, after 13 years, I eventually organized a purchase of his side of the business. And that’s when I had 13 stores at the time. It was an amazing experience. We remained very, very close still today. And I would say that you couldn’t ask for a better, I think a better transition for a family business.


Yigal Adato: 06:06 So, the 13 years that you were there, you guys grew the shops from 1 to 13 stores?


Steve Mack: 06:12 Yes.


Yigal Adato: 06:13 Nice. So, what caused kind of like the shift to the growth? You guys had the one shop for awhile and then did you come in and say, okay, Dad it’s time to grow this thing. I want more, I want bigger. Is that what happened?


Steve Mack: 06:25 Yeah, it was a conversation where I said, dad I want to open a store. And he goes, I don’t want you to open another store. So, that was the beginning of one of those tough conversations and I said, hey, I really want to do this and I really see this as being more than a single operation. And his vision, his hope was that all three of his children would actually work in the store altogether. And that wasn’t exactly, that wasn’t anything where I had imagined. So, I ventured out on my own, still managing my father’s store. And he saw after the one store, then I opened a second store and then the third store, and then on the fourth store. Then we both merge the forth store together and then there was the fifth store, the sixth store, and somewhere this. And all these different types of ownership. And then eventually, we were able to merge all the stores under one umbrella. And then we started thinking about building a single brand and the course of a lot of management evolution and growth and financing and we’ve actually got to 13 stores and at that time we were in Reno in Las Vegas with 13 stores.


Yigal Adato: 07:49 So, just quick, for those who are listening in Nevada, what is the interest rate when you were operating?


Steve Mack: 07:56 So, when we first started, interest rates were 4% a month. And with a $1 ticket fee and it was a $1 ticket fee. And eventually one of the first things I embarked on this organizing the Nevada Pawnbrokers Association. I was a founding president. Organize all the pawn shops throughout the state of Nevada. I went to the legislature, enacted some partnerships with law enforcement at the beginning of reporting to law enforcement. And along with that we were able to achieve higher interest rates. And from that period of time, over 20 year legislative effort while I was there, the interest rates went to 8%.


Yigal Adato: 08:44 Nice. So you essentially doubled the income of the pawnbrokers of Nevada.


Steve Mack: 08:48 Yes.


Yigal Adato: 08:50 Nice [Incomprehensible] Californians are like, man, I would really like that.


Steve Mack: 08:55 Well, I mean, there’s a balance. And there’s a conscience and I think that you know, we were thinking about all those things and it was certainly helpful and we tried to balance our needs with our customers needs and it worked out.


Yigal Adato: 09:13 Awesome. So, what was the hardest thing when you went from one store all those years to go through two, three, four, five. Obviously money’s very difficult, right? Having the cash flow other than the money situation, what was the other hardest part about growing the business?


Steve Mack: 09:30 I always tell entrepreneurs, pawnbrokers when they have the one store, the second store is the hardest store to open because it’s split you in half. And the next 20, if you’re going to go to 20, are very, very similar. I mean, you’re frilly fracturing yourself until you realize that the management and the consistency and the training and the people. I’ll have to emulate your culture and your ethics and the way you want to run a business in order to make it consistent and where those stores actually add value. But there was a period of time when we were at seven or eight stores where we had really been making the same amount of money, net profit as we did in that one single store. So, you’re scratching your head, you know, and that was like in year four, year five, you’re going, why am I doing this? And you know, when am I going to see this? When am I going to see that these efforts actually bring more profit to the bottom line. And it takes a lot of massaging and training and building a consistent management fame in order to really kind of start driving bottom line value from the growth of the stores. So, it’s coming up the business model I’d say.


Yigal Adato: 11:00 Let’s touch on the consistent management theme. Let’s kind of clarify that for those who are listening, we talk about consistent management team. What are you talking about exactly and how did you achieve it?


Steve Mack: 11:13 So, we wanted people to walk in the store and receive the same experience. We wanted them to drive by the store and see the same experience. So, it’s everything. It’s color, it’s store location, it’s parking. It was our message when they got in the store we used, it’s how we answered the phone exactly the same way and the epic part of it was pricing our merchandise consistently. And in those days, pawnshops were frequently shocked and pawnshop buyers would go from one store to the next store to the next door, to the next door, and they go, oh, your store managed by Alan is the best, best store I like because his prices are the best and you are happy that he was shopping at Allan’s store, but you can go in Allan’s store and Allan was like, wow Allan you’re kind of giving away the merchandise, it’s much less than what we should be doing across the board. So, we put a lot of effort in trying to figure out how to create the consistent theme of pricing, merchandising, we also adopted essential jewelry distribution center because we wanted our jewelry to be exactly the same, in pristine condition. And all the cases and all the colors and every case was merchandised the same way from one store to the other store. And we were creating a chain. And when we started doing that, we really start differentiating ourselves. And but also, we called ourselves one name 2 at the time we had five different names. Like, oh, we’re going to name this one, Steve’s pawnshops and this one cameo in this one, you know, Mackster’s and this one we were having a ball naming these floors until you realize, hey, you know, your advertising five different messages out there. So, we all of a sudden came up with the name Super Pawn and it’s just kind of started generating the momentum. And then when you get to be this size and you start seeing other people seeing that you’re actually a brand, then you start attracting different types of employees and where there’s more serious, there’s a career path for them, there’s the trajectory of growth in terms of going from sales to sales manager to store manager to regional manager and then you have a thriving, growing chain going with a consistent brand and message.


Yigal Adato: 14:02 [Incomprehensible] a lot of people call them mistakes, I will call them lessons. What are some of the lessons that you learned that if you were to do this all over again, you wouldn’t want to repeat?


Steve Mack: 14:19 We went into some markets. We went into some different cities thinking that one city, when we were based out of Reno we went to Las Vegas. There’s nuances differences, there’s cultural differences in different cities. And we went in to some places thinking that we’re just going to put our store into this place and we’re going to merchandise at the same way. We actually went into Arizona. We bought a number of stores and then we said we’re not going to sell guns. We just decided, no, we’re just going to stop. And our business just went down and half the market in Arizona has firearm. So, that was a big strategic mistake. And then we pivoted quickly in about nine months, came back and all of a sudden we saw that we could actually do a much better job. We always prided ourselves in being a big umbrella of taking a lot of things in. But we were at the time and super plans reputation. We were really good at jewelry. We had a jewelry store and then a retail store. We separated our store and that kind of a theme where we had half of it or 40%, it was jewelry and the other 60% was general merchandise. And we figured out the balance and that was a big lesson learned.


Yigal Adato: 15:39 Nice. Awesome. So, at some point of this journey of yours, of opening 13 stores, I remember meeting you at like an NPA show and you had this consistency. You talked about consistency before and that was one of the biggest things you had for your operations, like being consistent and everyone was looking to you for that consistency. Where do you think you learn those rules of engagement to do business the way that you did? Was it just from like your father saying, okay, this is what we did, right? This is what we did wrong and we change it. Was it by speaking with other pawnbrokers? Was it from the Harvard Education? Where did you get the information to succeed the way you did?


Steve Mack: 16:21 Well, the 13 stores was the level that we hit when I bought the family out, but we grew the company to 50. So, and then we were the largest single owner enterprise at the time. But to answer your question, so it was a theme. It’s like we were like, I was really searching for like what pawnshop chains out there that we could model ourselves after. And there were the handful on there was, you know, the cash America, the Easy Pawn there was the First Cash and it wasn’t a high enough bar for where I thought we could be. And so, I looked at other retailers. And we were really stuck in the Nordstrom’s like customer service mode. And then we look at target versus Walmart and then we would, and then actually hired people from target, vice presidents of target from Atlanta, Georgia to come in and say, we want to be different than Walmart. We’d like to hire the higher level of execution. We want our stores to be like target. And so we brought in, so that’s where we set our bar as a, we want it to be a national, a major retailer, a major theme of something that people would experience because one of the metrics that we were able to achieve when we go into a new market is that we’d measure how many pawn customers are there per capita in a given city. And we’d see between six and 8%. And we would select locations closer to the major retail areas. We target those. And then within three years we had grown the per capita to 12%.


Yigal Adato: 18:14 Wow.


Steve Mack: 18:15 So, with that traditional retail theme, we believe that we were able to attract customers that normally just weren’t attracted to pawnshops in the other locations with that regular kind of pawn shop theme. So, when we started thinking ourselves differently, we attracted a wider audience and that’s what really catapulted our business.


Yigal Adato: 18:41 So, at the 50 stores, you guys have to be very strategic obviously to get to where you were. I always say that pawnshops back in the day used to just open their doors and money would come in, but you, from a long time back you said, I need to be strategic. I need to have that leadership culture and the management consistency and obviously with the marketing. So, do you think that today that’s also achievable with where pawnshop industry is?


Steve Mack: 19:11 Yeah. Well I think that if we’re comparing like, comparing like a brand new, I think effort in like growing a number of stores and the consistent thing that I’m talking about, the retail store, the brick and mortars changed so much. So, there’s some other strategic ideas that I think need to be executed on. You have questions about that. I can give you some ideas on how I might think about that. But yes, definitely. You need to think about a market you want to enter. You want to have a, be able to layer in a level of management, which means in my mind, between four and six stores with one regional manager where you can lead store managers. And if not, you have to send those regional managers in because I really believe that the regional managers are like leading and training and inspiring and checking and you just keep improving. And then those regional managers also hands on in hiring all the new personnel and the turnover rates that, you know, a business is going to experience. So, you’re going to have a natural attrition of employees in that new that selection of those new people, you just need to keep raising the bar and looking for people that you know are going to meet your higher level of expectation as you growing that business. So, master the market. Don’t open up something that is too far away, especially if like you’re thinking of going from one store to five stores, you know, be close to where you as the entrepreneur, you’re the leader. Go in to those stores constantly and then you go to six to 10 stores in that new market. Make sure you have someone who is your right hand person that can emulate that same vision. And then you go think about 20 stores and then keep paying attention to your existing business, keep paying attention that the customers you have today, there’s a retention. A lot of times we forget, we’re always looking for new customers that hey, let’s spend a little bit of time about keeping our existing ones. And so, you grow through, you retain, um, you look at that whole mass of the people and the customers and your employees. But also there’s the big piece of this is having the sophistication, knowing how to look at your reports, what kinds of information you’re looking for. It’s different in a single store than it is with a five store, it is with a 10 store, it is with a 20 store. I mean the things you look at in your reports as you grow to a greater number of stores, dramatically changes. And so that’s an evolution as well.


Yigal Adato: 22:16 So, let’s quickly talk about the, [Incomprehensible] all listeners who have one or two stores. What do you Steve think that a one store operator today in the environment that we’re in can do to improve their business at a strategic level?


Steve Mack: 22:34 Well, I think you need to look at your store inside and out. What kind of different message are you telling today when customers are driving by your store? And it might be a new color theme, it might be a new sign, it might be words, but I mean, you’re telling the story to the people that are now driving by your store? And we know in the last 10 years, the shift of the millennials and the gen x is so dramatic, the messaging needs to evolve. So, you start there and then customers that walk in, what are we doing to let people know that this pawn`shop. And I think the biggest thing that pawnshops can be more conscious of is how carefully they’re pricing their merchandise. I learned that you price up to sell up or price up to get as much as you can and every single product that you get in your store is like cool and awesome and you try to get as much as you can for that. Most people when they, before the advent of being able to find out prices so easily, and this has been evolving over a period of time because it really, this started with Walmart really bringing prices down, before it was like at the price, a swing on a piece of merchandise could be 30, 40, 50%. But so that pricing now has narrowed so much with the Internet that this shock value and that customers walk in when it’s not priced right, they will turn around and walk out, they will never come back. And it’s really, really, evident online. If we think of ourselves, what do we do when we Google something and we see how do we rank it? What is the first thing we do? We looked for a price. And now people can just go on your store and check the price. So, be in the game and be five or 10%, don’t be 20, 30, 40% above. I mean, if your pawnshop is the one that people recognize as a place to bargain, bargain but bargain with the smaller gap of acceptance. But a lot of pawnshops are figuring out now that, you know, you price it, you price it competitively, you look on the Internet, you’ll find out what it sells for it, you match it. You’re not going to get what it sells for new. So, mark it down for less because it’s used and lend the same way, price it the same way, sell it the same way and be a part of the intelligence of what the new customer really kind of expect. So outside, inside, I think pricing’s the biggest part that someone can do. Cleanliness and cheeriness and music and creating a positive rather than, you know, I always try to put myself in the same shoes as a customer that walks in and borrows money. Very been sensitive to that. I’ve always wanted them to feel like this was a place that we care. That we’re there to help them because we’re in the help business. People come to borrow money because they need help with their finances. [Inaudible] sensitive to that and so try to make that positive for them. And then the employees kind of respond to that as well and customers come back. So, that’s the retention that’s about the customer walks in. We want him to come back.


Yigal Adato: 26:23 Yeah. [Incomprehensible] part of your journey you decided to say, I need to create my own system. And I remember being at a convention, somebody said, yeah, you know, Steve Mack built his own systems, spent a ton of money on it. Some people thought he was crazy, some people thought it was genius. What happened for you to say, you know, I need my own system. I needed to build it the way I want it. Was it the advent of like what you were seeing in technology, was it just, I want some more reports. What happened that you said, I’m spending the money, let’s do this.


Steve Mack: 27:04 Well, there were none at the time. And we’ve developed four generations of systems back to the original dos system. It really started off with audit. My dad never took inventory, ever. And I came in with my accounting degree, with my spreadsheet and our retail inventory wasn’t numbered. It’s just had a cost code and a price. And we just knew that if you notice it was gone, it was gone. The history of pain in a family pawn business is the story about the employee that stole from me because your inventory wasn’t tight and it’s like the whole family was impacted by it, we’re so devastated and it was usually someone you knew, you know, he’s been working for you for a long time because we take this so personal and we were a mom and pop shop, we have five employees. We knew everything about everybody and we went up, suspected anyone have taken it. And I remember those things growing up. And so, coming back from college with an accounting degree and saying, you know, having inventory system is just normal. I mean, everyone does it. Why aren’t we doing it? And so, I started hand journaling inventory come out alone, create the description, create the number, hand wrote the number, went in every night back into the journal, crossed off everyone, go through the book, take inventory, check, check, check, check, check, how many items being missing, wrote it off. And I’m going, wow, we need help. I mean, handwriting all the tickets. I’m going, hey, this dot matrix printers are really cool. And, I couldn’t talk my dad into buying a computer. And the funny thing is it was an apple two that I land 400 bucks on. It was like $3,000, $400 came out alone. And I was looking at it, looking at it and going, I got to do something. And the following day, two guys came in the store, college students, engineering students, and they were telling me about that they were code writers. And I said, do you guys know how to write code for this apple two? And he goes, oh yeah, can you write me a inventory system? They go, sure, they’re dead broke [Incomprehensible] college students, you know, $2 is like a lot of money to go out and eat back in those days. This was in the late seventies or early eighties. And I go, how much you guys charge me for like straight inventory system? I just want to inventory the stuff that isn’t here to go 200 bucks done. How soon can you guys have it? And I gave him the computer and I said, tell me what I need. And I call it the couple other friends, in college that they’re brothers sold hardware. And I found a hard drive, I found a printer. And two months later I had my first inventory system and I go, I took two inventories that year. You know, usually it’s like one time every two years. I wasn’t handwriting tickets anymore. I freed up my mind and then all of a sudden Microsoft came out with spreadsheets and this other stuff and I started calculating what it would, you know, what one store would do, what to stores would do. I start seeing the power and potential of pawn business in. These two guys then became my first engineers that I hired out of college and they started a company and we developed our very first point of sale system and you know, IBM 80, 86, this came out and we built a Novell network and we had five terminals and we were printing tickets and I had these guys upstairs and I was really good at process engineering, so I knew how to back then you know, the computing space and memory was so limited that you really had to write really tight code. And so I was really good at that. And between the three of us, we were able to develop really cool stuff and put that in the second store and just started new versions and extended it and we never stopped. And then I started going to conventions and start [Incomprehensible] myself with other I.T people about future and I became pretty good at predicting where technology should go. And then I made really good bets. Like I picked Microsoft. There were six other places to you could write code, all those database now are dead, now it’s Microsoft. And so I made some really good bets and when we had the 50 stores, we had a two and a half million dollar budget for I.T. We were spending $4,000 a month per store for our I.T expense. The connectivity first started Internet is it was just the connectivity charges for ISP was 1500 a month per store. So, it was worth it. It was scary worth it. And we were spending so much money on it, like, can we afford 1500 times 10 stores? I mean that’s 15 grand, what costs us now, you know, ISP nothing. And just got better and better and better and I loved it. I love the I.T part of the business. I love the marketing part. I love the customers. There were five really, really, you know, about five areas I really enjoyed being a part of and what you love you end up being really good at and then you attract really good people and the I.T was part of it.


Yigal Adato: 33:10 Cool. So, you had 50 stores, you created your own system and software. We’ll talk a little bit about that afterward. And then at what point did you know you wanted to grow this nationwide chain, but obviously at some point a buyer came in and said, we want this, kind of, give us the story about that quickly. What happened, what changed your mind and where you said, man, this is a good bet for me. I’m out. Give us a story behind that.


Steve Mack: 33:40 Well, let’s say about five years before I sold the company, [Inaudible] I hit the wall like, you know, and it wasn’t having as much fun. You hit 350 employees and lots of things transpire. I was tired. I needed to get reinvigorated. I went back to school. That’s when I got my postgraduate degree from Harvard and got a view in a different perspective. And also found some really important things I could do to expand the value and grow the company where I could see 75, I could see a hundred, I could see 200 stores. So, but I always liked the system business and I had tried to pitch Cash America for them to buy our operating system. And I would look at Cash America’s financials and I’d so, you know, my 50 stores are out performed you guys like kicking your ass. I mean, it’s, and I’m going, here are the reasons why, your system does this or says this and here’s the incremental differences. And this is when we had Ebay completely integrated. And this is when we had the estimator, we had values of product helping our store’s price and sell. And, it’s where we had a fully network 50 store operating system. And I was transparent about my numbers then when they saw what I was doing, they go, we love your stores, but we already have our own system. And I went to a check cashing convention cause we were interested in going to payday at the time. And we’ve dabbled in that. I wasn’t really crazy about it. We really push it off and everyone else is doing it as a brand new industry at the time. And I was thinking that was something that we needed to think about. Cash America said, give me one number. We like it, we’ll take it. And 24 hours later, they gave me a number and I go, they took my [Incomrpehesnible].


Yigal Adato: 35:56 Wow.


Steve Mack: 35:58 That was it. Nine months later with an army of accountants and auditors and lawyers we closed on the deal and I was ready and they said, we love your stores and ended up selling my stores and I retained my systems. They didn’t see the value in it and I kept it. And then, two months later after I sold the company, they wanted us to implement our systems in to Cash America. They saw that the performance of those stores were significantly dependent on those systems and when they switched over to their legacy systems, those stores took a huge financial hit and that’s when we sold our stores on gold was 300. We never got the windfall. If I would say the only thing I regret was, it would have been interesting to be a part of that whole like windfall of having, you know, we had tens of millions of dollars in loans and gold that would’ve been pretty sweet.


Yigal Adato: 37:09 Hitting the gold value at like 1000 bucks as opposed to 300.


Steve Mack: 37:14 That would be pretty sweet.


Yigal Adato: 37:16 Yeah. Nice. So, you closed the deal, you took off. Obviously Open Bravo Pawn Systems and today you’re selling your pawn system or the generation that is at the moment to other pawn brokers out there with the technology that you believe in and with the same systems and accounting background, I’m guessing that you guys had before.


Steve Mack: 37:40 Yeah. When we had Super Pawn we had a system called Prima and it was called Pawn Retail Internet Management Analysis Systems that’s what Prima stand stood for. And I started that company immediately after I sold to Cash America and we licensed that to four different companies. All four companies did really, really well on it. Two of the four still use it today. It was a different type of system because it still was very expensive to operate. Like I said, we were spending $4,000 per store, so two and a half million, $3 million a year on I.T expenses and it was just really expensive infrastructure to operate this sophisticated system. And we sold it four times. The threshold of doing it was expensive and pawn shops, you know, we’re paying very, very little for the existing systems. And essentially what happened was five years after that a couple of my engineers that had previously worked for me, and that was during the economic downturn in 2008, needed jobs and there was like, just this collision of coincidence again, that sort of happens in your life. And my head engineer, Mike [Incomprehensible] came to me and he said the technologies now is available to develop stuff in the cloud and he explained to me what the cloud is all about. And he says the technology’s there to do it. And I really wanted to give back to the industry and I wanted to be able to share through my system to help small businesses thrive because I passionately, and you know, I’ve gone through this myself, know what the power of a system can do to help you be more efficient and so that you can deliver a better customer experience through being able to do other things and spend more time with your customers rather than back in the office doing all these administrative things. And that was the genesis of it. We went, hired the two guys, they went back to school for three months. We hired an outside tech team, phenomenal group of guys that still work for us today. And we spent two years in a Condo, you know, with Shag Rug carpeting, writing code, developing brand new system. We launched the Bravo, then 2010.


Yigal Adato: 40:23 Awsome. [Incomprehensible] go to bravopawnsystems.com great system. And Steve I appreciate you being on sharing your story with us. You went from, you know, fourth generation pawnbroker to growing into 50 stores to creating your own system and now tell your daughter is the CEO of the company and my daughter’s name is Tali, so we have something in common there.


Steve Mack: 40:47 Yep, that’s right.


Yigal Adato: 40:49 So, who runs the company? What’s that like to see your daughter take the reins and run the company that you built and started?


Steve Mack: 40:58 Well, I never imagined it. I think probably the same thing that my dad probably thought about me. She went to school in Boulder and got a degree in journalism marketing and then went to law school while she was in law school, I was launching Bravo and I had some marketing stuff and asked her if she has some extra time to make some money and she was quote clerking and doing other things, make money on the side as well. So, she was alongside Bravo the whole time, watched it launch. And then when she graduated law school, she said that, you know, she really didn’t want to practice law that she’s always told me every time I’d asked her, I said, where are you going to do? She goes, I want to open a dress shop. So-


Yigal Adato: 41:53 Spending the lottery.


Steve Mack: 41:55 Right. And I said, fantastic. And so I said, come on. And she was living in Chicago at the time and I said, help me with my marketing. And she took over the marketing and she’s always loved the business. She was actually as a little girl when we run the pawnshops, she was running around the pawnshops too. She was the receptionist in my corporate offices at Super Pawn. She worked at our liquidation center and sold behind the counter. So, you know, she was the fifth generation for sure, like destined. But as a CEO it’s a incredible, I wish it on every parent that if they’re in the family business and they can see the potential and whether it works out or not because it’s for family businesses, sometimes it’s just as successful as a stranger by the way. And sometimes, you know, you just got to take the chance. You got to go for it, let them have the opportunity because she’s much better at being a CEO of software company that I could ever dream of. And the transition over the last 18 months and she’s made me a grandpa. She had a baby baby girl here just recently. She’s just doing it all. She’s living the dream. I mean, I had my dream. Now she’s living hers. She wants to deliver this product, world class product to every pawnshop that she could probably get her hands on and meet the people. She’s heavily entrenched in learning about these companies and the people that run it and it’s just fantastic.


Yigal Adato: 43:41 Awesome. Steve, thank you so much for taking the time to be on, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us in which you know and what you grew. And once again, pawn family. If you want to check out Bravo go to bravopawnsystems.com. I know that, you know, you can hit the contact button and someone will talk to you and pick up the phone if you have any questions. And thanks for being a friend of the family, Steve for all these years. And I have remember my brother flying out to Vegas to visit your shop and you open the shop with opened arms and showed them around years ago. So, thank you for that because that really helped us grow and see what we should aspire to as supposed to what we just thought in our mind was correct. So thank you for that.


Steve Mack: 44:25 Yeah. And I hope that you’re the transition, the new path that taken and helping pawnshops. I’ve heard so many great things and the industry is really lucky to have you. So good job, man. And thanks again for having me speak on your podcast.


Yigal Adato: 44:44 Appreciate it. And pawn family, don’t forget to go to the Pawn Leaders Podcast Community on Facebook where we talk about the podcast, answer questions about leadership and marketing and strategy. Just a great place for people to hang out and ask questions and get feedback. So, until next time, thanks again, I’ll see you soon.


To continue the discussion join the Pawn Leaders Facebook community


For more information on working together go to www.pawnleaders.com.


The software mentioned in the podcast: https://bravopawnsystems.com/


Yigal Adato

Yigal is a 3rd generation pawn broker, and is now a mentor, coach and educator with the pawnbroking industry.

Leave a Reply 


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Episodes

    © 2020 Pawnleaders – All Rights Reserved.