4: Utilizing Technology to Drive Your Pawn Store with Josh Davis from GC Pawn

January 31, 2018

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Yigal Adato: 00:04 Hello Everyone, My name is Yigal Adato and this is the Pawn Leaders Podcast, a podcast to help you make more money,stress less, and live an epic life all while working at the pawn shop. Welcome back everybody, pawnbrokers thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Pawn Leaders Podcast with me today I have Josh who was born and raised in New York as a third generation pawnbroker. He worked early in his life at thep awn counter and then when his father learning the back office of running a multistory operation built by Josh’s grandfather, and then expanded by his father, Josh attending new to college and received his degree in computer engineering and mathematics and is a cellist which we’ll get into for sure on this episode. In 2008, Josh and his brother Adam opened their first pawn shop in south Florida at the age of 22. They grew their operation to seven locations and various real estate holdings. Reasonably Josh independently developed in-house pawn shop software, for his company to use, the software fully integrates into their website with over 10,000 items available for sale. Josh currently serves as President of the Florida Pawnbrokers Association, board member of the NPA’s young professionals, board member of his local city’s civil service board and so much more. Welcome to the show, Josh. Thanks for being here.


Josh Davis: 01:27 Thanks Yigal, Im glad to be here,


Yigal Adato: 01:28 Man first of all, I need to touch up on this. I’ve known you for awhile, ever since you worked for one of the software companies.


Josh Davis: 01:35 Absolutely


Yigal Adato: 01:35 I had no idea that you are a cellist. Give me some background on that.


Josh Davis: 01:40 Sure. I started in third grade because it was a large instrument. I thought I would look pretty cool walking down the halls with this big thing next to me, but my parents made me stick with it and became pretty good. Actually was able to travel to Europe a couple times with some orchestras, played in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, played with some really neat people and it was a big part of my offering.


Yigal Adato: 02:02 That’s amazing. Now there's the, What are the two guys who
play cello who toured over the world? The two brothers.

Josh Davis: 02:09 I’m not sure.


Yigal Adato: 02:10 I forgot. I think they’re called two cellos, like a rock and roll music with cello’s


Josh Davis: 02:18 [Inaudible] of our fan.


Yigal Adato: 02:18 Yeah. Oh, nice. Gotcha, Gotcha. Cool man. So, thanks for being on the show. You’re in Florida. Give us a little bit of what Florida's laws are. How much interest you guys can charge a month, how long the holding period so that everybody listening could know.


Josh Davis: 02:34 So, Florida is governed by Florida statute 539 and Florida law allows up to 25 percent per month for pawn loan, anything under that. The pawn loan is good for 60 days with payments due every 30 days. All purchases are to be held for 30 days rather than 60 days on a pawn loan. Like many other states that any number of extensions can be made and the person can redeem their item that at any point that they would like. After 60 days on the pawn loan, the interest rate is prorated daily instead of a full term, full 30 day term.


Yigal Adato: 03:12 Gotcha. Cool. So, I met you when you were a software engineer, obviously you still are and you went from becoming a pawnbroker or you grew up in the pawn broking world. You went to software engineering and then you open up your own pawnshops. So, let's go back into history. What was it like growing up in pawn broking, grandfathers, pawnbroker fathers are pawn same, I had that same history as you so tell me a little bit about how that was for you.


Josh Davis: 03:39 So growing up, my whole family, my mother’s father started the company in New York and the as I was growing up. That’s just what I knew the entire family was in the industry, aunts, uncles, cousins, great uncles and aunts that were no longer and they retired. My father had built up this company when he got involved after he had married my mother. So when I was younger it was, that’s what he did. That’s what the family did. And that’s what I was going to do. So, on Saturdays, as I got a little older, Christmas vacation, summer vacations, you’d work on shop. That’s what the family did, whether I was in the main office and they’d send you to a satellite location. I started at the pawn counter so I could learn what a pawnbroker does. What it is to make a loan to interact with the customers.


Josh Davis: 04:31 Once I got a little older and got into technology, as you mentioned, I started working in the back office with my father running the network, doing system upgrades, maintaining security.They had in-house servers, they were on Verticals Compupawn system to time. So, I become familiar how to manage and support in-house at a basic system level, not on the software side per say. But once I went to college, my knowledge really picked up on the tech side and I was able to assist even further.


Yigal Adato: 05:07 Nice. So, then you went from learning all that stuff to essentially working for Compupawn at some point for a software company. Did that for awhile, right? For like about a year and a half, that’s when I met you. And then at 22, what made you say it’s time to open up my own shop.


Josh Davis: 05:24 So, I knew that, it’s terrible to say, but we knew we were going to be in the pawn industry, so why do I need to subject myself to such hard, rigorous work being a computer engineer at a private college. But that’s what I knew I wanted to do within the pawn industry. Technology was evolving and you knew that this was going to be a main aspect of any industry though, having gone to school for Software Engineering, computer engineering, dealing with systems electronics. Once I graduated, having the pawn experience and that systems experience, it was an easy introduction to go work for a software company that made software for pawn shops. I known background, I knew what to expect from customers, I knew what it meant to be a pawnbroker, I knew how the software work and used it for 10 years as a teenager. So, when I went to work for Vertical it was an easy in . I was there about a year and a half. And like I said, we always knew at some point we would roll back into being upon a pawn operator. There was a store that was a customer verticals that went on the market for sale, discussed with my brother and my father, is it about time that we did that? And we waited for my brother to graduate college. He left college, went on a short vacation flew him from vacation down in Florida on a Sunday and Monday morning that we acquired store number one.


Yigal Adato: 06:56 So, he went on vacation, went to work right away. Right?


Josh Davis: 06:59 Right. He didn’t get any breaks.


Yigal Adato: 07:00 Nice! So GNC pawn was opened. What was the year that you
guys opened?


Josh Davis:to: 07:07 We first opened in 2008.


Yigal Adato: 07:09 2008.


Josh Davis: 07:10 July of 2008.


Yigal Adato: 07:12 Awesome. So, talk to me about how you guys went from one store. Many pawn brokers have like one shop, maybe two. They don't want the headache of opening so many stores. You guys went from one to seven pretty quickly and did it successfully. What were some of the things that you guys did right or wrong that you can look back on now to help other pawn brokers in growing your business so fast?


Josh Davis: 07:37 Sure. One thing we always knew that we wanted to grow organically by

ourselves. There are others, very successful companies that do grow very quick, very large by bringing in private investor equity money, but they lose a bit of control of your company down the road. And then they have issues with other investors. We would rather have stayed small and kept it in our family. So, it just a partnership between myself, my brother and my father, we opened the one store. We got somewhat lucky at the timing, It was right around the time of gold boomed. So, we pretty much knew that we would take as much of the profits that we can properly reinvest that into the company. You know, my brother and I would live very, very modestly. We did try to not overspend. We’re able to take a lot of money enough to acquire store number two. Going from one to two, it was a big jump from us at that point, we were still young and had only been a year and a half since the first store acquisition. My brother and I were working in the same store for a year and a half, so we knew, all right, we can go to one store, I can stay at the other store. So, many other pawn operators know that just being able to properly train and trust someone with what is essentially your baby, it’s very difficult thing to do. So, the fact that him and I were able to split up having an equal amount of experience growing up in the industry and of course being able to trust each other plusly made that a bit easier. And going from two to three was equally as difficult because now we’ve got a third store where we're not going to be [Crosstalk] only be probably be a two stores at the most. So, we had to make sure that we brought on people properly, trained them before we were able to simply let them go off on their own. And of course, proper management oversight, video cameras, checking paperwork. It’s not a matter of just opening the store, handing over the keys and coming back during Christmas time. It was still a lot of work to make sure that every store was being run properly and efficiently.


Yigal Adato: 09:47 So tell me what are, what are kind of going back, what are some of the things that you look on now and say, I can’t believe we did that. When you went for like store number one to two to three, what would you have done differently today?


Josh Davis: 09:59 Oh, it’s funny. We look back at store number one and we were open for six days, Monday through Saturday and at the time we didn’t really think about it. Adam and I were open for six days. We worked together for six days and we had one other staff member with us, if only instead of taking off Sunday, we took off one day during the week, one of us work then and not on Sunday, we could have open seven days and it’s silly. We don’t have much in terms of regrets. We think we did a really good job. But something as silly as that, even opening that seventh day and we didn’t open seven days til we got to blue who was our fourth store. And realize that Sunday was a fantastic day, you know, so many people are not working, just going around town shopping, not to mention lots of other stores are not open on Sundays. Being open a couple of hours during the week and on Sundays would have been a big help.


Yigal Adato: 10:46 Nice. What’s been the hardest thing running a pawn shop?


Josh Davis: 10:51 Work life balance is very tough, you know, there’s too many days where myself and my brother would make plans and if someone calls out sick manager, calls out sick or something happened and it’s just, it’s on you. You know, we, we’ve had to cancel vacations, dinners, meetings, all types of things. But ultimately we knew that the business essentially came first after our own personal lives and health of course. But, um, it’s, it’s been a struggle, but one always will be to make sure that the stores are open ultimately at the stores and open. There’s no income and you can’t service your customers within the community.


Yigal Adato: 11:30 So you said before that when the gold was booming, you guys saved money. A lot of pawnbrokers that I know, you know, they went out there, they melted everything they spent it all. They bought, you know, their big house and nice cars. They forgot to like reinvest thinking this is just short term. What made you guys say, wait a second, this might not go for a long time. Let’s reinvest this money. What made that come into your mind?


Josh Davis: 11:57 So having the experience growing up with my family, when I left my family stores, they had 20 stores in New York City and that’s how you became successful. It wasn’t just one store and there are companies that have one massive store and do incredibly well. But it was our business model that a multi location operation was the way to go.So we knew before we even opened, we would open this first store, but that,s wasn’t going to be the end of it. We knew we would have to keep, continue to open. We were going to try for at least one store a year. So gold boom. Then we saw a couple of extra bucks coming in at the time it was big money for us when we were in college. We had 100 bucks here and there, so relevant melt golden, and it was, it was some bigger money that we’re able to put in the bank, hold off until we can properly look for a location. So Florida is very hard with the zoning, so we really focused on an acquisition knowing that there would be some other people more wanting to retire so we could acquire their location. We’ve got some stores at a good deal, some we paid fair money for, but we knew a lot of these operations we will be able to improve given our youth and our, our willingness to work. Whereas some other guys had already been in the industry 30 years were reaching, you know, the age of retirement. They were slowing down a little bit. They weren’t reinvesting in their selves, their stores. Their technology was all, you know, they weren’t looking into the newer social media, digital marketing. We knew we could do that. So we knew that we just have to take this money and down the road, our father always told us that there’ll be more. Right now you don’t need it, put it back in the company and the next year you’ll have more money. So that’s been the business model, you know, it’s, we gotta live, that’s fine, but we need to put it back in the company. That’s how the company grows. That’s how we’re able to bring on more people, you know, help them afford their families, grow our local community and economy as well.


Yigal Adato: 14:03 So I was looking at your social media. You talked about investing in yourself and your stores and then your social media. I checked out your website while I’m, you know, an instagram follower of yours and facebook follower of yours. You guys have some incredible social media strategies. Put out some great content. With that, with social media strategy, what are the strategies do you guys use to differentiate yourselves in the market so that customers know that GNC Pawn is the best?


Josh Davis:: 14:33 Right? So. So one thing we knew from day one is that we need to properly brand ourselves. There are some companies who might believe in having different locations as different names and I understand the logic for them, But we knew, I mean if you look at the overall, the overall American economy, the largest companies, if you go to any state in any city and you see the same source, the same logo, you know, that you know, whether you want to go there, you know, whether you don’t want to go there. But if you go to another city and you see a company you’ve already dealt with, it’s going to make it easier for you to want to walk in that front door. You know, what to expect. So we knew that we had to do that. And then branching into the digital marketplace, we’re able to use that to our advantage. You know, it&’s advertising storefront sign or online. But when you see a store today, driving down the road, and then tomorrow you’ll see a facebook post and the next day instagram and the next books, different news media blog. But Our name and our logo is consistent across the board, Next year you’re going to keep seeing it and someone’s going to say, you know, something, I’ve been seeing that here, there and I don’t even remember where, let’s go check them out. So we knew that we could make sure to do that. And we’ve had to adjust our name to a golden connection down to GC Pawn, and our name is our url address so that when I tell someone where gcpawn.com, they know that’s how they can find us and they go right online, gcpawn.com and they can conduct business with us through, through various digital medias.


Yigal Adato: 16:06 So I say that, you know with everything with the gold price coming down, pawn brokers need to become better leaders, better marketers, and better business strategists. What do you think about that and how can a pawn broker become better at those three things? Leader Marketer, strategist,


Josh Davis: 16:24 Right. So you mentioned the gold price. It's in our company goal, but for about 55 percent of our overall loan portfolio. So there’s still a huge market in other, in other types of categories of items that we deal with. So in terms of being a leader in the industry, it’s, it’s not turning people away because they come in with a bicycle or a weed eater, There, there are still a profit to be made on that while helping out that customer. Not everybody has gold. So we, that’s if we just said no, and we’re taking gold watches and guns, only we’d be turning away a very large bit of business. It’s obviously the size of your store is going to dictate what specifically you can or cannot take in. So, do the best we can to organize. And I’ll always tell people if it’ll fit through the front door or maybe around the backside, Becky, we will take it as long as we can make a couple bucks at something that will help you out with. So of course we had to, you know, taking to account that strategy. Certain items within our company might go to a different store. We have a couple stores that have larger facilities or outdoor storage, so we’re redirecting certain inventory to those stores, not turning it down. Again, we will make room to do what we can to take in as many items as possible.


Yigal Adato: 17:41 Nice. And thinking about 7 stores, how many employees do you


Josh Davis: 17:46 We currently have 22 on staff. We tried to know. We always have looked the bottom dollar, so we try to keep it efficient. Staffing level or stores are relatively small, about 3000 square feet on average. We typically have two to three people staffed and in the store anytime. We’ve had a great success rate. I think our oldest staff member is about nine years in the company. We’re almost at 10 years, so we’ve got some people that really enjoy working with us and we enjoy working with them or we’re glad that so many people have stuck around with the company and the company has only been able to grow because of people that we’re able to maintain working here.


Yigal Adato: 18:32 And that’s one of the biggest concerns for pawnbrokers is how do I find good employees? How do I find people who want to make, you know, don’t want to become an entrepreneur, don’t want to make 30 bucks an hour, but who will be dedicated to the company and give great customer service. What’s been the secret for GC pawn to find great talent?


Josh Davis: 18:52 Right? So it’s always been a struggle. And to this day it is, and I don’t think we have one particular you know, method of success. We’ve tried various ways of obtaining and talent, Whether that’s through a headhunter going to employment shows we list on indeed on craigslist. I think we tried monsterwants, but it’s been a struggle. And of course you can find anybody to, to fulfill a job position, but pawnbroking is a, a specialized industry and you’ve got to have sort of a drive to want to work, ability to grow within the company, you know, the information that you feed to it, to a new broker it’s immense within the first few months. And we’ll tell people when they start here. So it’s going to take you four to six months to become a proficient pawnbroker. Don’t expect to be able to do everything in three weeks. Don’t get upset with yourself. I’m not, I’m certainly not going to get upset with you either, but we want to see value and effort on your part. First Day you can jump in, say hello to customers, pick up the phone, show a willingness to learn. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who want to take the lazy way out and don’t want to work too hard. So there was always a little bit of turnover in some people that do the bare minimum or less. So it’s, it’s been, it’s been a challenge finding those people, but if you find the right people treat them right, you know, it’s not always about the money. Obviously we’re all here to make a dollar. That’s just what we’re doing. But we found a lot of people are more interested in a, in a good work environment where they’re respected, where they understand what they’re doing, they appreciate their position and their appreciated from those around them. People if they, if they go home just upset, not wanting to wake up in the morning, you could make a million dollars and a lot of people would turn that down. It’s just not worth the headache.


Yigal Adato: 20:50 I’m so glad you said that. You know, just yesterday I had a little tiff with somebody and one of the Pawn facebook groups where I said that when I would do meetings with my employees and I was realizing that they were drinking just tons of soda, like just a lot. Right? So I took out the scale. I took out sugar and I just measured out 40 grams of sugar in one and then I said, here’s two of them, or three of them, and four of them, five of the right, 200 grams of sugar on the scale is a lot. So in this guy selling or why should you care what your employees do? And I said, well, if I can teach my employees to be healthier and happier, that increases my bottom line. I’m going to tell them what to do, but I know if I can have them wake up with more energy, they’re going to sell better. They’re going to smile more.


Josh Davis: 21:40 I think that’s just a standard health practice. If you’re more accepting of yourself, let’s say you wake up, you don’t feel groggy, you don’t have health issues, its like anyday, you go better. We’ve tried to always convince people to stop smoking. It’s, you know, for forgetting about the fact that they’re outside not working, everybody deserves a break. That’s fine. But I’d rather them go outside and get some fresh air. Not tar. But, you know, people want to do what they want to do and that’s fine. We certainly respect everybody’s decision. Like maintaining proper health is, is a great. It’s a great bargain.


JYigal Adato: 22:19 Nice. So what’s, I just had a curiosity in Florida. What’s a good loan balance for a shop to have? Like where someone’s making some good money they’re doing okay. What’s like the average loan balance?Nice. So what’s, I just had a curiosity in Florida. What’s a good loan balance for a shop to have? Like where someone’s making some good money they’re doing okay. What’s like the average loan balance?


Josh Davis: 22:32 We’ve always tried to figure that out at Florida. Such a big state with such a variety of companies. In companies like myself, we have multiple stores. There are some larger stores both physical size and loan balances. When we came in at 2008, we realized the large majority of the industry in Florida close to 1500 stores, Were single owner operated stores relatively small. And through talking to people during our acquisition processes, you know, we would hear a lot of switches south Florida, so much to share about the northern part of Florida. But an owner operated store might have on average 40 to 50,000 in loan balances. If you figure, you know, you consider the interest rate, which is high if you look at the percentage, but if you consider that the average dollar loan is typically 80 to $120, that even at 25 percent on $100, it’s, it doesn’t cover much. It still costs you five to $8 to, to perform a transaction, store. The item, you know, your utilities, you still have a lot of overhead to pay. Your larger stores are probably gonna to have maybe between 70 to 100 or so. And there are plenty of stores that have larger balances than that, but considering your, now we’re about 1350 stores in Florida. I would say a good average balance is probably between 70 to 200. If I had to take an educated guess and that’s not taking into account. There’s a large population of value ones down here. They have large stores, they have lots of money behind them, so we found that they’re able to overpay for items which will essentially inflate their loan balances, from what my company might loan on an item. So if we were able to do that for a couple years in a row, sure, I would probably have double the balance that I would. But when that item forfeits and I have to sell it for under my costs, I’d be out of business. I can’t sell more stuck.


Yigal Adato: 24:38 I always told my brother, you know, if had the loan balance that we had in California, she’s in the millions in Florida, man, we’d be dancing on the tables all day.I always told my brother, you know, if had the loan balance that we had in California, she’s in the millions in Florida, man, we’d be dancing on the tables all day.


Josh Davis: 24:49 Where in California?


Yigal Adato: 24:50 What was that?


Josh Davis: 24:51 How many pawn shops are in California?


Yigal Adato: 24:54 I don’t even know the answer to that. I mean, it’s got to be, you guys have a lot more because of the interest rate. I mean we have, I think it’s the last time I was a board member, It was in the hundreds, you know, we didn't even hit the thousands even close.


Josh Davis: 25:06 Because of the interest rate is so high. It’s quite easy for single store owner operated to make a living. We get rich, he’s not going to go in business. He’s going to provide for his family. So over the years since the laws were enacted, so many people open a pawn shop. So as I said, in 2008, there were about 1500 pawn shops. So the amount of business is spread between a lot more stores. And then it was a low interest rate state. You’ve got high population, of course you’ve got more people coming to us, stores. We’ve got less people on a more sorts. So you know, our average number of transactions as well as loan balance is of course less than any interest rates stayed the same as in New York, very similar. They’re not many pawn shops, low interest rate, high balances, but that’s what you need in the low interest rate state to support yourself. Anybody who wants to try to open a pawnshop in a low interest rate state without $500,000 in the bank just sitting there, he can’t operate. So it takes a lot to start in those states. In Florida you need 100 grant navy, you could probably get away with a little less.


Yigal Adato: 26:18 Gotcha. Cool. What’s been the funnest part? Just quickly, what’s been the funnest part of this whole journey for you?


Josh Davis: 26:24 I don’t really have to buy new stuff. We get it a little late in the game, but when we first got into this and forgetting about in grown up, when, when my brother and I started, our first store was right about the time, the first ipad came in, and this was the hype. Everybody had to have an ipad. We went to the mall, we were in the apple store. We’re looking at it. We’ll get matching ipads, this is great. Hey, we’re, I don’t remember how much. It’s a little expensive work where we work, where we cant afford it, you know, something that’s just wait a month or two, it’ll probably come into the bunch up and now we just we have stacks and stacks and stacks of ipads, so we’re glad we waited the same is true with anything else. My phone breaks just go to the pawn shop. We’ve got phones.


Yigal Adato: 27:17 That’s what I do. miss, you know, I called my brother and and the new ipad let me know and let me know and I do miss that for sure man. I want to talk to you about, you put together your own program, you’re software engineer. I want to talk to you about how software engineering and that mindset has helped you in business, in your integral, your stores?


Josh Davis: 27:39 Very simply, we’re able to do whatever we want. We’re not at the mercy of a company to produce an aspect of a product that might work for us because there were looking at the entirety of the country. They’ve got pawnshops in every state. Every state has their own laws. Every company has their own needs. Some use a particular product within the software, some might not, so I’m able to focus all of my efforts on 100 percent of the products that we’re going to use within that software suite now because I’m doing it single handedly. It’s a little bit of a time consumption for me, you know, after working 10 hours during the day, running the business, I’m up till two in the morning doing some, some coding, but my brother and I are able to sit down and say, well what do we need this to do? We needed to do this, this, and this. I said, okay, we draw up some specs and we do it, so we’ve been able to produce the software that works for us and use it to our advantage which included integrating it into our website. So by that going above and beyond just being on Ebay, being on bonanza, being on Etsy, being on gun broker, being on Amazon. We have our own resource where every single piece of inventory within our company is on the website. The day, the minute it goes out for sale with pictures and prices and full descriptions and I’m able to control the inventory flow, we’re able to control what information is displayed, what information should not be displayed, what’s going to get printed on the ticket, what do we want the customers to see, how do we want them to interact with us? Customer can use our website to go online to our website. They can see their loans, their layaways. They can make payments. They make layaway payments, pawn ayments again and purchase items outright. Whereas we’ll ship it right to them. They don’t, they can go pawnshopping from their home from anywhere in this country and they don’t have to leave their couch, which is, which is the new trend. We’re a very small Amazon. I wouldn’t compare ourselves to them, but we’re able to accomplish what Amazon is that once nine goes out for sale, it is available immediately. Once it’s purchased it is removed from our software receipt prints it’s removed from the website. There’s once it’s there, there’s very little. We as a company need to do to maintain that inventory. So it’s been very helpful once the item comes in, if it’s properly inventory and it sells, it’s a streamlined process.


Yigal Adato: 30:20 Nice. So let’s talk about Florida pawnbrokers association. If there’s a pawnbroker listening to this, who’s in Florida, tell us about what you guys do, why they should join and why it’s important to be part of the association.


Josh Davis: 30:34 Nice. Right. So as the association president, there are, there’s a few people involved in our state association in such a large state. So it’s a little disheartening over the years, so many people don’t want to join. But like any association, the main objective of our association is primarily to monitor and lobby for legal legislation that might come about to negatively affect our industry as does happen across the board nationally and in every individual state. Any bit of legislation could easily put out a huge majority of pawnbrokers. You know, we mentioned the interest rate, it sounds high, but your average pawn loans so low, the lower interest rate in Florida would almost immediately put out a lot of business owners, small business owners, a lot of people working for those companies, no doubt would affect those communities who simply cannot walk into a bank and get a loan for $300 because an unexpected bill came up and they don’t get paid till next Friday. So the association retains all lobbyist. They monitor some legal issues at the state level. They’re very familiar with a lot of the legislatures. So if there are issues, we’re able to go and talk to them on a one on one, explained to them what the industry is and what it does. Just last week I wanted to meet a local representative in the Florida House who I had heard spoke. He spoke at a, a meeting I went to with my wife who was an attorney. So it was for a Florida Bar Association. Let me go meet with this gentleman. We tell them who we are. So if there’s anything that comes up, he can call me and ask, but pawnbrokers side, he wanted to, of course,he was under the impression, and it’s scary to think this, but he had a real thought that half 50 percent of our inventory and our business was simply stolen merchant was his, this is what he knew. He knew nothing else. So 45 minutes later I was able to explain to him what we really do, who we cater to, and that has a national average. Less than half of one percent of items are stolen out of those items, a large majority of them are recovered to the victims of that crime. You know, pawnbroker is here to help the community not hurt the community. So it’s always been known that we need to go out and educate the legislature. They are the ones making the laws. They’re the ones that can potentially affect our law. And if they don’t understand what we do, it’s all too easy for them to change the law because of one story that hit the news that, that,make the entirety of the industry look bad. And if no one understands what we do, everybody will be in favor of proposed legislation change.


Yigal Adato: 33:42 Well said man, what can they find, The Florida Association were
to join or do they go?


Josh Davis: 33:48 So our website, floridapawnbrokers.net has some basic information on that. There’s a form on there in which they can submit their membership. My information, my email address, there’s a contact page, goes directly to me. I do try to answer those inquiries immediately if I can, try to recruit new members, but it’s not just a pay your dues, okay you’re a member. Stay active, meet other pawnbrokers. Meet your local community representatives who make your loss, who go to Tallahassee and our state capital and can affect the way you do business. Tell them about your family. Tell us about your staff. Tell them how you pay your taxes, how you help other people keep their, their livelihoods and their homes in tax. It’s important.


Yigal Adato: 34:37 Awesome. So this is a quick fire round. I know you’ve traveled around a lot, you’ve seen a lot of pawn shops, you work with the NPA, you’re on the board quickly, what are the two biggest mistakes pawnbrokers are making in 2018? It’s 2018. What are the two biggest mistakes that they’re making that they need to change right away?


Josh Davis: 34:57 Awesome. Not being digital social media. I mean that is the top number one, it’s so many pawnbrokers who are still just have a sign on their front, front door just as pawnshop. No one knows who they are. There’s a large majority of people that are going mobile. Everybody is attached to their phones. I know I am. I’m sure everybody listening to this as their phone in their hand, they’re probably watching this on their phones. Need to advertise. You know, whether you’re paying for Google ads or some generic form of advertising using craigslist. There’s so many platforms out there that you can use to advertise your inventory and yourself to get out there. That is the number one-


JYigal Adato: 35:42 And the second one? Number two?


Josh Davis: 35:46 Number two, we really need to change the way that we do business in a lot of people are. Someone walks through the front door. Your first thing is good morning, how are you? You know, I still walk into other businesses whether it’s pawnshop or not, but what do you want? You’re not even greeted. It’s a lot of the large chains. I’ll walk into a Value Pawn, Cash American and shop them around and I’ll be there 10 minutes not one person has said, hi, can I help you? And I’m the only one in the store. They make up a large chunk of us. It’d be tough to get to those public companies, but, everybody else needs to understand that, that the marketplace has changed. People know they can shop around if they walk into your store and they don’t feel warm and welcome and especially in south Florida, they’re going to walk out the front door and they could probably walk to another pawnshop or right down the road,we are plentiful down here. There’s a lot of competition and competition is healthy and it’s good, but there’s nothing wrong with treating your customer with respect and dignity and let them know that you’re there to help them. You appreciate them.


Yigal Adato: 36:55 Nice man. Thank you so much for your knowledge, Josh. Thanks
for being on the show today. I appreciate you, man.


Josh Davis: 37:00 Yeah, thank you. I’m glad you’re doing this. It’s, you know, someone needs to take it above and beyond just the association level and share the knowledge in the industry. It’s I look forward to seeing how you can grow this podcast.


Yigal Adato: 37:13 Thank you so much. And if you guys want to continue listening, pawnbrokers, first of all, thank you so much for taking the time to listen. If you want to continue the conversation, go to facebook and go to the Pawn Leaders Podcast community where I’m sure I’m going to put Josh and so we can answer any questions after this interview. Also, if you’re interested in joining a group of like minded pawn brokers who are taking their businesses and their lives to the next level, go to pawnleaders.com, thanks again and stay tuned for the next episode of the Pawn Leaders podcast.




Josh Davis, the owner of GC Pawn, utilizes technology to drive his pawn store. As a third-generation pawnbroker, he has gained extensive knowledge from his family and currently has 7 stores. He shares his own experiences and advises us on running a successful business.


[00:38] Josh was born and raised in New York, 3rd generation pawnbroker, started working early at the front desk and learned behind the scenes business from his father



[00:53] Josh has a degree in Computer Engineering and Mathematics and is a Cellist



[01:02] In 2008, Josh and his brother Adam opened their 1st pawnshop in South Florida at 22 years old. The operations was expanded to 7 locations



[01:11] Josh recently, independently, developed in-house pawnshop software for his company to use



[01:23] He currently serves as president of the Florida Pawnbroker Association, board member of the NPA’s young professionals and board member of his local city’s civil service board



[02:45] Florida is governed by Florida statute 539. Florida law allows up to 25% per month per pawn loan, pawn loan good for 60 days with payments due every 30 days (all purchases are to be held for 30 days rather than 60 days). Any number of extensions can be made and items can be redeemed whenever



[03:48] Most of Josh’s family was involved in the pawnbroker business. He became involved as well



[04:31] Once Josh became interested in technology, he started working in the back-office with his father dealing with network systems



[05:27] Josh was destined to be in the pawn industry. He however was interested in the technological aspect, and therefore integrated this in his pawnbroker business



[07:06] GC Pawn was opened in July 2008



[07:59] The business included Josh, his brother and his father [08:29] Josh expanded the business which was a step from store 1 to store 2 (this was a year and a half after the 1st store)



[09:09] Store 3 was difficult because recruitment of staff had to be done



[10:00] The store was opened for 6 days (Monday – Saturday). However, he would have opened on Sundays as well if he had to make the decision again. This started when the fourth store was opened



[10:50] What’s been the hardest thing running a pawnshop? “Work, Life, Balance. Very tough




[11:05] Josh looks at prioritizing, by canceling other engagements in order to run the shop




[11:57] The family’s success/business model taught Josh to make smart business and investment decisions, thus expanding; where he tried for at least 1 new store a year




[14:34] Josh believed in properly branding the business




[14:52] “You go to any state and any city and you see the same stores, the same logo and you know them. You know whether you want to go there or you don’t want to go there




[15:12] He was able to use the digital space for advertising




[15:45] He changed the business name from ‘Golden Connection’ to ‘GC Pawn’ and the business name is used as the url address so customers can easily locate business info when searching online




[19:00] What’s been the secret to GC Pawn finding great talent? The company has utilized various methods to find talented staff (headhunter.com, trade shows, Craigslist,monster.com)




[20:16] It’s not all about the money. People want to work in an environment where they are respected and are appreciative of the people around them [21:52] “We’ve tried to always convince people to stop smoking




[26:24] What’s been the best part of this whole journey for you? “I don’t really have to buy new stuff”




[30:51] The main objective of the Florida Pawn Association is to monitor and lobby for legal legislations that might negatively affect the pawn industry




[33:48] To join the Florida Pawnbroker Association, or get any information regarding the association, visit floridapawnbrokers.net




[34:56] What are the 2 biggest mistakes pawnbrokers are making in 2018? “Not being digital on social media… we really need to change the way that we do business




[35:50] “Someone walks through the front door, the first thing is ‘good morning’, ‘how are you?’” 


[36:22] Pawnbrokers need to realize that the competition is plentiful and customers will go elsewhere if they don’t feel comfortable in your store

Yigal Adato

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

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