The Pawn Kings

Since its inception in 1988,every day has been exciting for the Harrison family.

Written by Afsha Khan | Published: March 30, 2012 3:09 am

Tell us a bit about your family and the pawn shop.

My father Richard Harrison and I opened the establishment as a 24-hour shop in Las Vegas. Today,we run the shop along with my son Corey and his friend. Every day we meet people who like to pawn their stuff either to make money or as collateral for loan. The shop attracts thousands of tourists each day because of the rare items available.

How long has your shop been around?

We’re now in our 24th year. We opened the shop in 1988.

What’s the biggest advantage of owning a shop of this nature in Las Vegas as opposed to any other American city?

Las Vegas is Sin City. People come here to gamble and are

always looking to pawn their stuff for quick cash. It’s an advantage to own a shop here. That said,there’s a lot of competition around with many other shops,some of which are owned by large,corporate chains with deep pockets. My store has beautiful showcases and is always very clean. It also helps that we are open 24 hours. Sometimes people need money in the middle of the night and they don’t want to stop partying,so they come to us.

It’s refreshing to see a show set in Vegas that isn’t about hotels,clubs and gambling in Sin City. What do you think viewers of your show will find most entertaining?

It’s our business that makes us entertaining — we get all sorts of stuff here,from an ordinary fake Swiss watch to a bizarre rifle used in World War I. Every single object has a story to tell. That’s also the best thing about our job — you never know what can come in through the door. Everyday is different. After we assess the value,we negotiate a good deal with the seller.

You have been in the business for so long. Tell us about the most interesting items people have tried to pawn off.

From an engraved whale’s tooth to a sunken treasure of the dynasty that built the Taj Mahal,we have seen a fair share of historic and obscure items come through the pawn shop. I also pawned a buffalo head a few days ago.

What kind of customers do you receive?

I have a series of regulars,including gamblers,pimps,billionaires and men who walk in sometimes to impress their dates.

What do you like the most about your business?

Fight nights,when hundreds of thousands of fans flood Las Vegas to bet on boxing.

What’s the toughest part of your business?

I have to make sure that goods aren’t stolen. Most people don’t realise how regulated the pawn industry is and it’s part of the Patriot Act. The data goes to a central database online across the United States,which checks for stolen items.

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