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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Pawn Stars

More than one century ago, Moses Goldman founded Goldman’s Pawn Shop, beginning a tradition that has continued onto its fifth-generation owner.

“For many years, the Goldmans have kept Evansville and Evansville has kept the Goldmans,” says Rachael Goldman, reworking a Jewish adage to describe the relationship begun in 1898.

She is the fifth-generation Goldman who manages the shop she calls “a phenomenally fantastic place to work.” Her father, Bob, is the fourth-generation owner. Both daughter and father work the shop, located at 107 S.E. Fourth St., six days a week.

At the pawn shop, buyers look for bargains and sellers look for cash on the spot. Other customers leave collateral for small to large loans, and come back to redeem their property more than 80 percent of the time.

How is value determined? For fine jewelry, the appraiser checks the commodity market for precious metals, determines a replacement cost, and decides “how much can I sell it for as second-hand?” The unicycle Rachael once accepted might have been a challenge, but the customer wanted only a small loan and quickly redeemed his property.

Goldman’s offers full service for jewelry, including repair and restoration, and full service and repairs for guitars, too. “Just about every day someone will try out a guitar or a keyboard, or maybe an amp,” says Rachael, and for a while, there’s live music. It could be somebody famous. Peter Frampton, John Paul Jones, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and James Taylor all have been there. The pawn shop staffs 10 employees, including Rachael’s younger sister Andrea. Marvin Daniels, who has worked there for more than 40 years, plays guitar, repairs instruments, and restores jewelry.

A customer review on the website says walking into Goldman’s was like walking into the 1940s. Unique items among the “gold, guns, and guitars” are one of the first oscillating fans ever made, a Nightingale guitar made in Evansville — and some rare business practices.

“We have computers,” Rachael pointed out, but if the power would go out, there would be no loss of critical information. “I still have carbon paper, and all transactions are recorded in a numbered system.” Goldman’s also claims “the lowest interest rates of any pawn shop in the state” at about half what is allowable, and property is held six months instead of the required 90 days.

“I’ve always been proud to work here, and committed to treating people respectfully and with courtesy,” says Rachael. “I’m just happy that we are known as a good place to do business.”

For more information about Goldman’s Pawn Shop, call 812-423-9631 or visit goldmanspawnshop.com.

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