Pawn Shops vs. Pawn Stars

Pawnshops battle television image


Junction City Sunday Union, March 31, 1985


Twenty-seven years of service to the same town would seem to speak for itself, but even now, Jerry Mathis and Dick Gooldy, co-owners of Jack and Dick’s Cut Rate Pawn Shop, still find their business stereotyped by television portrayals of crookedness and constant dealings with illegal or stolen property.

“What they (the public) know about pawnshops is what they see on television. To be crooked in a pawnshop would be very difficult,” Mathis said.

Almost everyone has visited a pawnshop at one time or another yet little is known about the actual interaction of the shop and services they offer, unless you’re a regular customer.

According to Mathis and Gooldy, pawnshops have more regulations governing their transactions than any other business in town. Every transaction a pawnshop makes has to be documented, and a ticket of the transaction is sent to the Junction City Police Department. In addition to ticketing each transaction, sellers or pawners of merchandise are required to show positive identification.

“Any known felon would be crazy to take it (a stolen item) to a pawn shop,” Mathis said.

In the early ’70s one pawnshop owner sold an item on pawn before the waiting period was up, causing action to be taken against pawnshop owners in general. Laws that were being written then to regulate the pawnshops would have eventually put them out of business, according to Mathis. This was when a group of owners formed the Pawn Brokers Association to help protect their rights as businessmen.

“(The pawnshop owners) decided to have a pawnshop law that protected us as well as the public,” Jack Gooldy, original co-owner said.

Jack and Dick’s shop is the oldest one in town and has been at the same corner since 1958 when Jack Gooldy and his son Dick formed a partnership. The original idea was to build a Laundromat, according to Jack Gooldy, but a pawnshop seemed more appealing. Jack Gooldy retired from the shop in 1975 and his son-in-law, Mathis, became co-owner.

Over the past years, the Gooldys have seen laws written to govern the transactions of pawn shops across the state, other pawnshops in town come and go and the type of merchandise being pawned changes as technology changes.

The most frequently pawned items now are portable radios, also known as “ghetto blasters.” When a customer comes in and needs a small amount of cash quickly, the pawnshop becomes a loan department for up to $300, according to state law.

The item is then kept on pawn for 30 days, with a 10 percent service charge. Legally, the pawnshop has to hold the items for an additional 60 days and then it can be put out to sell.

Jack and Dick’s handles nearly all types of merchandise, but they have seen their limits — such as one gentleman who tried to pawn a rather large snake. Another unusual item, according to Mathis, was a skunk that someone tried to pawn many years ago. He also knew of another pawnshop that would allow one customer to pawn his false teeth over a weekend, because they knew he was a regular.

“People have tried to pawn a little bit of everything,” Willie Proutt, employee of Jack and Dick’s, said.

Mike Stanton