Jack and Dick's Jewelry and Loan celebrates 50 years in business

By Jan Kimbrell

Junction City Daily Union, April 20, 2008

 

In the early 1950s, P.H. (Jack) and R.A. (Dick) Gooldy were working in the bowling alley business —they owned Pla-Mor Bowling Alley in the 100 block of West Ninth Street. They were also involved in running the Plaza Speedway, at its original location high atop J-Hill.

At the time it was not unusual to see several pawnshops in a military town. Junction City was certainly no different. Jack and Dick became familiar with the pawn business and formulated their own ideas for success. It was not long before they started to search for a suitable location to establish their own business.

On July 30, 1958, the Gooldys entered into an agreement with John Rago to lease the building at 1434 N Washington St., which they later purchased, and the business known as Jack & Dick’s Jewelry and Loan was launched.

The entire business community of the 1950s and 1960s was dependent on the military population, and that fit right in with the original plan. Paydays back in those days were usually only once a month and many people found themselves running a little short of cash before the next payday. For temporarily securing a loan with collateral, the customer signed a note agreeing to repay the loan within a certain amount of time with interest assessed. Pawnshops handled the small loans that banks didn’t want to handle.

According to grandson, Jack L. Gooldy, the loan amounts in the early years were $10, $20 or $30 and the loans were originally written for 30 days. There has long been a misconception about “hocked” merchandise being stolen property. “That is just not the case” stated Gooldy. “Actually, only about 1 in 500 items pawned turn out to be stolen. Eighty-five percent (at least) of pawned items are redeemed by the original customer. Some of the most unusual items pawned and redeemed, Gooldy continued, included gold teeth, a pet skunk, an Indian war staff, frozen meat, a coffin, an electronic voice vibrator for a throat cancer patient, and even a glass eye.”

Grandson Chris Mathis also mentioned accepting a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card, a five-carat diamond ring, a 1953 Fender Telecaster electric guitar (valued at $15,000) and a 1957 Chevy. All were redeemed as well.

Of course, the store has always welcomed customers from all over the area. The store also had a plentiful supply of merchandise for sale, often at discount prices. According to Gooldy, the best selling item has always been jewelry but over the years, merchandising trends have changed.

Transistor radios, black and white portable Tvs, and guns were popular items in the earliest of days. Stereo equipment and color Tvs were next. Musical instruments have been offered since the beginning. In the 1980s, the video game revolution took over with Nintendo leading the way. Also, CDs replaced vinyl records, 8-tracks, and cassettes. VHS recorded movies gave way to DVDs.

State laws have also changed regarding interest rates and storage dates for loan collateral. Initially being able to charge 25 percent interest and required to hold collateral for 30 days, the state changed the laws for all pawnshops to reduce the rate to 10 percent and increase retention dates to 90 days. This change prompted the Gooldys to add on to their original structure and redesign the interior to meet the new requirements.

The Gooldys were always involved in the business community and respected by community leaders. They were best known for the rapport with the customers who came into their store. The customers were always treated fairly and respectfully. They had a lot of repeat customers as a result. Employees at the store also shared that ethic and the business has remained popular to this day.

Some of the employees who worked in the store included Jock Rausch, Aubrey Sterling, Butch Henry, Bill Ponton, Ollie Thomas, and most recently Tom Henderson and Willie Proutt. Jock Rausch remembers the long hours the store was open. Six days a week, the store was open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. The “guys split the shifts, including the owners. Everybody worked hard” Rausch said.

Jack and Dick’s has always been a family-owned and managed store. Joining the store throughout the 50 years have been grandsons Jack and Jay Gooldy and Chris Mathis. Mrs. Charlene Gooldy, Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Beth (Gooldy) Mathis have all led the store in the spirit of the original owners.

A solid business model was started in 1958 that stands today. The fluctuating population at the fort always affected local businesses, but Jack and Dick’s has found ways to keep going. Many stores have come and gone. Once there were 10 such stores in the area. Now there are only two in Junction City.

There is a lot of pride driving down n. Washington Street and seeing that familiar original neon sign watching over the business, and knowing that, while some things have changed, the original idea continues. “Many thanks to the customers who have supported Jack and Dick’s over the years” shared grandson, Chris Mathis.