Slave Lake Pawn officially opened its doors to the public earlier this month on Aug. 8, 2016. Owners Shelly and Mike Bennett chatted with The Leader last week and gave an update on how things are going so far.
“We’ve had a lot of customer traffic in-and-out of the store,” says Shelly. “Even though there’s road construction, a lot of people are popping by to see what’s going on.”
The duo co-owns the business with Jack Porter, a seasoned pawn-shop owner.
“He ran his other shop down in High Prairie for around five years and has owned it for one,” says Mike.
Where did the idea come from to open a pawn shop?
“We already had a plan in place to open but to do it in a year and a half from now,” says Mike. “But one afternoon I was in Slave Lake and saw the building – we already had product and the price was great. It kind of all fell into place at that point.”
It’s been a whirlwind since then, which was about three months ago.
“Getting financial support from banks was difficult,” says Mike. “A lot of that had to do with opening up a pawn shop and the stigma. But the more they told us no, the more we were motivated to open,” adds Shelly.
But after securing private funds, the wheels were put into motion and in just a short amount of time the shop was up and running.
“We commute back and forth between Slave Lake and High Prairie, it’s tough but it’s the price you have to pay for good business,” laughs Mike. “The people in Slave Lake are wonderful; we really scored a great place to open.”
As previously mentioned, Mike, Shelly and Jack say they are trying to sway away from the ‘stigma’ attached to pawn shops.
“We’ve introduced ourselves to the RCMP and told them we’re a family orientated store,” says Mike. “We don’t want to get an ugly reputation like other pawn stores have, so we made sure we went through the right legal channels before opening.”
Sellers have to be 18 years and up and will have their picture taken upon selling.
“It’s an easier way to keep track of who sells us what just incase something ever happened and the police needed a description,” says Mike. “We’ll also be photocopying their drivers license or other photo ID.”
Although the aim is to be a lively hood off of the business, Shelly and Mike say they hope the store lend a hand to those in a tight squeeze.
“We’ve been in those types of situations,” says Mike. “So we know what it’s like. A big thing we want is to be able to help people who need some extra cash to get by.”
Hours of operation haven’t been set in stone as of yet – right now Slave Lake Pawn is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
“We have anything and everything,” says Shelly. “From video games to tools, we have it, and people are more than welcome to just stop by and chat!”