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Pawn Business Booms As Economy Softens

By ABC-7 Reporter Martin Bartlett

EL PASO — Turns out people are letting go of items, some with sentimental value, just to make ends meet in these tough economic times.

Miguel de Cervantes ought to know: he just pawned off his wedding band.

“For my ring, I only got 50 bucks,” he said. “I’m going to go buy some food, some groceries or other things I need like toilet paper. I’ve gotta survive.”

Saul Frank, owner of Benny’s Pawn Shop, says the bad economic news is a mixed blessing for his business.

“Cash just isn’t flowing as freely as it wassix months or a year ago,” he said. “We’re making loans, it’s going out but on the other hand our sales are slow.”

As the credit market tightens, more people who have never had to use a pawn shop before may turn to pawn shops for financing. That’s a legacy that may last even beyond the current credit crunch.

“If you just come in you’ll find out how nice of people we really are,” he said.

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