By: Beth Reasonover Hart
Chances are you’ve driven by a few pawnshops before, either in your hometown or while on vacation. You will see them in various parts of any city. Whether your first introduction to a pawnshop is with us at Bradford’s Pawn & Gun, watching the documentaries on the History Channel, or when you’ve purchased or pawned something yourself, pawn shops have been around for centuries!
The question — “Just what is a pawnshop, and what can I find in there?” — may have come to mind. To best answer your question, let’s begin with the history of pawnshops. As mankind’s oldest financial institution, pawn loans can be traced back at least 3,000 years to ancient China as well as early Greek and Roman civilizations. During the 14th century, King Edward III of England is said to have frequently visited pawnshops in Europe. Reportedly, Queen Isabella pawned her royal jewels to finance Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World.
Pawnbrokers, often working independently, would offer short-term loans to the working class. This trend continued until the civilizations of Ancient Greece and Rome made this design more recognized. There, citizens would seek loans to begin their business or pay for work equipment. These new business owners would pay back their collateral and interest once their businesses took off.
Nowadays, pawnshops are used by people from all walks of life to secure quick and recourse-free financing. Consumers routinely rely on pawnbrokers to help meet daily financial needs not offered by banks. Pawn customers represent the working families of America, who from time to time experience an unanticipated need for short-term funds. Pawn loans help keep the electricity on, the rent paid, and cars running with full tanks of gas. Today’s pawn stores are attractive, welcoming places to do business. Like us at Bradford’s, most of them are family-owned and operated stores that offer first-class customer service with easy and simple pawn agreements.
If you need cash quickly and have high-value items, you should consider a pawnshop. Unlike going to the bank and seeking a loan that is credit-based and might take hours to complete, pawnshops provide recourse-free loans that can be completed in minutes. That means, if you take out a collateral-based loan at a pawnshop and default (meaning you don’t come back to reclaim your item), there is no credit consequence like a ding on your credit report!
What do I need to do to pawn an item? You must have a valid government issued ID. Next, you need collateral so we can lend you money. We accept a wide range of items including firearms, gold jewelry, electronics, and other merchandise at a payment cost agreed upon by both the parties. And, when you pay back the loan, your property is returned to you. If for whatever reason you choose not to redeem your property, the item is sold at value price to retail customers.
Pawnshops are growing in popularity. And it’s no secret anymore as many turn to pawnshops to retail old items or find a bargain on gently used merchandise like guns, jewelry, wedding rings, and tools. In the United States alone, there were over 9,000 pawnshops as of August 2021.
Guns & Ammo
Have you noticed more and more talk of first-time gun ownership and constitutional carry in the news lately? It may be because of the rise in popularity in shooting sports across America. Or, it could be the rise in crime due to politics and beyond has created fear in people that they might have to protect themselves. Whether that fear is substantiated or not, hearing about increased crime on the news and radio the last two years has created the natural reaction for many to learn how to shoot.
What has stood out about the increase in first-time buyers has been the remarkable increase in gun ownership among women and young adults. More and more people are not just “panic buying” but they’re actually learning how to shoot and enjoying the sport. Fear of violence and learning a new hobby are not mutually exclusive. You can buy for self-defense and learn to become a marksman too.
At Bradford’s we have seen numerous customers who become first-time gun owners as they seek a means to defend their home. But then, that same customer discovers they actually enjoy shooting as a hobby and go on to teach the whole family firearm safety. We have enjoyed getting to know so many new customers as they discover the world of target shooting, hunting, or just becoming a new collector.
Bradford’s is not just an old-fashioned pawnshop. We stock one of the largest selections of new and used firearms inventories in North Alabama. For over 33 years, we have set the standard for first-class customer service and product selection. In addition to finding the latest model firearms from brands such as Kimber, SigSauer, Springfield, Glock, you’ll also find the rare classics from Smith & Wesson, Colt, Ruger, and many more discontinued items from the past. Whether you’re a lifelong collector or a new shooting enthusiast, our selection is certain to impress.
Our gunsmith, Marty Bates, is arguably the finest gunsmith in North Alabama. He has a total of 38 years in gunsmith work. His experience and knowledge of the industry has led customers to drive from all over the region for his craftsmanship. Marty specializes in repair and armorer work. He also performs custom Cerakote and customizations. Call Marty before taking a dysfunctional firearm to the range or field.
At Bradford’s we are continually looking for ways to improve your experience in our store. We have recently given the exterior of our building a facelift, and we have plans to expand our firearm displays to give you a more customer-friendly way to shop. We are also excited to learn that Old Black Bear Brewery will be our new neighbors in 2022. We invite your family to check us out in beautiful downtown Athens – located just south of the Square.
By: Beth Reasonover Hart