Doc’s Pawn Shop is planning to move from its current location at 224 Main St. to the Dollarway neighborhood because fewer people are shopping at downtown stores, owner Michael Kelley said.
“We are moving into a new space that will be three times larger than this building,” Kelley said. “We have no traffic because downtown has no traffic. Our inventory is the most it’s ever been. I don’t hardly have a spot to put anything.”
Counting himself fortunate to have loyal customers, Kelley said his staff will be moving into 4323 Dollarway Road in mid-August. Many of his loyal customers know about his impending move, Kelley said.
“I am loyal to my customers, and my customers are loyal to me,” he said.
Doc’s Pawn Shop opened in 1946 and has been a mainstay in Pine Bluff because of its success in attracting customers and maintaining them throughout the years, Kelley said. Doc’s has been in continual operation since first owner Owen Marshall, second owner Luther Krannichfeld, and Kelley, who bought the business in 1981.
The store makes its business through providing loans to customers who need cash, repairing jewelry and selling a multitude of merchandise. The merchandise includes electronics, instruments, memorabilia, bicycles and collectibles.
“I am hoping our move will be good for our business,” Kelley said. “People who need money can come here for a loan. They need money to pay bills, gasoline, groceries or diapers.”
“You come in drop off your item and borrow $50,” he said. “You have 30 days to pick up your item. If you do not pick it up within 30 days, the item becomes mine.”
The customer pays a storage and interest fee on those loans, he said. People who are desperate for cash do not go to banks but come to pawn shops instead, he said.
Yet Kelley offers a grace period to customers to pay their debts on loans.
“Times are tough right now, and we work with our customers,” Kelley said.
Regular customer Terry Urquhart came to Doc’s on Thursday looking to pick up vintage televisions and converters. Urquhart said he will remain a loyal customer at Doc’s in its new location.
“I come to sell, buy and be around here in general,” Urquhart said. “[Today] I came here to pick up items that are past due, and I am glad he gave me extra time to get them back. … I tried to get in as quickly as I can. … He is very respectful to anyone who comes in here.”
Doc’s manager Lulu White knows many customers by name, as a result of seeing them during the 13 years she has worked there. A big part of the job is customer relations and listening to their input. Doc’s accepts items that many other pawn shops do not accept, she said.
Moving to Dollarway will have positive and negative aspects, she said.
“We’ve been in this location for so long, and we have many repeat customers,” White said. “Once we move to Dollarway, we will get more clientele.”