The owners of Wasatch Pawn, the newest pawn shop in Cache Valley, say they have a refreshing take on an age-old business.
“We’re not here to compete in the pawn shop industry,” said Benjamin Gochberg, co-owner of Wasatch Pawn. “We’re here to change it.”
On Sept. 27, Wasatch Pawn officially took over where Uncle Mike's Pawn left off. Owners Nathan Buckingham and Benjamin Gochberg want their customers to feel safe, cared for and generally positive about their experience — something Gochberg believes is uncommon in the industry today.
“People are scared of entering a pawn shop sometimes because they feel like it’s going to be an uncomfortable conversation, and you should not feel like that at all,” Gochberg said. “You should feel welcome, you should feel like things are clean and safe, and you should be engaged in conversation.”
Gochberg said there is a history of people who are involved with pawn shops for the wrong reasons, which can lead to occasional negative emotions that well up when people utilize pawn shop services.
Sometimes, those feelings come from external sources.
“Maybe you’re not at the best point in your life,” Buckingham said, explaining that sometimes pawn shop clients simply can't get their needs addressed at a bank. “So you’re probably coming into a pawn shop with some bad feelings.”
Gochberg said there’s a lot of room for pawn shop owners to be lazy with their pricing, leading customers to believe they are being gouged — a business practice they are adamant on not following. The owners also said they are working diligently to avoid purchasing or selling any stolen products — thoroughly checking all items through a database and maintaining records for three years.
“I’m double- and triple-checking everything, because it affects my livelihood,” Buckingham said.
Buckingham said he grew up around gun and pawn shops. As a child, he and his father would go to the Traders Den in Logan. Visiting with his father and the owner after-hours was a formative experience for Buckingham.
“Buying and selling guns and sporting goods,” Buckingham said, “it’s something I always wanted to do.”