By Michele Gross -
It was a hot, dry July day in Las Vegas, my first day of work at SuperPawn. I’d never entered a pawn shop before in my life and here I was working for a multi-state pawn shop chain. I was hired as Director of Human Resources, clearly an office job and proudly showed up for my first day dressed as such wearing my high heeled pumps and dry clean only dress fresh out of the plastic cleaners bag. It was suggested that I actually go to one of the shops to get a feel for them which would inform my recruiting and hiring model. Sure! I’m nothing if not open for new experiences.
Fast forward 28 years. I’ve been in the industry as an employee, and a co-owner and partner every day since. What I’ve learned in those 28 years humbles me upon every reflection of the person I’ve become because of my interaction with thousands of people in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Second hand or used goods come in and are evaluated for use, having all the necessary parts, working condition and value. Often, the people who bring the merchandise have been evaluated by our society as well. But for me, my customers always had value just because they were my customers who became my family. I’ve held hands with my customer at the funeral of her mother. I hugged my customer when her mom was put in assisted living due to the pandemic. I’ve high-fived customers who made it through their drug rehab program. I’ve patiently listened as my customer related how scared she was seeing her barely recognizable brother in the intensive care unit at the hospital after being savagely stabbed. I’ve cheered on my customer who was on oxygen and couldn’t walk from the parking lot to the store entrance who now walks a full mile, sometimes faster than me!
I’ve spent my work career seeing people, listening to people and loving people. I’ve worked in the second-hand industry with many people who feel and have been treated as though they are merchandise that has been used but in my mind and in my heart they are more valuable than any new merchandise. The best thing about pawn merchandise and my pawn family is it's good stuff and it still works!