If you’ve watched Pawn Stars on the History Channel, you might think you have a good idea about how a pawn shop operates, but then again, maybe you don’t.
Michael McArthur, owner of Pelican Pawn, Lac La Biche’s newest venture into the pawnshop business, may have a surprise for you. His shop, located at 10117-101 avenue just below his pool hall, offers more than you might expect. From brand new to used or, as Mike says, re-purposed items for sale, Pelican Pawn’s stock is unique and continually changing. Of course, you will find ordinary things that any pawn shop would offer for sale – musical instruments, tools, and stereo equipment, but in between all of that, you will find some outstanding pieces of art, antiques, and taxidermy pieces. Once in a while, you might find something special, like a rare guitar or even a Mercedes Benz, for sale.
McArthur says the idea to open a pawn shop was seeded by the need to fill rental space in his building, but there is more to it than that. He talks about growing up in Red Deer, where his family owns and operates a museum and how his mother inspired his need to collect things of interest. He also talks about how art is important to his family and that he has collected a lot of it over the years.
A Few Dollars More…
Underlying all of this, Mike is pleased that he can offer a service to the community. “Some folks just need a small loan or a few dollars to make ends meet. If they can pawn something and then get it back when they have money available, it’s win-win”. He also points out that most people do come back to get their merchandise.
Yes, the occasional shady customer wants to sell something that appears to be stolen, and McArthur works with the police whenever this situation arises.
A Story to Tell
What does Mike like best about the business? He quickly points out that he enjoys selling used merchandise to people who would never be able to buy the same thing new. He also says that every item for sale in his store has a story to tell, and when customers sell, pawn or buy something, they have a conversation and share that story. “Conversation, says Mike, is becoming a lost art.” And that might be the real hidden gem at Pelican Pawn.
Visit Pelican Pawn from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Saturday.