Elgin council to discuss allowing city’s second pawn shop
By Mike Danahey email@example.com June 11, 2012 4:08PM
Updated: July 13, 2012 6:11AM
ELGIN — The city is on track to have a second pawn shop in town.
City Council members are scheduled on Wednesday to discuss approving a conditional use permit, one of two remaining steps the business needs to open, Community Development Director Marc Mylott said Monday,
According to supporting material for the meeting, EZPAWN Illinois Inc., intends to lease the vacant commercial building at 1460 Main Lane, within the Town and Country Shopping Center under the name Easy Cash Solutions. The site near Route 20 and McLean Boulevard has held several restaurants over the years, including Trefon’s.
The terms of the conditional use agreement prohibit the pawn shop from trading in weapons, ammunition, explosives of any kind or antique or inoperable weapons and ammo. It cannot trade in regulated drug and/or smoking related paraphernalia of any kind, either, nor store goods outdoors.
The pawn shop also can’t offer additional financial services that are not customary and traditional to a pawn shop, including fee-based check cashing, payday loans, vehicle title loans and currency exchange services. Easy Cash Solutions would be allowed to deal in items such as jewelry, musical instruments, electronics and other personal property.
If the council grants conditional use, the next step would be to vote on a license for the pawn shop.
In September 2010, the council amended the city’s municipal code, removing pawn shops from a list of prohibited land uses and adopted an ordinance regulating pawn shops through a licensing program which limited it to Windy City Jewelry & Loan. That first pawn shop to operate in Elgin opened in January 2011 on North Mclean near Abbott Drive.
In an interview last year, owner Lee Amberg explained the pawning process to The Courier-News. Customers take out loans for 60 days each and give a shop merchandise as collateral to guarantee that loan. If the customer doesn’t pay off the loan, the merchandise becomes the property of the shop and is set out for sale in the shop’s showroom.
Amberg said his shop’s charge for those loans is 3 percent interest per month. The shop doesn’t even check on the customer’s credit history, and, if they default on the loan, that is not reported to the credit bureaus either. Windy City also charges a fee to cover the cost of storing and insuring each item, which varies according to the item.
Customers must present photo identification, and the serial number of each item is recorded. According to Amberg, “nationwide, only one one-thousandth of 1 percent of stolen items show up in a pawn shop.”