South Georgia pawn shops report struggling economy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia pawn shops report struggling economy

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

October 10, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - You don't need to look inside those jobless numbers or analyze the stock market to know the economy is suffering.

All you have to do is check out your local pawn shop. And we found all the signs of people having trouble paying their bills.

To get a clearer picture of the South Georgia economy on a personal level, don't check the Wall Street ticker, look at the Georgia Loan and Pawn storeroom. You see it is piled high with merchandise people have brought in to pawn because they need quick money, and they know the banks won't loan them any.

Owner Todd Faircloth says "With us doesn't matter what your credit is like. You can come in and borrow from us if you got merchandise."

Owner Todd Faircloth says since the end of the summer he has seen a tremendous increase in the number of people bringing items to pawn for cash.

He has piles of fancy auto wheels, speakers and stereo equipment for yards, racks and racks of guns, and folders full of rings and jewelry, luxury items that folks can do without.

 And Faircloth says those customers usually say they need the money for the same thing. "Gas. The price of gas is so high that everybody needs money to put in their car. It costs you $60 to $100 to fill up a vehicle. You do that once a week, it gets pretty costly."

And the numbers of professional construction tools in Faircloth's store shows signs the economic trouble is getting worse.

Faircloth said "Lot of construction folks coming in pawing tools, too." Why? "Out of work."

Pawn shop owners get a first hand, street level look at a community's economy, and they say right now it looks bad.

Faircloth said people are not buying as much at his store right now. They're worried about the future and are being cautious with their spending.

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