Pawn Shop That Wants the Finer Things

Pawning doesn’t exactly bring to mind the country’s richest Americans. But is banking on the growing pawn industry, and catering to the high-net worth crowd.

The industry saw a boon during the downturn as bank lending tightened. Ultrapawn CEO George Souri said the concept allows owners to trade in their luxury items for cash from the comfort of their homes.

“Businesses a lot of time when they have liquidity needs, tend to sell off their assets,” George Souri, Ultrapawn CEO said. “there wasn’t a similar thing for that for the high-end, luxury consumer where if they wanted to take an asset of value and sell it off for cash or liquidity purposes.”

Souri told that the current pawn model is “fundamentally flawed.” Ultrapawn is done entirely online, and backed by Chicago-based private equity firm Altria.

Deals from Ultrapawn include Cartier watches, $100,000 worth of Sapphire jewelry and an antique Louis Armstrong sculpture that Souri said a business owner traded in to make his company’s payroll.

“The guy brought it in [because] the bank had not extended his credit line and he needed to make payroll,” he said. “We gave him a loan, he was able to make payroll and continue on with his business.”

And the popularity of pawning on television shows like “Pawn Stars” is only helping the business, he said.

“Pawning as an industry is starting to become more noteable in the market, we wanted to provide the luxury two percent consumer a place to turn their assets into cash with the customer service they are accustomed to getting,” he said.