BUSINESS

Nation's first online pawn shop a hit

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People looking to pawn a few items to make extra bucks are finding a pawn shop at a different type of address -- it starts with w-w-w and ends in dot com.

(Photo: Associated Press)

The nation's first web-based pawn shop, pawngo.com, started up this summer and has made nearly $3 million in loans and purchases.

In an online search, seeking a place to sell the wedding ring set for an engagement gone wrong, Gina Lenzi said she found pawngo.com and received a quote from a representative by phone.

She said the company paid for insured shipping, and then doubled the original quote when it received the rings.

Lenzi says her overall experience has made her a fan of the online pawning site -- where, unlike ebay.com, there's no cost to sell.

But National Pawnbrokers president Lisa Siegel says brick-and-mortar pawn shops like hers in Arlington can offer a more personal experience than any website.

"Everybody has a cash shortage at some point in their lives, and here we are to help them through that time," Siegel says. "In a very reasonable and professional manner."

Seigel adds that she believes her prices are just as competitive and customers are getting the best value for their item.

But the CEO of Pawngo says the average transaction through his website is around $2,000 -- compared to the average pawn shop transaction of about $150.

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