Tri-Cities star pawns find their way into musical gear

In the music equipment market? Ed and Moe’s Pawn Shop & Guitar Bar is one store you’ll want to put on your list.

It offers typical pawn shop items – electronics, power tools, jewelry, collectibles – but Ed and Moe’s places particular emphasis on providing a comprehensive inventory of used musical instruments, equipment audio and a range of new accessories, including in-house made guitar effects pedals. .

“Think of it like a salad bar,” said owner Russel Del Gesso. “We sell guitars, amps, strings, cables, tunings, repairs, setups, a quiet room to test it out, an open floor where you can pick it up and play it. It’s more than guitars, just music in general.

While it’s not unusual for pawnshops to sell music equipment, specializing in selling them is unique.

“Tri-Cities is definitely a hotbed for music, live musical performances, karaoke and more. He’s got the foundation here, he’s alive and well here,” Del Gesso said.

“Live music and entertainment is something I’ve always really enjoyed…we want to provide another avenue to continue. Ed and Moe’s is one more avenue for musicians, artists and beginners to choose an instrument and get started – an affordable place to be able to offer it to everyone.

How it works

Due to their second-hand nature, stores like Ed’s and Moe’s sell at a discount and are even considering deals.

Although the concept of pawning dates back thousands of years, the popularity of pawnshops has declined with the proliferation of payday loan shops.

Pawnshops acquire their inventory from those looking to sell abandoned items, exchanges and pawnshops. A pawnbroker is secured by using an object as collateral.

For example, someone short on $100 might walk into a pawn shop with an item and ask if they will lend them money in return. Assuming this is the case, the person pledges the item as security.

In Washington, the item can be kept for up to 90 days, during which time the person who pledged it can return and refund the $100, plus 4% fixed APR, to get their item back.

If 90 days pass and the person doesn’t have enough money to repay the loan, but they still want their item, they can pay the interest and rewrite the loan, starting a new 90-day cycle on the initial amount.

A person can rewrite their token as many times as they wish.

If, however, they choose to give up the item or simply never return, by law the item is sacrificed as collateral for the loan and the pawnbroker can then sell it.

“We take the risk of getting that money back; we’re out for as long as it takes to get the money back,” Del Gesso said.

The crucial difference between pawn loans and those offered by payday lenders and banks is that with pawns, there is no credit report in case of default. Nor is there a loan application anchored in the credit rating.

“That has been our primary mission,” Del Gesso said. “Provide a service to people who don’t have a mortgage or a car with real value; people going through divorce or bankruptcy proceedings (for example), we provide them with a financial solution that they may not have from a bank.

He said customers have been resourceful in their use of pawns to secure funding for business start-ups, home renovations and other major expenses.

“People don’t think about the value of everyday objects,” he said.

Despite the unique service, pawnshops have long been stigmatized as lairs of criminal activity where stolen goods are offloaded.

Stricter regulation of pawnbrokers, including daily reporting of acquired inventory to a national database accessible by law enforcement, has reduced trafficking in stolen goods.

Del Gesso said that while Ed and Moe’s work closely with the Kennewick Police Department to thwart thieves and reunite stolen items with rightful owners, there are many peer-to-peer resale platforms (like Facebook Marketplace and Offerup), which can help find lost items. more difficult, if not impossible.

He said he and Tony Sanders, owner of Ace Jewelry and Loan, are doing what they can to “help create an extra layer of security for our community.”

Growth potential

Store legend says Ed & Moe’s was started in Seattle in the 1920s by two men named Ed and Moe who opened a beachfront bath and laundromat and later expanded into making loans on pawn for clothes.

Family friend Paul Plugoff, owner of Ed & Moe’s pawn shop in Yakima, is said to have purchased the business from Ed and Moe’s descendants.

Del Gesso, a Central Washington University graduate in business management and organization, saw growth potential at Ed & Moe’s and decided to buy in 2007.

In 2008 he branched out independently into the 600 square foot building now occupied by Just Joel’s in Kennewick.

A decade later, Ed and Moe’s moved to its current 3,300 square foot location at 419 W. Entiat Ave., Suite C, in Kennewick, next to Ace Jewelry and Loan, the only other pawnshop in Tri – Cities.

“It’s not uncommon for similar businesses to coexist… think about when you go to buy a car… centralizing business is actually good for the consumer base,” Del Gesso said.

The owners of two former local pawnbrokers, Kennewick’s Blue Bridge Pawn and Pasco’s Trading Post, have both cashed in in recent years, he said.

Del Gesso said he barely managed Ed & Moe’s, employing a staff of four.

“I’m very lucky to have very good employees… (we) always see that as a building block; how can I help them take it to the next level? How can I help them start their own business? “

Jay Valdez, who has worked at Ed and Moe for eight years, said the best part of working there is “learning to work with so many different items – you can’t like just one thing – you have to. know a little about a lot.”

Lalo Ruiz, who has been in the store for about two months, said, “It’s cool to see regular customers coming in…you’re encouraged to talk to everyone and learn about people.” He added that the best part of the job is to “make an impression and make someone’s day”.

Quoting the popular History Channel series, “Pawn Stars,Del Gesso said, “You never know what’s going to come through that door.”

Valdez said one of the strangest was a laundry basket filled with crosses, at the bottom of which was a mysterious toilet box. It ended up being full of used cotton swabs.

“It was awkward,” he said.

“The fun thing is always seeing repeat customers and we try to convert everyone to buyers at some point – converting people in need to people who no longer need them but have just come back from of their own free will to be a continuing customer,” said Del Gesso.

Look for Ed and Moe’s Pawn Shop & Guitar Bar: 419 W. Entiat Ave., Suite C, Kennewick; 509-586-7560, Facebook, instagram. Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

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