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CT Assc. of Pawnbrokers

National Assc. of Pawnbrokers

Chamber of Commerce

Jewelers Vigilance Committee



January 2011

CT Magazine: Here Today, Pawn Tomorrow

“We’re a family business,” says Jay Sargent, partner and general manager of TC’s Pawn Co. in Waterbury. As I walk around his 5,600-square-foot retail space on Lakewood Road, it’s certainly not what I’d expect of a pawnshop. It’s a bright, well-organized store, with shiny glass jewelry cases and orderly rows of DVDs and CDs. Laptops and iPods line shelves, guitars hang in a neat row, and there’s nary a gun or “adult”-themed product to be seen—TC’s handles weapons sales online and doesn’t traffic in risqué materials at all. “We’re not like the stereotypical pawnshop that you see in old movies,” laughs Sargent. “It’s not a dark and smoky back room, with some old guy chewing on a cigar behind the counter. You can see we’re very mainstream. Usually mom is looking at jewelry, the kids are checking out the video games and dad is browsing through the power tools.”

Stereotypes die hard, but Sargent, who is  also president of the Connecticut Association of Pawnbrokers, is running his Better Business Bureau-accredited enterprise with every intent to dispel the preconceived notions associated with his industry. Sellers are required to present a government-issued form of ID, and each item that TC’s buys is electronically catalogued with a picture and full description. Weekly reports are sent to the Waterbury police to be checked against lists of recently stolen goods; pawned items are also held for 30  to 60 days before being put out for sale in the store or offered to prospective online buyers, while items that are acquired outright for secondhand sale are held for 10 days.

As at most pawnshops, when something is pawned, TC’s first evaluates the item for its secondhand value and lends the seller the amount in cash up front; if the seller returns for the item within the allotted time frame, he or she can get the item back for the cash lent plus interest and a processing fee. (About 85 percent return, but if they don’t, there’s no blemish on their credit report.) Rates and time frames vary between shops; Sargent has been working with legislators to establish standard statewide licensing and regulations for pawnshop operations. Currently, each municipality has its own rules.

TC’s also has been part of the Waterbury business scene for 25 years, and is heavily involved in the community, supporting  the Children’s Miracle Network Organization, the Police Activity League and many other charities.

Further helping to bust pawnshop myths is the wave of recent TV reality shows like “Hardcore Pawn” and “Pawn Stars,” which Sargent dismisses with a laugh. “Those shows are mostly staged,” he says. “You don’t get Civil War cannons or other rare collectibles in a pawnshop every day. And you certainly don’t call in an expert for each one. You have to be the expert and know what an item’s worth. Even if you don’t know, you can still go to the Internet and look it up.”

Currently, Sargent says that 30 to 40 percent of his business comes from buying and selling gold, and TC’s offers a lot of jewelry, especially diamonds and silver—display cases are stocked with pieces from Tiffany, Rolex and Cartier, and there’s even a goldsmith on the premises. In a sign of the times, there’s also an abundance of tools and heavy-construction equipment available here, everything from ladders to jackhammers—anything a general contractor would need.

Although collectibles do find their way to TC’s—they’ve handled specialty items from baseball cards and antique Spencer repeating rifles to Cessna airplanes and Cobalt power boats—the majority of the more unusual pieces are sold through online auctions like eBay, which offer a bigger market. TC’s is a licensed gun dealer, but that business is also done online or through other dealers. Actually, Sargent estimates that about 15 percent of his business now comes from Internet sales, and the building on the adjacent property, which was recently acquired, is now devoted primarily to handling Web-related transactions.

With the recent economic downturn, business has been steady at TC’s as more people need to raise quick cash however they can or find bargains. It has allowed Sargent to keep a staff of 14 full-timers and three part-timers, many of whom have been with the company for over five years. TC’s also has a second retail sales building, featuring car audio accessories (new and used) as well as larger items like snowblowers and construction-related equipment. In the back lot where autos are kept—yes, TC’s is licensed to sell used cars, too—a Ford Mustang convertible sits between a classic Dodge Dart and a Land Rover, which is next to a dump truck and behind a sailboat.

“Our clientele ranges from the unemployed to working-class families to doctors and lawyers,” says Sargent, who also describes many of his customers as “unbankable” or struggling with credit issues. “In the past two years, we’ve been able to help 20 or 30 people pay their mortgages. We’ve also had people come in, find a diamond ring they could afford, drop to one knee and propose right here in the store.

“I’ve heard more stories than you could fill your magazine with,” says Sargent. “It’s a unique business—no other like it in the world.”

For more information, call (203) 753-7591 or visit tcspawn.com.


November 2010

Waterbury Republican American News Paper

Pawnbroker Thrives; Helps Others Survive, in the Best and Worst of Times

by Trish Donohue - Communications Coordinator at the Waterbury Regional Chamber


In a downturn economy, many of the working families of America experience an unexpected need for short-term funds. For 25 years TC’s Pawn Company Jewelry & Electronics Exchange has helped struggling individuals and families meet daily financial needs with financing not offered by other institutions. Pawn loans keep the electricity on, the mortgage paid and cars running with full tanks of gas.

Pawn customers are typically un-banked, under-banked, or have a strained banking relationship. A pawn loan is a service that a pawnbroker provides where other financial institutions often will not.

“When the economy is good, people are looking to upgrade or invest in discounted merchandise,” says Jay Sargent, partner and managing owner of TC’s Pawn Company, Jewelry & Electronics Exchange.“When the economy is bad, you see a lot of unbanked people in need of money.”


How the process works
According to the National Pawnbrokers Association, customers pledge property as collateral, and in return, pawnbrokers lend them money. Pawn loans are made on everything from jewelry to electronics. If the pawn customer chooses to redeem the loan, the collateral is returned upon repayment of the loan plus the regulated fee. The option to redeem the collateral remains with the customer until the expiration of the contract. If the customer elects not to redeem his or her collateral, there is no credit consequence to the borrower and the items are sold at a value price to retail consumers.

“Value is assessed by what you can sell it for,” explains Jay. The average savings to the customer when buying from a pawn shop is 30% - 60%, he says. The price of most items for sale is negotiable.

“I’ve always said that I’m the expert, I do not have to call one (in determining value),” quips Jay. “Mostly it’s experience”. Aside from using the Internet, Jay frequents second hand stores, antique shops and auctions.

Best sellers at the pawn shop are jewelry and personal electronics. Also popular are computers, musical instruments, tools and DVDs. TC Mobile Audio and Video Superstore, (located next door to TC’s Pawn), retails a wide range of audio and video equipment. Licensed technicians are on staff for installation. Jay also provides vehicle pawn services. A money-back satisfaction guarantee is included on most items sold in both stores.

TC’s Pawn acquired its first computer in 1991, back when few businesses owned computers and most operating systems hadn’t advanced beyond DOS. Today, four full-time employees sell a variety of the store’s products internationally on the internet. “We’re among the most technically advanced in our industry,” says Jay.

The long held myth that pawn shops are “seedy little back alley stores” is quickly dispelled upon entering TC Pawn’s brightly lit showroom with isles of well-organized merchandise. “Pawnbrokers have been, and continue upgrading the interior and exterior of stores, as well as employee presentation, customer service, exterior signage, and their marketing and merchandising methods,” attests the National Pawnbroker’s Association. “We try to do a lot of things to better our image,” concurs Jay. “People have been brainwashed by the media. There’s a misconception out there that all you ever deal with are the undesirables’.”

Jay attributes the success of his store, in part, to having personable, courteous, well trained staff. Half have been with him for 5-10 years. Better Business Bureau accredited, he says they’ve never had complaints. Word of mouth has gone a long way in attracting new business.

Pawn transactions are the only type of consumer credit that requires reporting to local law enforcement agencies. In many states this reporting must include extremely sensitive personal information about the consumer (i.e. ethnicity, gender, address). “The industry is very regulated,” says Jay. “We go above and beyond what the law requires.” When someone comes in with a bag of gold, for example, TC’s Pawn first negotiates a price. Positive state issued ID must then be presented. TC’s Pawn records the ID and a full description of the merchandise being


pawned. Digital images are taken of jewelry. Every piece of merchandise that comes into the store is reported to the police department weekly. “We have a good rapport with local area police departments. We work closely with them and have assisted in thousands of cases.”

Partnering with many area nonprofits, TC’s Pawn places high priority on helping the underprivileged in the community. Among the organizations it supports are the Children's Miracle Network Organization, Lt. Robert D. Westberg Scholarship Golf Tournament, Waterbury Crime Stoppers, Police Activity League (PAL), Disabled American Veterans, TOYS 4TOTS and the Wolcott Street Lakewood Road Business Association.

Additionally, TC’s Pawn Company has sent inner city children to Camp Farwell in recent summers, a picturesque girls’ camp in Newbury, Vermont that provides unique wilderness experiences exclusively for young girls. Students participate in an essay contest and the two best essayists are chosen.

On December 7th at 4:30 p.m. TC's Pawn will host its 3rd Magical Mile Tree Lighting with support from the Wolcott Street Lakewood Road Business Association. The free event will feature Santa Claus, refreshments (compliments of the Association), and a raffle. The Children's Community School and Waterbury Police Athletic League youth will delight all in attendance with a repertoire of holiday songs.

“The community is very important to us,” says Jay, who started at the pawnbroker shop as a counter person in 1989 and worked his way up to become managing partner of the now thriving business. “I grew up in poverty on welfare,” reflects Jay. “I lived in foster care for 5 years. People ask why we’re so successful. It’s because we’re empathetic. We don’t judge and we are fair.”

TC’s Pawn Company Jewelry & Electronics Exchange is located at 503 Lakewood Road, Waterbury, CT 06704.

Waterbury Republican American News Paper

Magical Mile Donations Benefit Charities All Year Long by Diane Ploch

Part of the “magic” on the Magical Mile is the sense of community spirit shared by the businesses there. Members of the Wolcott Street/Lakewood Road Business Association work together on events like the annual Tree Lighting, Flag Day and Earth Day Clean-Up, but individually many are dedicated to giving back to the local community and those in need through various charitable organizations. Chair of the Association, Jay Sargent, sets a good example. As Regional Manager of TC Pawn Company Jewelry and Electronics, his business not only hosts the annual Tree Lighting but also supports organizations like Waterbury’s Police Activity League. (Read more about Sargent’s giving spirit on page 8.) We talked to several other businesses on the “Mile” about how they contribute to the community. The Wireless Zone gives at a couple levels. Local owner, Kathy Saska, explains that a portion of store proceeds go to the Wireless Zone Foundation for Giving and each store owner can nominate organizations to receive grants. Saska has helped secure $5,000 grants for Waterbury Youth Services and the Child Guidance Clinic, now known as Wellpath. Recently supporting Brave at Heart, a breast cancer survivor group, Saska provided pink flannel pajamas, chocolates and gift bags to about 30 women participating in their annual weekend to celebrate life. This is the third year Wireless Zone has contributed gifts to the cause. “This is the least I can do as a small business wanting to support my local community,” says Saksa. “I make an effort all year long to make charitable contributions that are important to my employees, my customers and the local community.” ....

Waterbury Republican American News Paper

Magical Mile Committed to Growth and Tradition by Diane Ploch

The last year was a busy one for the Wolcott Street/Lakewood Road Business Association with collaborative events and new faces.

Community Spirit
The annual Holiday Tree Lighting on the Magical Mile was held on December 8, 2009, at TC’s Pawn Company Jewelry & Electronics Exchange on Lakewood Road. Kids visited with Santa while guests enjoyed refreshments and food samples from restaurants on the Magical Mile. In addition to a live DJ, groups from Children’s Community School and Waterbury’s Police Activity League performed. Children 18 and younger were eligible for a free raffle drawing with prizes such as iPods, a Nintendo Wii and free rental of a bouncing room donated by local merchants. An estimated 150 attended.

On Saturday, May 1 volunteers pitched in to spruce up the Magical Mile as part of a city-wide cleanup. Based on an inventory of ‘hot spots’ that were in desperate need of clean up, the group cleared debris from the area from TC’s Pawn Company Jewelry & Electronics Exchange to Lakewood Lanes in three hours. The City of Waterbury provided bags, gloves, water and a ticket for a hot dog lunch courtesy of Frankies.



October 2010

ANNOUNCEMENT: TC's Pawn Company to host the Magical Mile Tree Lighting on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. This will be our 3rd year in a row hosting this event with the Wolcott Street Lakewood Road Business Association and the Waterbury Regional Chamber. Every year gets more exciting for us as the crowds grow! This holiday season may prove to be more difficult than others for many families in our community so, are welcome for this is a FREE event. Santa Claus will be present and available for every child to visit with. There will be food and refreshments served compliments of other members of the Association and chances for many children to win fantastic gifts! It is an opportunity for local business to give back to the community we reside. We are looking forward to hearing the holiday songs sung by the youth of The Children's Community School and Waterbury Police Athletic League! The event starts at 4:30 in the afternoon and generally runs about 2 hours depending on the number of children visiting with Santa. Look for the special Magical Mile insert in the Republican American Newspaper in the beginning of November for Great sales and specials from Magical Mile Businesses!

Continued support for the Lt. Robert D. Westberg Scholarship Golf Tournament. TC's Pawn Company has for many years supported this great event! The 11th Annual Tournament was scheduled for Monday, October 4, 2010 at the Country Club of Waterbury. Last years event was another great success and raised impressive money for the scholarship fund which awards deserving sons and daughters of current, retired or deceased Waterbury police officers who plan to pursue college degrees. The generous spirit of deceased Waterbury Police Lt. Robert D. Westburg continues!

September 2010

TC's Mobile Audio Presented 2010 USACI Sight & Sound Competition -

September 26th was a loud day in the neighborhood (we apologize for all the noise!) We hosted over 42 competitors in SPL and Sight. There were unbelievable sound systems being displayed as well as some amazing looking vehicles with loads of custom work. HOT 93.7 radio was on site with personality and games for the kids & TC's staff sold ice cold water to raise money for Waterbury P.A.L.. Read all about it in the Annual Magical Mile insert in the the Republican American Newspaper in Mid November 2010!

TC's Pawn Company supported it's community once again becoming a Platinum sponsor supporting Waterbury Crime Stoppers 24th Annual Ziti Dinner that took place at the Ponte Club in Waterbury - As we have for many years in the past. Concerned citizens of the Waterbury Area working together with local law enforcement to help solve and prevent crime in our community to keep it safe for our children and all citizens - Thank you to everyone who attended for the support of such an important organization! click here for info

 July 2010

Supporting the community in the hot summer heat! TC's host car wash to benefit The Waterbury P.A.L. Girls Basketball team. What a great day it was to have your car washed! We had a great turn out and the girls earned money to go off to Florida for a Championship game. Not to leave other P.A.L. children out, they also donated a 46" LCD Television to P.A.L. Summer Camp for kids in Wolcott for those rainy days.

June 2010

Through our association with the Waterbury Regional Chamber, TC's Pawn Company sells over 300 flags to raise money for our local chapter of Disabled American Veterans. Jay Sargent, Managing Partner of TC's Pawn Company Joins local politicians and Veterans at the Magical Mile Flag Raising Ceremonies.


December 2009

TC's Pawn Company hosts the Magical Mile Tree Lighting. Over 100 children from the community enjoyed a visit from Santa Claus and received gift bags and raffle tickets for great prizes! Children from The Waterbury Police Athletic League sang holiday carols prior to the tree being lit with LED energy saving bulbs. Local restaurants donated food for all to enjoy! TC's Donated $500 to the Music Department of The Children's Community School in Waterbury.


  September 2009

9-24-09; Continued support for the Lt. Robert D. Westberg Scholarship Golf Tournament. TC's Pawn Company has for many years supported this great event! The Tenth Annual Tournament was scheduled for Monday, October 5, 2009 at the Country Club of Waterbury. Last years event was another great success and raised impressive money for the scholarship fund which awards deserving sons and daughters of current, retired or deceased Waterbury police officers who plan to pursue college degrees. The generous spirit of deceased Waterbury Police Lt. Robert D. Westburg lives on!


TC's Pawn Company supported it's community once again becoming a Platinum sponsor supporting Waterbury Crime Stoppers 23rd Annual Ziti Dinner that took place on September 10, 2009 - As we have for many years in the past. Concerned citizens of the Waterbury Area working together with local law enforcement to help solve and prevent crime in our community to keep it safe for our children and all citizens - Thank you to everyone who attended for the support of such an important organization! click here for info

8-13-09; It is with regret to inform our valued customers that we have closed our East Hartford location. 

Since opening up the East Hartford location, we have felt very welcomed into the community. You -- our customers & the work we were able to do within the community --  is what made this such a satisfying and successful place to work. On behalf of the entire staff, we thank all of our  thousands of customers for allowing us to serve you and, more importantly, for making us feel at home.

Please feel free to call or visit us at our Waterbury location --- where we've been for 25 years -- at 203-753-7591. The store is located at 503 Lakewood Road, Waterbury, CT 06704. click for directions

Again, we thank all our customers for your support over the past couple of years. We'll miss seeing you in East Hartford.

Sincerely, The TC's Staff


Partners in the Community

TC's donates gifts to help raise money for the Children's Miracle Network Organization

Continued support for the Lt. Robert D. Westberg Scholarship Golf Tournament.

TC's Pawn Company supported it's community once again becoming a Platinum sponsor supporting Waterbury Crime Stoppers

Another year (August 2009) that TC's is sending inner city youth to Summer Camp for 3 weeks in Vermont.

Disabled American Veterans attend the flag raising on the Magical Mile

TC's Pawn Company donates TV's to elderly fire victims in Waterbury

Christmas sponsorships for families in our communities from TC's Pawn Company 12-2008

TC's opens it's doors as drop-off centers for local TOYS 4 TOTS efforts - Drop off by 12-19-08

Magical Mile Business Association Tree Lighting to take place at TC's Pawn Co. in Waterbury 12-10-08

Supporting Waterbury Crime Stoppers 22nd Annual Ziti Dinner September 11, 2008

Reach- Out of Waterbury receives Support for Youth Appreciation Day from TC's Pawn Company

Donation of Wii System Helps the Elderly through a Home-to-Home Foundation's partnering Nursing Facility

TC's Pawn Company Supports DAV, Disabled American Veterans

TC's Pawn Company Sends Inner City Youths to Summer Camp

Young Campers get Target "Shopping Spree" for Needed Items from TC's Pawn Company


Newspaper Articles

In tough times, pawnbroker's role in community expands

The General Manager of TC's Pawn Company becomes Chairperson of the Business Association

TC's Receives Business Association Marketing and Positive Image Award

TC's Sends Inner City Youths to Summer Camp, E.H. Gazette- 6-25-08

Pawnshops: A Popular Place During Tough Times, Hartford Courant 6-16-08

Gold can be an economic indicator, Republican American- 1-26-08

Advertising Campaigns - TV Commercials also see Sales & Promotions


Supporting Our Communities...


In tough times, pawnbroker's role in community expands

tccamp“I am so excited; I can’t wait,” one of the two recipients of the Second Annual TC’s Pawn Company Camp Farwell Sponsorship Essay Award said when she heard that she was one of the two girls whose essays were selected. “I’ve never been camping before. I heard all the stories from the girls who went last summer.”

After the success of last year’s essay contest, the Pitkin Street store decided to commit to the project again. Last June TC’s Pawn Company offered students at Hockanum Elementary school the opportunity to write an essay on one of three topics, said Jay Sargent, General Manager of TC’s of Waterbury and East Hartford.
“First we approached Mayor Melody Currey and she suggested the school.” After that, Sargent contacted Hockanum Principal Lisa Beauchamp,  and things progressed quickly.

“Camp Farwell is a picturesque girls camp that has been providing unique wilderness experiences exclusively for young girls for over a hundred years,” Sargent said.
Nestled in the Hall’s Lake region of Newbury, Vermont, the camp is a long way from the inner city. The rural camp provides numerous opportunities for life-changing experiences, especially for kids who have never camped out before. The camp’s mission involves bringing together girls aged 9-16 of different cultures from around the world, fostering friendship and personal growth.

The camp features horseback riding, water-skiing, sailing, hiking, a variety of sports, art classes, dance and theater activities and even a petting zoo. There are over 100 acres of lush forest, meadows, lakeside log cabins and rustic living that will help develop the girls’ confidence, community spirit and “an underlying appreciation of nature’s beauty” that they will bring home with them.

“This is a unique experience for the children,” Mayor Currey said. “We don’t have riding stables in East Hartford. The Camp gives the girls an opportunity to connect with large animals.”

“Camp Farwell provides a variety of activities and adventures for the kids. We’ll be sponsoring two girls for three-week stays throughout the month of August, before they return home to begin the new school year,” Sargent said.

Last year, the essay topic for the contest was “My Hero is…” and the selected best essays were quite emotional, according to Sargent. The Mayor’s office, Principal Beauchamp, and Sargent selected the chosen essays.

“The girls we sponsored last year were very bright young ladies,” Sargent added. “Their writing was heartfelt and powerful. This year was no different.” The two essays selected this year were read in front of a school assembly on June 5th.

“Everyone is so proud of these students,” Sargent said. Essay topics this year included the timely “Going Green – recycling”, “My Country the USA”, and also “My Hero is…” Surprisingly, both girls chose the “My Hero” topic. Sargent continued, “One of the youngsters wrote about her father. She was the only student from both years who did so. Her essay was extremely touching.”

Noted Mayor Currey: “They were three very good topics. [The selected essays] were the strongest and most heartfelt” of those submitted.

“During these tough economic times, many small businesses and even larger companies are scaling back on giving, and unfortunately projects such as our Camp Farwell Sponsorship get left by the wayside,” Sargent said.

“But, as difficult as it may be for business, it’s even harder on an inner city kid in the summer.”

As part of each sponsorship, valued at $4,000, the girls will both receive a shopping spree to help purchase supplies and camp equipment required for their stay. “We’ll also be helping their parents with transportation costs,” Jay added.
Mayor Currey thanked TC’s and said that local businesses should be encouraged in their support of the community.

“They have a better understanding of families making ends meet. They have the ability to give back.”

Such is the case in East Hartford and Waterbury, where TC’s Pawn Company has served the community for 25 years. The buildings are attractive; the showrooms are clean; the staff is friendly and helpful.

“We are not the stereotypical pawn shop,” Sargent explained. “We are open, clean, honest, and we provide a valuable service to our customers.”  At TC’s, Sergeant notes, customers buy a wide variety of heavily-discounted and what the staff calls “previously-enjoyed” items.

The company also purchases many different items or can give someone the opportunity to get their item back later on nearly anything of value, specializing in gold and silver jewelry. “What bank is going to give someone $25 to pay a babysitter or $50 to fill their gas tank for the week?” Sargent asked.

To TC’s, the Camp Farwell Sponsorship Essay Award has been a completely successful endeavor. Sergeant feels it is one of the many ways that his business can partner with and support the community.

“Look at the pictures on the web [CampFarwell.com]. It’s a very meaningful experience for kids,” he added. In fact, one of the finalists [from last year’s contest] wrote again this year. “She must have wanted to go again,” Mayor Currey said.

“We’re just happy to help provide these bright kids with memories that will last a lifetime. They so very much deserve it. In these difficult economic times it is important that we do not forget about the children who are also dealing with the recession,” added Sargent.


Waterbury Crime Stoppers - Press Release Sept 9, 2008


22nd Annual Ziti Dinner, Thursday 9-11-08, 12pm - 8pm


TC's Pawn Company becomes a Platinum Sponsor for the Waterbury Crime Stoppers Annual Ziti dinner. Waterbury Crime Stoppers, Inc. is a non-profit organization, which pays rewards up to $1000.00 to anonymous informants who provide information leading to the filing of criminal charges against perpetrators. The annual dinner helps to raise the funds needed for these efforts. TC's Pawn Company believes it's important to work with it's communities and law enforcement agencies in order to help  prevent and solve crime, therefore participating in creating safe environments for our children to grow and prosper. TC's has supported these efforts for many years.


For more information on the 22nd Annual Dinner, visit www.waterburycrimestoppers.org



best-of-wtby.gif (63163 bytes)

June 23, 2008


TC's Super Pawn Co. Jewelry Receives 2008 Best of Waterbury Award


U.S. Local Business Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

WASHINGTON D.C., June 23, 2008 -- TC's Super Pawn Co. Jewelry has been selected for the 2008 Best of Waterbury Award in the Pawn Shops category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).

The USLBA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2008 USLBA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USLBA and data provided by third parties. SOURCE: U.S. Local Business Association.

Supporting Our Communities


TC's Pawn Company helps support local Disabled American Veterans - June 13, 2008


As a very proud participant in a fundraiser sponsored by "The Magical Retail Mile" (Wolcott St & Lakewood Rd Business Association) & The Waterbury Regional Chamber, TC's sold miniature American flags at our Waterbury location along with other members of the Association. On June 13, 2008 a flag raising ceremony took place on Wolcott Rd in Waterbury, CT and it was at that time our Assoc. Chairperson Senator Robert Kane presented our contribution to the DAV. We are proud to support our local community and our Disabled American Veterans.

Supporting Our Communities...


TC's Pawn Company Sends Inner City Youths to Summer Camp in Vermont


Presentation of Camperships on June 5, 2008 at The Hockanum Elementary. From left to right are, the Honorable Mayor of East Hartford Melody A. Currey, the authors of the 2 chosen essays & Jay S., Regional Manager for TC's Pawn Company

East Hartford Gazette Newspaper, June 25, 2008

Essay contest winners are off to summer camp

"When we opened our newest store in East Hartford, we wanted to immediately get involved in the community," said Jay Sargent, General Manager for TC's Pawn Company and Jewelry and Electronics Exchange of both East Hartford and Waterbury.

For years, TCs Pawn Co. was active with supporting Waterbury's inner-city youth surrounding the company's original location. Sargent was approached by the Stanavage family, a local family active in the Waterbury community, and learned about Vermont's Camp Farwell.

"The Stanavage family had been sponsoring kids to attend Camp Farwell for years," Sargent explained. "It was really close to their hearts. We were humbled when asked to carry on the legacy."

"I immediately saw this as a great opportunity," Sargent said. "Other companies and organizations sponsor youth campership programs, but Camp Farwell looked like a unique opportunity - something more personal and exciting. Right away we wanted to bridge a relationship between the camp and East Hartford inner-city kids."

Camp Farwell is the oldest continually summer camp exclusive for girls. Nestled by the side of the majestic Hall's Lake in Newbury, Vermont, the camp boasts 100-acres of lush forest, meadows, and lakeside log cabins - rustic living at a place far different than the concrete sidewalks, traffic, and urban sprawl of the city. In this location, Camp Farwell focuses on providing girls 9-16 years of age with an opportunity for "personal growth, self-confidence, and an underlying appreciation of nature's beauty."

At Camp Farwell, girls have an opportunity to forge friendships and create lifelong memories. Further, girls from all over the United States and worldwide visit the camp, so campers are able to meet peers from a diversity of cultures. "This is a big deal for a kid from the city," Sargent explained. "At the camp there are tons of activities: horseback riding, water-skiing, sailing, kayaking, and they have a petting zoo where kids can help feed and care for the animals."

After TCs was committed to the venture, it became a matter of selecting two lucky children to attend the summer camp. "We arranged on a 3 week session at the height of the summer. It's just beautiful up there [in Vermont] at this time of year," Sargent said. TCs contacted the Honorable Mayor of East Hartford, Melody A. Currey, for assistance.

"The Mayor's office was quite helpful. The Mayor assisted us and recommended Hockanum Elementary School in East Hartford." Sargent met with Hockanum principal Lisa Beauchamp and quickly there was an essay contest begun to select just which kids would visit Camp Farwell. "There were great essays," Sargent said. "It's hard to describe the emotion behind many of the stories that the students told in their writing." The Mayor's office, Principal Beauchamp, and Sargent read and judged all of the essays. "We were all really touched by the heartfelt writing of these bright students," Sargent continued.

On June 5th, at the final school assembly of the year, Mayor Currey and Sargent announced the two students selected to attend Camp Farwell. There was great excitement in the air and everyone in attendance was anxious for the news.
While only two students could be selected, Sargent proudly said, "To me, they're all winners. But these two girls' essays stood out. They are very bright kids with great personalities. They're truly deserving of this."

Both students chose the topic "My Hero" and wrote about family members who've inspired them and who have done much for them throughout their young lives. One wrote of her mother who is always there for her, through thick and thin.

The other wrote of her caretaker, her grandmother, who persevered through adversity and tough times, but who always strives to give her ward the best she can.

When TCs contacted the girls' guardians to announce that their kids were headed for camp, there were smiles everywhere. One was pleasantly surprised that a pawn shop would do such a thing for her little girl.

"Most people have a stereotypical idea of a pawn shop as business tucked away in a less desirable part of town," Sargent explained. "That's not the reality. TC's is a part of the community. We provide the opportunity for people who need a quick short-term loan and can't get it from a bank. What bank is going to loan someone $100 to make the rent or $50 to fill the gas tank?"

TC's Pawn Company and Jewelry and Electronics Exchange at 7 Pitkin St. Sargent, who is also President of the Connecticut Pawnbrokers Association, said, "TC's stands apart as a leader in our industry, and we believe it's important to give back to the community. This is our chance to give some really deserving kids memories that will last a lifetime."

Next, TCs will be taking the girls and their guardians on a shopping spree at an area Target store. "They need a lot of stuff for their trip," Sargent said. The list of things to bring to Camp Farwell is extensive. Girls are asked to bring selected items of clothing, bedding, toiletries and other items specific to some of the camp activities like horseback riding, water sports and softball.

"We want to be sure these kids have everything they need for their adventure," Sargent added. Sargent said that TC's wanted to give a special thanks to Honorable Mayor Currey, Principal Beauchamp, Camp Farwell, the Stanavage family, and to the two girls selected to attend the camp this summer.

"Most of all," he added, "We want to thank all of the children who participated in the essay contest. These days we look for good news in the media. It's inspiring to see these kids from our own community shine and give us all something to be proud of."

©East Hartford Gazette 2008

Hartford Courant Newspaper, CT June 16, 2008


Pawnshops: A Popular Place During Tough Times

In Difficult Economic Times, People Tend To Do What They Must To Make Ends Meet - | Courant Staff Writer


JOSH TARNOCZY of TC's Pawn Co. in East Hartford tests an electric keyboard brought in by Danae Javinett, a Manchester Community College student. Javinett said the $35 she got for the keyboard and an electric guitar tuner would be used for gasoline and groceries. (MARK MIRKO / June 13, 2008)


Consider some of the folks who passed through TC's Pawn Co. in East Hartford around lunchtime one recent day:

A 48-year-old plumber shopping for $1 CDs (he also bought an electric guitar for $40 in the parking lot from a man who was planning to sell it to the store); a 76-year-old woman buying a 14-karat gold ring for about $90 (she also wanted to sell her humidifier, but found no takers); a community college student selling a Casio keyboard for $25 to pay for gas and groceries; a 68-year-old retiree pawning for $600 a ring he says is worth $6,000, which he expects to get back in a few weeks. Some were looking for deals, some just to get by.

"In the recession that doesn't exist, according to George Bush, people are losing their mortgages, and they pretty much get money wherever they can get it," said Jay Sargent, owner of TC's Pawn at 7 Pitkin St.

Good economy or bad, the volume of business at pawnshops is fairly steady. The difference is whether people are buying or selling, and who's doing it. In a downturn, the clientele gets more diverse. Sargent nodded his head toward the security monitor on the wall of his office. A woman at the counter who looks to be in her early 40s is selling a couple of her rings.


"See, she's got her Gucci and her Burberry on," says Sargent, who has an eye for such things after 20 years in the business. "Does she look like your typical pawnshop customer?"

Pawnbrokers have done their business for thousands of years with little change in procedure or reputation. An air of desperation has always lingered around any establishment bearing the three-ball logo, the pawn's international symbol. But times are tough, and a lot of people are considering things they hadn't before to make ends meet.

Whether it's a good idea to sell your stuff at a pawnshop, apparently a lot of people do. According to the National Pawnbrokers Association, the number of pawnshops in the U.S. has increased from 6,900 in 1988 to about 13,000 this year.

If you've got some jewelry or a saxophone you want to hock, there are a few things to know. For one, don't say "hock" — it automatically marks you as a newbie in the pawn world.

People often confuse secondhand stores for pawnshops. But in addition to buying and selling used goods, a pawnshop makes loans in exchange for items. For instance, if you bring a watch into a pawnshop, you can either pawn it or sell it outright. If you pawn the watch, it's essentially treated as a loan, with the watch as collateral. You get a ticket for your item and have 60 days to repay the loan with interest. During that time, the store must hold onto it. After the 60 days are up, the item is forfeited and the store will mark up the price significantly and sell it.

Interest rates and other fees vary. Sargent is otherwise forthcoming about the pawn business, but he won't discuss his rates and fees.

Jewelry, especially gold, is the most popular item. Next are computers, and then video game systems. Musicians and contractors get hit particularly hard in bad times, Sargent says, and you'll find a lot of musical instruments and power tools in the aisles.

Some pawnshops in Connecticut fit the popular image of "seedy little back alley stores," as Sargent puts it. Even in midday, some require being buzzed in from behind locked metal doors.

But TC's Pawn is brightly lit with neatly arranged aisles, and staffers — all wearing official TC's T-shirts — politely ask customers if they need help. Between his two stores, the 38-year-old Sargent employs 22 people and is president of the Connecticut Association of Pawnbrokers. He talks about cleaning up the image of pawnshops, and refers to his customers as "a community."

About a mile from TC's in East Hartford is Fernando's Pawn, though the large sign outside simply reads "PAWN SHOP." Located at 711 Burnside Ave., it's a sparse setup, with a glass counter bearing mostly jewelry, but also some CDs, DVDs and video games.

The manager, Matt Conforto, is a talkative 24-year-old. He's interested in jewelry and knows about appraising stones and metals, and figured the pawn business was a good fit. The store competes with U-Pawn, directly across the street at 700 Burnside, and customers often stop at both places before finalizing deals. A man behind the counter at U-Pawn, a considerably less media-friendly venue, says, "Take it down the road, I don't deal with any newspapers."

The first customer to enter Fernando's is a fellow holding a can of beer in a paper bag, and he immediately tells Conforto a story about how someone recently paid him $50 to use his ID to sell some stuff at another shop. He says he has some air conditioners and a Bowflex exercise set down the road and needs a car to get them to the shop.

"I deal in a lot of hot [items]," the man says. Don't bring them in here, Conforto replies.When the man learns that there is a reporter in the shop, he introduces himself as "Joe Blow." Then he tries to cut a deal with the reporter to transport the air conditioners, but strikes out again.

Stolen goods are probably the biggest blot on the public image of pawnshops. To that end, by state law, positive identification is required of customers for all transactions. Stores also must report all pawns and purchases so that local police can compare them to descriptions of stolen items. Officials at the National Pawnbrokers Association say the problem isn't as bad as many think, and estimate that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all goods in pawnshops are confirmed as stolen.

The next to stop in are teenagers from the shoreline. An 18-year-old from Essex is selling a 1,000-watt Kenwood amplifier for his car stereo. Conforto looks at it with suspicion. There's something odd about the steel plate, and the serial number doesn't look the way serial numbers normally do. It could be a knockoff, or stolen. Further inspection and discussion, though, sway Conforto that his new customers are on the up-and-up.

The young man says he is moving to South Carolina with his mother and figures it is better to get some money than ship all of his stuff. Conforto gives him $50. Normally, he wouldn't bother with the amplifier. His boss told him to concentrate on jewelry and air conditioners, which are almost as good as gold during heat waves. But the amplifier is almost new and a particularly good deal.

The teenager is happy to get $50, and Conforto says his boss can sell it on Ebay for between $200 and $400. So why doesn't everyone just use eBay or craigslist? For one thing, you can't beat pawnshops for speed. If you have what they want, the shops are quick cash. And selling online sometimes means meeting with strangers who want to look at your gold first.

In the world of pawnbroking, value is a fluid thing. What you bought it for or what the appraisal books say don't matter that much. Says Sargent, "Things are only worth what you can sell them for."


January 26, 2008 - Republican-American Newspaper, Waterbury, CT

Gold can be an economic indicator 

Pawnbroker sees trading on increase


Jay S., general manager of TC’s Pawn Co. on Lakewood Road in Waterbury, weighs gold necklaces. The price of gold has hit record levels and now more people are selling it to the pawnshop.

  Jay S. knows gold. As general manager of TC’s Pawn Co. in Waterbury, he checks the gold market all day. He watched in amazement as the price hit a brief record Jan. 15, spiking to just over $914 an ounce. Gold closed at $912.30 an ounce on Friday.
  “I think it’s phenomenal,” S. said. “It’s good for everyone. We benefit, and if the average person is dealing with a fair and honest business buying the gold, they are benefiting as well.” Gold isn’t just for jewelry or buying stairways to heaven. Gold covers the inside of focused lasers used in heart sur­gery. Car airbags, computers and telecommunications equipment rely on electronic contacts coated with the high­ly conductive element, and satellites deflect solar radia­tion with golden surfaces. Dentists use gold for fillings because it is malleable and re­sistant to corrosion.
  But beyond gold’s intrinsic value and practical applica­tions, its price can provide clues as to how people feel about their finances and the global economy.
  “It’s an indicator of a nerv­ous economy,” said Bill O’Neill, the managing director of LOGIC Advisors, a market research and introducing bro­kerage firm in Upper Saddle River, N.J. “To a very large extent, it can be a psychologi­cal commodity. The view of the world.”
  The price of gold rose about 32 percent last year and about 200 percent over the last 10 years.
  But it has fluctuated over the last century, peaking in 1980, when $900 an ounce would be worth about $2,300 today.
  O’Neill says explanations for the most recent spike in­volve more than the forces of supply and demand. He point­ed toward the slide in value of the U.S. dollar, the rising price of oil, talk of a recession and instability in areas like the Middle East.
  “Gold is viewed as an alter­native asset,” O’Neill said. “A flight-to-safety vehicle. If you don’t want to be in equities or in fixed income, historically gold has filled that role.”
  O’Neill said that in Con­necticut, where many hedge funds are located, people aren’t as comfortable invest­ing in equities.
  “They have money to invest, and a lot of that is flowing into commodities,” he said.
  S. sees a more immediate impact of the surge in gold prices. Over the last six to eight months, he’s noticed an increase in people selling gold to his shop, which he links to higher mortgage rates and the rising price of gas and heating oil. He says they aren’t the type of customers people might expect would visit a pawn broker.
  “Someone with an upper lev­el income and a $3,000-a-month mortgage,” S. said. “With rates going up, you see them in here now. Selling gold or jewel­ry they don’t wear anymore to pay their mortgage.”
  Jay S. sees this trend as an unfortunate part of a dipping economy in which his business plays its part.
  “We provide a service to people unable to get credit or small loans,” he said. “We can help people save their homes or pay their gas money to get to work.”
  Even as individuals sell, new gold continues to enter the market. Though nobody knows how much gold remains to be mined, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that domestic gold production increased by 2 percent from 2005 to 2006, ty­ing the United States with Aus­tralia as the second leading gold-producing nations behind South Africa.
  George Milling-Stanley, the gold market analysis manager for the World Gold Council, said miners worldwide have dug up about 160,000 metric tons of gold throughout history. “If you were to melt it down into one great big cube, it would fit quite comfortably under the first landing of the Eiffel Tower,” Milling-Stanley said. “About 22 yards on a side. It’s a little cube.”
  At Friday’s closing price, that little cube would be worth almost $4.7 trillion. Market analyst O’Neill said he expects the price of gold to tip over $1,000 per ounce this year.
  Something to consider on a trip to the pawnshop.

Copyright (c) 2008 Republican-American 01/26/2008



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