Ahhhh … The beatings will continue until morale improves. And there is one pawnbroker on the southwest side of Chicago who is getting thoroughly flogged. Andy Grayson of Berwyn Illinois made the decision to open a high-end pawnshop in the village of La Grange Illinois. After checking with the village hall on legalities and requirements, and finding a vacant location to lease in downtown Lagrange, Mr. Grayson put his entrepreneural plans into action. He signed a lease for the location, obtained a building permit for remodeling, received his village business license for All-Star Jewelry and Loan, and received his state financial license to operate as a pawnbroker. Everything was right on target until the signage for his new pawnshop went up. Turns out not everyone was happy with the pawnshop moving to downtown Lagrange.
In a widely circulated email to business owners and community leaders, the president of the La Grange Business Association (LGBA) wrote that a pawnshop “does not bring the shoppers and consumers we need to fill our stores and restaurants … devalues the progress this village and business community has made over the last decade to make La Grange a top 10 downtown in Chicago … will in fact have a long term reverberating affect on our property values, both residential and business [and] does not compliment the businesses and restaurants we have in town and will never, no matter how ‘upscale’ it looks be a business others will look at positively when starting or relocating to La Grange.”
Because of this the village Board of Trustees decided to make Mr. Grayson feel a little less welcome. They have decided to zone his pawnshop out of existence. Here is Shawn Temple defending the pawnshop owners right to open his business in downtown Lagrange.
Yet the beating continues, and the village Board of Trustees is putting on a full-court press to change the zoning laws making the pawnshop illegal. The village attorney, Mark Burkland, has notified Grayson’s attorney that any such a change “could be applied” to his business. With village officials apparently pulling an about-face, Grayson now is concerned that his request for the building permit he needs to construct the interior of his store won’t be received as graciously.
I believe the LBGA could use a serious lesson in Pawnonomics.