Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Old Pawn Shop Influences New Laws

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

From Chicago Heights Dot Patch Dot Com

Old Pawn Shop Influences New Laws in The Heights

Shane’s has been around for more than 55 years, and the owners are still fighting for fair business practices.

By Aracely Hernandez | March 22, 2011

When looking for a good deal on a diamond or some other bling, Heights area residents head to Shane’s – The Pawn Shop located in the Wilson Plaza.

The business first opened in 1955 by Joseph Z. Schoeneman and his uncle Joe Schoeneman on the city’s east side. It’s been in the plaza for 22 years where it’s grown from one building unit to two – one features a showroom and the other is storage and a business office.

“We offer fantastic deals on jewelry compared to any other business in many miles,” David Schoeneman said. “We have a superior product knowledge and we can give [customers] a better purchase price.”

David Schoenman is Joseph Z. Schoeneman’s son. He and his wife, Carmencita, run the business.

Display cases are filled with rings, earrings, bracelets, watches, necklaces and other jewelery. The business does not take any other items.David is a gemologist and Carmencita also has an extensive knowledge of diamonds.

The store employs 13 people, Carmencita said. She runs the business behind the scenes and is working on creating a new Website for the store.

“It’s going to be colorful and bright and have information about us, pawn broking, our employees and pledge to our customers,” she said. “It will also feature coupons and other incentives.”

Shane’s can purchase an outdated necklace from customer looking to acquire extra cash, or provide a loan on the item. When a loan is taken out on a piece of jewelry, customers have up to 60 days to begin buying back the item or it is sold. It’s stopgap measure to help someone who needs a short-term loan, Carmencita said.

David said he is proud that he can provide that kind of help in the community. “It’s quick and it’s confidential,” he said.

But David doesn’t just help customers. The couple also represent pawnshops all over the state.

David is president of the Illinois Pawnbrokers Association, and Carmencita is the treasurer. The organization lobbies for pawnshops and also analyzes new laws that could affect pawnshops, Carmencita said.

Recently David helped Chicago Heights create a new law that is stricter about record keeping and inspection requirements. Now gold buying businesses have to wait seven days before they melt or sell gold after purchase. The law is called the Joseph Z. Schoeneman Precious Metal and Gem Brokers Ordinance – or informally the Schoeneman Gold Buying Law – named after David’s father.

On March 14 the City Council approved the ordinance and honored a 93-year-old Joseph for his longtime service to the Chicago Heights community. The law will aid police in tracking down items that may not have been acquired legally before being sold.

David said his father was happy about the honor, adding that he is proud to continue the work of his father and his great uncle in Chicago Heights. The fourth generation of Schoenemans, David and Carmencita’s sons, Jacob and Aaron, are also learning the trade and work at the shop during their breaks from school.

“It’s fun,” David said. “I get to help people. I earn a living and I get to feed my
family. We’re loyal to the community and it’s loyal to us.”

Shane’s – The Pawn Shop is located at 413 West 14th Street in Chicago Heights, and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Local Politics in Action: Considering a Pawn Shop

Friday, November 26th, 2010

From Chicago News Scoop Dot Org

Local Politics in Action: Considering a Pawnshop
November 25, 2010
Alderman Joe Moore called a community meeting at the Rogers Park Library on Tuesday evening only to learn, along with about 60 attendees, that city budget cuts and shortened hours meant it was closed.
So, shortly after 7 p.m., the rag-tag assemblage shlepped several blocks north in the evening chill to a makeshift site, a fitting frustration given the untidy subject at hand: whether to approve a pawn shop license on the uninspired 7000 block of North Clark Street.

In the cramped 49th Ward Democratic headquarters, one learned again about the dreary but relevant issues that dominate a local politician’s life. Our elected officials can’t all be consumed by military strategy for Afghanistan, whether to raise the federal debt ceiling or even by Illinois’ continuing descent into financial ignominy.

In this case, Bruce A. Lowis, a fourth-generation pawnshop owner, wants Mr. Moore’s and the community’s backing for the license for his existing Rogers Park enterprise, Gold Star Jewelry & Coin, which mostly buys and sells jewelry and electronics. He needs the license in order to take goods on consignment and make loans.

“IN$TANT CASH FOR YOUR VALUABLES” is emblazoned above his storefront, which is tacky but not especially glaring on a forlorn stretch on which the facade of a nearby Subway sandwich shop, by comparison, resembles Tiffany’s.

When it comes to zoning in their wards, aldermen have the same power, if not more, as President Kim Jong-il over the North Korean nuclear program. This particular matter is slightly different since Mr. Lowis needs a so-called special-use permit, which means final say is with the Zoning Board of Appeals, though it will give much weight to the alderman’s preference.

“This is our bread and butter, grass-roots democracy at work,” the bright and diligent Mr. Moore told me earlier.

As for his influence, he cited decentralization as “one of the geniuses of Chicago’s style of government,” but a genius “which does get lots of justifiable criticism.”

Mr. Moore opened the reconfigured session by apologizing for the “curveball” thrown by the darkened library, with Mr. Lowis’s lawyer following with background of her client’s business and goal.

She assured all that an appraiser would testify to the zoning board that a pawnshop would not hurt surrounding property values. Her client is willing, too, to remove the coat of green paint from the brick building, which he owns, and to put up a new awning. There are three other pawnshops in the area.

It was then time for Mr. Lowis, who resembles and sounds like a trimmer, nattier Dennis Franz, with short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, pencil mustache, black slacks, charcoal-gray suit jacket, crisp white shirt and black-and-gray checked necktie.

He began with a flattering historical overview of his business, saying he proudly oversees a “poor man’s bank,” with 90 percent of the goods pawned ultimately redeemed and loans averaging about $90.

Conscious of the industry’s dubious image, he said his shops kept “pimps, prostitutes, pirates and thieves” at bay. If true, that’s probably more than the political class can claim.

Mr. Lowis made the case for a pawnshop’s being good for this distinctly diverse community and was assisted by his wife, Joyce, and by customers and friends, most poor and minority and from outside the ward.

“I bought coins from Bruce, and he gave me a good price,” a South Side man said.

A woman from Evanston added: “We’re poor people, and a lot of us can’t go into a bank. But we believe in gold and can always get money for it.”

A man who identified himself as a minister from Joliet offered, “My brother-in-law is a pawnbroker and doesn’t give me as good a price as Bruce.” He concluded: “I work with the Lord. We’re all sinners. The system [of pawnshops] is good for me and my parishioners.”

The criticisms of Mr. Lowis were few but passionate, including from Brian White, who is running against the alderman. One woman berated pawnbrokers as fencing stolen merchandise. “We don’t need this in Rogers Park,” she said.

The most pointed question was simple: What’s Mr. Moore’s view? He had not made a decision, he said, but a diplomatically phrased response leads me to wager he’ll turn thumbs down.

That would clearly chagrin Mr. Lowis. But, hey, as Scott Lee Cohen proved during this past election, an unknown Chicago pawnbroker can dream — at least of winning a Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

Pawn Shop Owner Protects Himself

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

From WLS AM Dot Com

Pawnshop owner protects himself with gun

A convicted felon was shot to death as he tried to rob a Northwest Side pawnshop Tuesday afternoon — the third incident involving a citizen shooting an assailant in the city in the past two weeks.

The man killed was identified as Michael McMillan, 24, of 309 N. Menard Ave., according to a spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. McMillan was pronounced dead at Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center at 1:17 p.m., the spokesman said.

The slain suspect was convicted in 2006 of armed robbery and sentenced to boot camp, court records show.

Police sources said the owner of Fullerton Pawners Inc. shot the robber at about 1 p.m. inside the store. Two accomplices, one wearing a black backpack, ran away. One may have been wounded, sources said.

Police have recovered a revolver they believe the slain robber was wielding, sources said.

Joseph Barats, president of the store at 5900 W. Fullerton Ave., declined comment. On a YouTube video, Barats said the store is family-owned. He took over the business about five years ago, he says in the video.

“We have the nicest stuff,” he says. “We are like the real pawn stars. Every day something is happening here.”

Police were reviewing video of the incident, taken from a surveillance camera in the store, sources said.

Detectives also were interviewing witnesses Tuesday night to determine if any charges should be brought against the shooter — including charges involving the city’s handgun ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on the constitutionality of Chicago’s longstanding ban. Already, members of the gun lobby have pointed to two earlier incidents as reasons to lift it.

On June 3, a 27-year-old South Austin man shot and wounded a man who jumped through the window of a home as he was running away from police officers during a drug bust. And on May 26, an 80-year-old Korean War veteran shot and killed a suspected burglar at his home in East Garfield Park. The veteran was robbed at gunpoint last year, his family said.

Neither resident was charged with violating the handgun ban. In both instances, the slain robbers were convicted felons.

–Sun-Times Media Wire, Chicago Sun-Times


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Pawnonomics by Stephen Krupnik tells the infamous history of the pawn broking industry and shines a bright light into
its darkest corners, while also pointing out some pinnacles along the way.