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Message from the President

It Is Time!

Register for Pawn Expo before the early bird rate ends!

Pawn Expo is just around the corner. Have you registered yet? We have some fantastic learning opportunities this year for you and your staff, such as the following:

Larry Winget

The Cold, Hard, Ugly Truth About Success: Larry will attack traditional business wisdom and offer simple truths in his caustic, thought-provoking, and hilarious style. He will offer a realistic approach that will work for anyone, at any time, and in any business.

Martin Rapaport

The State of the Diamond Industry: Martin will discuss the development of new markets for diamonds and jewelry and how companies can grow their businesses in this new environment. The presentation will include an analysis of global diamond supply and demand, growth markets, consumer trends, and economic indicators.

Robert Frimet, CAMS

Federal Regulation—Navigating the Compliance Waters: With the ever increasing regulations pawn stores and dealers in precious metals must follow, understanding what it takes to be compliant is more important than ever. Bob’s seminar will include information that will help you avoid the problems that come from non-compliance. Several of our speakers have provided articles for this issue of National Pawnbroker magazine.

Just look for the Pawn Expo Presenter icon, and enjoy a preview of what you’ll learn in Vegas.

We listened

Members who responded to our surveys said that they want nuts and bolts, business education. With this in mind, Pawn Expo will include the following:

Ask the Expert Sessions

This is your chance to directly “ask the expert” about a variety of topics affecting your business today, such as the following: • Finance and Accounting • Electronic Reporting • Social Media

Ben Levinson NPA President

Pawnbroker Peer Roundtables

Last year, the roundtables were one of our most popular events. The pawnbroker sitting next to you is one of your greatest resources, and you will (Continues on page 58)

NPA PAC Support the NPA PAC with your contribution of $500, and enjoy a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE during Pawn Expo 2014. By contributing to the NPA PAC, you help shape the laws that influence your business and our industry. See the Pawn Expo section in this magazine beginning on page 34 for complete information.

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Table of Contents

Spring 2014 Official Publication of the National Pawnbrokers Association

sPriNg 2014

Page 34

Pawn Expo




Numismatic Crime

Page 28

Pawn Expo 2014

Page 34


Page 45

Page 28

Maximize Your Refining Return

Numismatic Crime

Page 45

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45 In this Issue Message from the President Message from the Executive Director Government Relations Update Pawn Expo Speakers Robert Frimet—Compliance Linda Byars Swindling—Stop Energy Drainers Los Ellis—Body Language Compliance Firearms’ Inventory Community Involvement Gift Day 2013 Recap Member Spotlight Scott Amberg Vendor Spotlight Abe Mor Diamonds Member News New Members Pawn PSA Video NPA Member Forum RB Grampp Award Numismatic Crime State News

1 4 6 14 21 22 46 10

Business Sense Due Diligence Risk Mitigation Online Customer Service Workers’ Comp Insurance Maximize Your Refining Return Editorial Crime Statistics Special Events Pawn Expo 2014 Calendar of events Index of Advertisers

25 26 31 32 45 41 34 67 68

17 48 Official Publication of the National Pawnbrokers Association

9 13 13 18 28 50

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Maximize Your Refining Return

Cover Story

Pawn Expo 2014 is just around the corner! Register before May 23 for your early bird discount. Page 34

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National Pawnbroker is the official publication of the National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA), and is published quarterly. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of Dana Meinecke, NPA Executive Director. Sale or distribution of any or all of the contents of this magazine is prohibited. All rights reserved. For more information on advertising or to obtain additional copies of National Pawnbroker, call (817) 337-8830 or send an email to For membership information, email EDITOR’S NOTE: This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subject matter covered. It is provided and disseminated with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. © 2007-14 National Pawnbrokers Association: PO Box 508, Keller, TX 76244 • (817) 337-8830 • EDITOR: Chris Pearcey, NPA Communications Specialist, DESIGNER: Carla L. Butz

2 | National Pawnbrokers Association | spring 2014

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message from the executive director

Vegas Time!

Pawn Expo 2014 is just around the corner!

Your NPA staff has had a busy start to 2014. On April 9, the NPA Legislative Conference was held in Washington, DC. It is so exciting to see independent pawnbroker members on Capitol Hill visiting with their legislators and spreading the word about the important role our industry plays in the financial lives of millions of Americans. Along with our visits to the Hill, members in attendance had a great chance to get to know one another and talk about issues and questions important to them. Time and time again, I hear that networking is one of the top reasons people join NPA, and the Legislative Conference is just one opportunity that NPA provides to connect with other pawnbrokers.

Speaking of Connecting

The early bird price deadline for Pawn Expo is May 23. Have you registered yet? We have a great event this year! Not only will there be top notch education programs, but also plenty of time to visit with pawnbrokers from across the country. Remember, any problem you are having probably isn’t unique, and the NPA member sitting next to you at Pawn Expo could be the one with the solution. Our trade show vendors also will have a wealth of solutions for your business needs. I’d like to thank all of the Pawn Expo sponsors for 2014. Without their support, we couldn’t bring you such an amazing event. Another great way to network is on the NPA Member Forum. Every member of this online discussion group says that it is one of NPA’s top member

services. You are able to post questions and information related to the pawn industry that will be viewed by over 300 pawnbrokers across the country. The answers and discussions are well worth the price of NPA membership.

Thank You, Gold Family!

The Gold family, American Jewelry and Loan, has again reached out to support the pawn industry and NPA. They took time out of their crazy schedule to script and produce a nearly four minute video about the pawn industry for the media and general public. Thanks, Les, Seth, and Ashley! Go to, and watch! You can also link to the video from your website or e-newsletter and add a great marketing tool to your arsenal.

Dana Meinecke NPA Executive Director

New Staff Member

I’m excited to introduce Helen Moore, NPA’s newest staff member. Helen is the Director of Membership, replacing Margie Swoyer. Margie is sorely missed, but Helen has jumped right in and is working hard to learn the ropes and take our member services to the next level. You can contact her directly at I’m looking forward to seeing each of you July 8-10 in Vegas. Safe travels!

Helen Moore NPA Director of Membership

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government relations

Another Successful Legislative Conference NPA continues to look out for the independent pawnbroker

Each year at NPA’s Legislative Conference, NPA members visit Capitol Hill and tell our story. This year on April 9, over 45 pawnbrokers from across the country took time away from their families and businesses to visit their respective Members of Congress in Washington, DC. No one can tell the story of the independent pawnbroker like we can. The day began with a visit from Congressman David Scott of Georgia, who serves on the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. Rep. Scott is well versed on the challenges we are facing to defeat a Federal Charter. After breakfast, NPA members went to visit their respective Senators and Representatives to educate them about what we do every day and how we do it. Later in the day, we held a reception for Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina, who serves on the U.S. Sen-

ate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Senator Hagan took time to visit each person in attendance individually. While in DC, we heard that there may soon be a Federal Charter companion bill in the Senate, indicating that Federal Charter proponents are ramping up. We are seeing bipartisan support grow, with cosponsors for the Federal Charter bill in the house and now a comparable Senate bill. Because of this, this is a critical time for NPA government relations and for independent pawnbrokers.

Tim Collier NPA GRC Chair

Federal Charter

We continue to educate Members of Congress about the difference between independent pawnbrokers and the publicly traded companies that are pushing for a Federal Charter. These companies are working overtime to convince legislators that there is a shortage of small dollar, short-term credit and that a Federal Charter will solve the problem. We have found no evidence to support this claim. If a Federal Charter is passed, it will create an uneven playing field, allowing large, publically traded companies to operate without state licensing or regulations and without supervision by a number of federal regulatory agencies.

Matthew Church, NPA Government Relations Administrator; Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04); Kathleen Barbee, Lombard Financial

(Continues on page 66)

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Member News

National Pawnbrokers Association New Members January 1, 2014-April 11, 2014

Pawnbrokers Arizona

Biltmore Loan and Jewelry Chandler Mr. Pawn Bullhead City


Buy Sell Trade It All Sacramento


A Pawn USA Clermont Paramount Pawn and Jewelry Port Saint Lucie, FL



Western Kentucky Pawn Mayfield Nortonville Pawn Madisonville


Pawn Inc Helena

Capital Jewelry & Pawn Great Falls


Ozark Trading Post Mishawaka

Brad Kadoun Watertown, SD

Money Mart Pawn & Jewelry #32 San Antonio

James Dorman Memphis, TN


Industry Partners

KSoft Corporation Independence, IA

Money Mizer Pawn & Jewelry Fayetteville

Tyson’s Watch & Jewelry Exchange Vienna

Thermo Fisher Scientific Tewksbury, MA


Oceana Pawn and Gun Virginia Beach

Burroughs Plymouth, MI

Moore Cash Elyria


Harrisburg Pawn Shop Houston

Superior Pawn & Gun Hampton

Glenda’s Treasures & Pawn Henderson

US Money Shops Dalton

Ashland Pawners & Jewelers Chicago

Thomas Scheer New York, NY

Pawnbroker Financing Denver, CO

Ohio Gold & Pawn Canton

Hawaii Pawnbrokers Association Honolulu

Apprentice Pawnbrokers

Superior Pawn & Gun Virginia Beach

North Carolina

Fieldstone Jewelry and Pawn Conyers


Texas Heritage Jewelry & Loan Sugar Land


Fat Cat Pawn Edmond

South Carolina

West Virginia Paradise Pawn Martinsburg Tri-State Pawn and Jewelry Huntington

Gene’s Pawn Shop Goose Creek

International Pawnbrokers


Compra Y Venta El Triunfo Oranjestad, Aruba

US Money Shops South Pittsburg

Compra Y Venta El Triunfo Oranjestad, Aruba

Harvey’s Pistol & Pawn Knoxville

ScentAir Charlotte, NC Shinestones Inc New York, NY AFIMAC Strongsville, OH Sapphire Protection Cedar Park, TX

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community involvement

NPA Gift Day 2014 Success!

NPA and The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation join together to give the gift of music

On April 17, 2014, the NPA celebrated its fifth annual Musical Instrument Gift Day. This year, The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation identified Lee High School in Huntsville, AL as a school music program in need of assistance. Thanks to the generous donations from NPA pawnbrokers and the successful partnership with The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, Lee High School received a donation of the following musical instruments: 2 sousaphones 2 snare drums 2 baritones 2 trumpets 1 pair marching cymbals 1 refurbished trombone 2 refurbished clarinets The total retail value of this donation was $17,848!

NPA members Fran Bishop, Robert Barnett, and Rosemary Hipps celebrate with Lee High School Band and faculty members.

NPA members Robert Barnett from Larry’s Pistol & Pawn Huntsville, AL; Rosemary Hipps from Larry’s Jewelry and Pawn in Florence, AL; and Fran Bishop from Dollar Pawn in Haleyville, AL presented the musical instruments to students at the donation ceremony. The students and teachers at Lee High School will use these new instruments to jumpstart their music program after setbacks due to cuts in funding. Mr. Barnett noted, “The band students were very thankful and ecstatic to have new instruments. Band director, Mr. Michael Knotts, was nearly speechless when he was discussing how important these new instruments will be in increasing the morale and quality of the entire Lee High School band program.” The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation is a nonprofit organization that donates both new and quality refurbished instruments to under-funded music programs without resources to keep up with equipment loss or to accommodate students on waiting lists or who have to share instruments. For more information about NPA Musical Instrument Gift Day, please visit Through musical instrument donations from pawnbrokers across the country, The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and NPA Musical Instrument Gift Day are making music, one donation at a time.

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member news

American Jewelry and Loan

Working to support NPA and the pawn industry

Les, Seth, and Ashely Gold have become TV stars, but they aren’t leaving their fellow pawnbrokers behind. In an effort to help people better understand our industry, the Golds created a video which educates the media and public about pawn. “This video is a great asset to our public education efforts,” said Dana Meinecke, NPA Executive Director. “It answers the most common questions we get about the pawn industry in a clear concise manner. We’re so thankful that they helped us with this!” The Golds took time out of their hectic schedules to script and film the almost four minute video and offered it to NPA to use on its website and as a promotional piece. Seth Gold received the 2014 NPA Pawnbroker of

the Year award, and will be a part of the social media “Ask the Expert” session at Pawn Expo 2014. If you would like to use the video on your website, email

member news

NPA Member Forum Pawn expertise at your fingertips

To join the NPA member forum, email

The NPA Member Forum is one of the most popular benefits for members. This online discussion group allows pawnbroker members to post questions and receive feedback from fellow members across the country.

There is a very good fake Rolex Submariner 16610 going around. The engraving for the serial number and model number is perfect, and everything else is outstanding too. It can fool even those very familiar with these watches if you are not careful.

Here are some recent examples of questions that were answered on the forum:

1 Is anyone currently accepting debit cards to pay off loans or interest and if so, what are some tips/comments you can give?



4 Does anyone have any idea how much I should pay for a National Emmy Award statue?

In search of a rare earth magnetic ball clasp in yellow gold, approximately 10mm. Anyone happen to have one laying around?

3 I’m planning to invest in a new security system. Any recommendations?

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pawn expo presenter

Compliance Seminars at Pawn Expo Learn more about your compliance requirements

Beyond meeting great people and seeing new and exciting products, a major benefit of attending Pawn Expo is the education. This year’s compliance seminar is one you cannot afford to miss! Not only will you pick up important new information, but the seminar also counts toward your training requirements under federal law for dealers in precious metals. This will be the most interactive compliance seminar ever. I will test you on your compliance knowledge while providing a wealth of information about requirements. As a pawnbroker or dealer in precious metals (gold buyer), you have federal obligations with which you must comply in order to avoid heartburn with regulatory agencies such as Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or the IRS. These requirements include: • Form 8300 reporting • Customer notification • Written risk assessments • An Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program • Documented training • Internal monitoring • Annual written reviews


Precious Metals Dealers

As a purchaser (dealer) in scrap metals, there is much more to consider. You MUST have a written program, and policies and procedures in place. The program must include the following sections, just to name a few: • Know your customer • Transactional limits • Reporting • Dealing with law enforcement • Training • Internal monitoring • Independent reviews Are you providing formal training? Are you conducting internal monitoring and annual reviews? If the answer is “no” or you think the Patriot Act has something to do with football, you might find yourself in a deep dark place called IRS purgatory. Non-compliance fines might be considered egregious, so better to not tempt fate. I will conduct a special training for Money Services Business (MSBs) as well. Just like dealers in precious metals, the rules for check cashers, wire transmitters, and sellers of money orders and pre-paid debit cards are numerous. Banks are demanding that MSBs know exactly how to address matters of compliance or face bank discontinuance.

Robert Frimet, CAMS Robert Frimet is Managing Member of RMF Consulting Group and has been a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) since 2005. He offers compliance services nationwide and may be reached at (702) 596-8370 PST or Bob@

Do you know the answers to the following questions? q

What is a form 8300? What is a related transaction? q Is a form 8300 filed on cash out transactions? q Are items considered related even if the customer’s last transaction is 10 months after their first? q What constitutes a suspicious transaction? q


Do you understand structuring? What are the ongoing requirements of the Red Flags Rule? q What written policies and procedures must you have? q What is the SDN list? q

14 | National Pawnbrokers Association | Spring 2014

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member news

Close Down the Store

We’re headed to Vegas for Pawn Expo!

Would it ever occur to you that closing your store for a week could improve your business? One NPA pawnbroker member does just that because of the value he gets from Pawn Expo. Scott Amberg of EZ Cash of Panama City, FL, has been a pawnbroker since 1988 and in his current store since 1998. He worked for a year with his father in the pawn industry on the Southside of Chicago. “And trust me. It takes a full year to learn about pawnbroking. You can’t just walk into it and get a five minute orientation and go to it. You need months and months of hands on experience,” he said. Later, Scott put together a business plan, and he and his brother, Lee Amberg, opened their first store on Memorial Day, 1988 in Evanston, IL. In 1995, Lee was in Florida and visited a pawn store. After talking with the owner, he asked if the store was for sale. The owner said yes and they opened their second store in Panama City, FL. In 1998, Lee proposed that he and Scott switch stores. Scott was ready to get to a warmer climate and agreed. National Pawnbroker magazine talked to Scott about his Pawn Expo experiences.

National Pawnbroker (NP): Why on earth would you close your store? Scott Amberg (SA): Pawn Expo is the one event annually that has the biggest draw for pawnbrokers and vendors from across the country. With only 12 pawn stores in my county, Pawn Expo opens up a larger venue for me to learn more and get ideas from other pawnbrokers. NP: What is your favorite seminar? SA: It is hard to say. Every year there are new seminars. In addition, it depends on where we were positioned as a business at that time. One seminar

for Pawn Expo

would stand out one year and another seminar would fit my needs the next year. I am always interested in information on diamonds and diamond enhancements because I have GIA certification, and any session that allows you to visit one-on-one with other pawnbrokers is invaluable. Networking is a key value of my NPA membership, both at Pawn Expo and on the Member Forum NP: How is it that you can close up shop for a week? SA: I can’t just walk away from it and say, “I’m closing my business for a week.” I’m the only employee, and I need to take steps to ensure that the right people know what’s going on. Here is some advice for other small shops: Notify your customers: Make your customers aware that you will be closed and of the ramifications on payments and redemptions that come due during that time period. I prepare a notice that is attached to every pawn (Continues on page 52)

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member news

Commitment to an Industry

R.B. Grampp receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Polygon

There are supporters of every industry, and then there are those tried and true, longterm, dependable people and companies that stand the test of time. Bluestone Trading Co. was started as a twoperson operation in 1978 on the back of a motorcycle. With one person working the books in the office, R.B. Grampp was on the road buying used gold jewelry, pulling the diamonds, and selling them to the jewelers and the gold to the refineries. Eventually, the diamond business seemed to take over all his time and the company entered the international realm of diamond wholesale.

Lifetime Achievement

R.B. Grampp from Bluestone Trading has been a Lifetime Member of Polygon since 1984. Recently, he was honored with Polygon’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to the

network and to members over the years. This award has only been given to two other Polygon members. Polygon is the jewelry industry’s most active online community and trading network, and since 1984 has helped thousands of jewelers grow their businesses. Polygon was started in the pre-online days, when members communicated by phone and fax. Many members have been with Polygon since those early years, one of whom is Bluestone Trading’s R.B. Grampp. Polygon Conclaves are a tried and true tradition. Held in different cities a couple of times each year, the “claves” are a great opportunity for members to transition from the virtual world to the real world—to meet in person, develop long-lasting business relationships, trade goods, and participate in seminars. The most recent conclave was held in March in Newport Beach, CA and celebrated Polygon’s 30th anniversary. Polygon members joined together for a weekend of fun, business, and learning.

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“We’re really lucky to count some of the best and brightest minds in the industry as members of the Polygon network. R.B. Grampp has been a role model and leader in the industry since our early days, and we’re happy to honor him with this award.” – Lindsay Watkin, Sr. Director, Polygon Sales & Operations “I have known R.B. Grampp since the 1980s. He is number 24 on Polygon, and I am number 22. I’ve been a member since 1984. Through the years, R.B. has been a mentor to many Polygon members. He realized that Polygon could best serve its membership with continued growth. One achieves that by assisting and inviting members of the jewelry trade to join and contribute on the network with both sales and information. It has been a pleasure to call R.B. Grampp my friend and business associate for the last 30 years. His dedication and support to Polygon and the NPA over these years is to be commended.” – Paul Reiser, Paul Reiser & Associates, Green Bay, WI

“I have known R.B. Grampp since 1985. When I first met him, he was young in age, but mature in business experience. R.B. has built his company, Bluestone Trading, with nothing but his own hard work and perseverance. He has been a stellar businessman and has run his company to meet the finest standards. In 29 years, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single complaint. He is a fine gentleman and scholar, and it was my honor to present him the Polygon Lifetime Award in conjunction with Paul Reiser. It’s been great working with such fine people over a lifetime.” – Vineet Gupta, BG International Gems, Polygon member 274 and Lifetime Member since 1987

About Bluestone

Bluestone Trading is a family company, and R.B. Grampp, Jr. has joined his father in continuing the same unparalleled caliber of customer service, knowledge, and quality. The company employs more than 20 professionals who provide information on diamonds, diamond jewelry, and diamond simulants. Their educated and diverse staff caters to customer needs, offering no cost memo services with free overnight shipping and a “No Cost To You” buy program for customers to sell to their diamonds and jewelry. Their large assortment of old euro cuts as well as estate jewelry provide them a niche that keeps them on top. Their commitment to honesty, integrity, and value in service is supported by a loyal and dedicated client base. Clients appreciate the approach to treating them the way we want to be treated so much that they refer their friends and family. Bluestone Trading Company maintains a complete diamond inventory from melee and multicarat stones, to promotional quality and invest-

Wholesale Diamonds

& Estate Jewelry Since 1978

ment grade diamonds. The company buys and sells diamonds on a daily basis and receives import shipments on a weekly basis. It also provides online price quotes to its customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its inventory includes various sizes, shapes, and qualities of diamonds. Bluestone’s office is conveniently located in the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst, OH, and they are available by appointment to wholesale customers. Go to for more information.

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Tips to Stop Complainers

Whiners appear as martyrs, spoiled brats, and pouters. Whiners want you to hold their hand through life’s challenges and fix their problems. Don’t. TIP: Negotiate with Whiners by listening and empathizing for a few minutes, and then ask for solutions. “Wow, that has to be tough for you. How will you handle that?” Complicators appear as critics, nitpickers, know-it-alls, and micromanagers. Masters of minutiae, they complain by

finding flaws and in pointing out others’ incompetence. TIP: Negotiate with Complicators by presenting change as a logical addition, and ask them to contribute. “Can you give input on this next upgrade to make sure it is compatible with your current process?” Prima Donnas appear excessive, reactionary, and dramatic. Prima Donnas want the spotlight and complain to be heard, admired, and appreciated. TIP: Negotiate with Prima Donnas by recognizing them, but avoid getting lost in their drama. “How are you going to get positive recognition for your efforts?” Controllers appear to be tyrants, bullies, slave drivers, and bulldozers. Controllers use complaining to get things done, motivate others to action, or get rid of restraints. TIP: Negotiate with Controllers by standing your ground and, if possible, let them decide the next direction. “The client can’t provide the information to you until noon. Do you want to discuss what we receive at three today or first thing tomorrow?”

Linda Byars Swindling, JD, CSP Author, Speaker, and Business Owner, Journey On A recognized authority on negotiations, workplace issues, and high stakes communication, Linda Byars Swindling, is a recovering employment attorney, media expert, and Certified Speaking Professional. Take the free, online assessment “Spot Your Complainer’s Type” at

Toxics appear as narcissists, psychopaths, and manipulators. They are deceitful, ruthless, and can adapt their behavior to charm management. They are self-absorbed egotists who are hazardous to your health. TIP: Negotiate with Toxics by documenting actions and using stealth. If Toxics think you are plotting against them, they may retaliate and harm your professional reputation. Then, find a way to escape working with them if possible.

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pawn expo presenter

Reading Body Language

Learning how to improve customer engagement

Many business owners search for the latest iPhone or Android app to help them connect with customers and increase sales, but some are finding that good old fashioned customer engagement is more helpful. The ability to read body language helps with customer engagement by providing insight into their likes, dislikes, and potential purchasing behavior. By learning to read body language, you learn to leverage nonverbal communication and turn it into useful data to generate sales and protect profits. Local bar and restaurant owner Johnny Alvarez, in Austin, TX, says that he shares body language assessment techniques with his employees to help them identify dissatisfied patrons before they leave his establishment and write negative reviews on social media platforms. Alvarez says his staff’s ability to recognize potential dissatisfaction with services and/or products helps prevent losing customers. It is important to realize that the study of body language is not an exact science. Just because a person scratches their head when discussing a purchase does not mean they are not going to make the purchase. Body language decoding requires identifying multiple behaviors that display congruent messages to formulate one message.

It is important to realize that the study of body language is not an exact science.


Tips on Body Language

What are some quick assessment tips to help you and your employees deliver the best service to your customers? First, look for a genuine smile. When customers are satisfied, they smile more. One way to identify a genuine smile is to look for separation of the lips, a slight lowering of the eyelids, and the faint sign of crow’s feet around the outer corners of the eyes. A combination of these three behaviors indicates that your customer feels good about your product or service and will most likely return. If possible, notice the position of customers’ feet. This will provide a good indication of what they are most interested in. If their bodies and feet are pointed towards you, the customers are most likely interested in the conversation and therefore likely to make the purchase. However, if their bodies are pointed in your direction but their feet are pointing away from you, towards the door or in the direction of a nearby display stand, they are mostly likely interested in something other than what you are pitching. It may even indicate that they are ready to leave. This body language serves as an indicator you need to shift the conversation, direct them to another product, or ask another employee to assist them. Follow Los Ellis at: • • Twitter: @Losellis • Instagram: mr_keynotespeaker • Facebook:

Los Ellis Author, Speaker, and Business Owner, Los Ellis, Inc.

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business Sense

Due Diligence Making it a way of life

by Andrew J. Carraway, Esquire, Attorney with Lowers Risk Group

The phrase due diligence sounds complicated, but in reality it is simply the process of doing your homework before you make a major commitment, either on a business or personal level. Most of us practice due diligence without thinking about it. For example, you probably do research on the internet before making a major purchase, such as buying a car. We scan websites to get an idea of a fair price, the dealer cost, and any low interest financing deals so we can be prepared to counter the rock bottom price offered by the car salesman. In this process, we are doing our due diligence to get the best deal possible.

Due Diligence as a Defense

There are important legal uses of the term due diligence. It began as a term describing a legal defense in the Securities Act of 1933. Its purpose in that Act was to give broker-dealers a defense against an accusation that they had not disclosed information in a securities transaction. If they had performed due diligence in researching the company, they could not be held liable for information they did not discover. The term has now been applied to a large number of business and corporate finance related transactions. For example, a due diligence investigation would be conducted by a company seeking to acquire another company. This kind of investigation would likely include audits by professionals licensed in the following areas: compatibility of business operations; financial operations; legal and regulatory affairs; marketing operations; production facilities; management personnel; information systems operations and security; and financial reconciliation. In these applications, due diligence has a defensive character. The reason to perform it is to avoid an adverse outcome of some kind, most often a financial loss in a transaction.

However, as the concept has become better known, people have begun to use due diligence in many contexts, including issues in their personal lives such as relationships and jobs. You do your due diligence to avoid being taken advantage of.

Bernie Madoff

Nobody offers a better reason for performing due diligence on your personal and financial affairs than Bernie Madoff. Admittedly, he is a rare case, but the lesson his example gives is that unscrupulous actors, or even just incompetent ones, throw up barriers to discovering the facts behind a transaction. You need to be diligent in performing your due diligence. Once upon a time, Bernie Madoff thrilled investors. He was making returns for them in the range of seven to ten percent per year when average (Continues on page 65)

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business sense

Risk Mitigation The importance of opening and closing procedures for your store

Risk mitigation is defined as taking steps to reduce adverse effects. One of the many ways you should practice risk mitigation is to have opening and closing procedures for your store. Criminals know that employees may be more vulnerable when opening or closing a store. The employees may be focused on other tasks or just tired. Often, they are not alert to or aware of their surroundings and are not able to activate the security alarm system. They may have their hands full, carrying paperwork, a laptop computer, supplies, or other items. Criminals also believe that employees carry extra cash to open the store or for a night deposit.


All employees should review loss prevention procedures and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves when opening or closing the store.

All employees should review loss prevention procedures When opening your store, employees should circle the building in their vehicle upon arrival to check and see if anyone is watching. Also, check the exterior of the building to see if it was broken into overnight. Robbers have been known to break the back or side walls of building but not enter the

building. The robber then waits in the hole until the alarm system is turned off and enters the building from the hole. After checking the outside of the building, the employee should unlock the front door, enter, and lock it from inside before turning off the alarm system. The second opening employee (where applicable) should wait safely in their car and watch as the first employee enters the building. Once the first employee has disarmed the alarm system, he or she can return to the front door and signal for the waiting employee to come inside. Once inside the store and before opening the safe, the employees should put on their remote panic buttons (where applicable) and walk through the building to ensure there was no overnight entry. Upon closing the store, a similar procedure should be followed. Employee one should wait in the store while the other closing employee (where applicable) goes to his or her vehicle. Once employee two is safely inside his or her car, employee one can activate the alarm system and exit the building. In addition to the above procedures, every employee should know the alarm duress code. This is NOT the same code associated with turning on or off the alarm system. The alarm duress code is a series of numbers keyed into the alarm panel that will silently alert the alarm company that you need help.

Tony Gallo Senior Director, Sapphire Protection Tony Gallo has over 30 years experience in the loss prevention, audit, safety, and risk/ emergency management fields. Contact Tony at tony@ and follow him on Twitter at @SapphireProtect.

(Continues on page 66)

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member news

Targeting Numismatic Crime

NPA forms a new partnership with the Numismatic Crime Information Center

by Doug Davis, Founder/President NCIC

Numismatics: The study or collection of coins, paper money, and related items. the Numismatic Crime Information Center (NCIC) is a non-profit whose mission is to serve as a national and international resource for collectors, dealers, and law enforcement in the education, prevention, and investigation of crimes involving coins, paper money, tokens, medals, and related numismatic items. For more information, email With the increasing prices of gold and silver, numismatic crime is on the rise and becoming more dangerous, and even deadly. To assist NPA members who deal in numismatics, the NPA has partnered with (NCIC).

In the past, numismatic crime investigations were hampered by lack of centralized and specialized resources. To address this problem, Doug Davis, former Chief of Police in Pantego, TX and a recognized expert in numismatic crime investigations, works to educate others about and help prevent such crimes. This resource is the first of its kind for the numismatic industry and law enforcement.

Visit NCIC at booth 816 at Pawn Expo NCIC provides a central location to report crimes and suspicious activities. All relevant information and data received from victims and individuals about numismatic crimes is compiled and indexed to help anticipate, analyze, prevent, and monitor potential criminal activity directed at or affecting the numismatic industry.

Dealer/Collector Resources

Numismatic crimes can be devastating to collectors and dealers. In some cases it can mean the difference in a comfortable retirement or the destruction of a successful business. In most cases law enforcement agencies do not have officers or investigators with numismatic knowledge. However, through NCIC, collectors and dealers now have a new investigative resource to provide law enforcement officers when a crime is committed. NCIC has developed resources that create a framework for conducting competent and productive numismatic investigations by providing a convenient and easy to use reporting system that alerts the appropriate law enforcement agencies of numismatic criminal activity. (Continues on page 60)

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Great Online Customer Service The pawnbrokers guide

Giving great customer service is by no means a new concept to the pawn industry. The modern pawnbroker strives to give great customer service to every person that walks through their front door. While positive, face-to-face transactions are a key component to running any successful business, many pawn store owners miss out on golden opportunities to connect with existing and potential customers online by handling feedback connecting online and complaints effectively. Who can blame them? With the explosion of social media and online review sites, business owners can easily become overwhelmed by the amount of time and effort required to properly manage the various new ways to connect with customers.


like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or even post a video review on Youtube. They may even choose to visit directory or customer review services like Yelp, City Search, or Google Places. Positive reviews can be a gold star when it comes to validating a customer’s trust in your business. However, a negative review can be disastrous. To make things even trickier, there are third party complaint and consumer organization websites that are particularly divisive, such as ripoffreport. com,, or Contrary to popular belief, customers don’t just go online to complain. According to a survey by American Express, social media users on average share their positive experiences with 42 people online, compared with the general population who only tend to share their posi-

Emmett Murphy 3CLicK Media

24 percent of disgruntled customers expect a reply within 30 minutes regardless of when the complaint was made, even after hours and weekends. Many pawnbrokers don’t readily envision a solid ROI for social media marketing. Still others are discouraged by the possibility of a negative situation becoming an online fiasco. New studies, however, demonstrate that online customer service can have a bigger impact on business than face-toface customer service transactions alone.

Why online?

Typically the reason customers like to go online is because it can be a safe and powerful place to share an experience or vent a complaint. They can choose to tell their story on sites

tive stories with 15 people. Additionally, social media savvy consumers say they’d spend 21 percent more with companies who deliver great service. The negative impact of a poor customer experience is also felt more strongly online. American Express reports that social media users will share their poor experiences with 53 other people online, as opposed to the general population who will share a bad experience with an average of 24 people. While getting a bad online complaint can be disheartening, pawnbrokers should consider it a rare opportunity to retain customers and show the world the (Continues on page 62)

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business sense

Workers’ Compensation Insurance Why is it important, and who is it important to?

If you have three or more employees, workers’ compensation insurance is mandated by most state governments. However, the mandates do not explain what happens if you elect to not have workers’ compensation insurance and an employee is hurt on the job. If this happens, you as the employer are financially responsible for the medical expenses. What if an employee is permanently disabled? You, the employer, may have inherited a dependent for life. What if the employee’s family sues for not providing a safe work place? You are responsible for defending yourself and paying what the court awards. There are two sides to workers’ compensation insurance. One, the most recognized, is that it pays the medical expenses of an injured employee. The other is that it provides legal representation for the employer if the employee or his family or loved ones sue. You as the owner and employer could be financially ruined if you are not protected by workers’ compensation coverage. Workers’ compensation coverage is regulated by each state and monitored by the nonprofit National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI). This organization tracks injury-related data and helps set the rates mandated by each state’s workers’ compensation agency. This rating philosophy is what causes pawn stores with high injury losses to pay a higher rate than stores with lower losses.

Dangerous Work

Following are the most common activities during which employees are severely injured: Test Drives Test driving motorcycles, ATVs, watercraft, and other motorized vehicles can account for severe and costly accidents. Of course, you need to verify that a product works before you take it. You should establish a “no employee riding” policy, and mandate that the seller or person pawning the item demonstrate that the vehicle is in good working order. This eliminates risk for your employees and potentially costly exposure for you. Lifting Lifting is one of the most frequent causes of severe injury. Reduce your risk with procedural controls. For example, set rules that a team (more than 1 person) should lift any item over 50 pounds; all heavy items should be stored on the lowest level; and mechanical assistance such as dollies and hand trucks should be used to position heavy items. Firearms Each company that insures pawnbrokers has their own underwriting philosophy when it comes to firearms. Some do not allow firearms. Some allow no more than a certain percentage of total sales. The insurance company that we place pawnbrokers with knows the pawn industry. Its philosophy is stated by the assistant vice president of loss control as, “Firearms are part of everyday life in pawn shops.”

Paul Isaac Insurance Broker Wexler Insurance Agency

(Continues on page 66)

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THE MIRAGE, LAS VEGAS | JULY 8-10, 2014 WHAT IS PAWN EXPO? Pawn Expo is the only national convention and trade show for the pawn industry. Attendees learn new ways to strengthen their businesses, connect with fellow pawnbrokers, and do business at the trade show featuring over 120 different companies. Leave energized and equipped with the latest industry knowledge.

PAWN EXPO HIGHLIGHTS Networking Reception – This event connects attendees at the very beginning of the convention. It is a must for first-time attendees and anyone interested in networking at Pawn Expo.

Annual Membership Meeting – Enjoy breakfast and find out the latest NPA news, including information about several new initiatives.

Opening Session Keynote – Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development® and New York Times bestselling author, will deliver the keynote address, “The Cold, Hard, Ugly Truth About Success.”

Trade Show – The Pawn Expo Trade Show is the largest and most comprehensive trade show in the pawn industry. Spanning two days, this is the perfect place to find the products and services vital to the success of your business.

Pawnbroker Peer Roundtables – The pawnbroker sitting next to you is one of your greatest resources. At the roundtables, attendees have the opportunity to discuss current pawn topics with their peers and learn best practices from one another.

Closing Reception – As the last official convention event, this is the ideal way to spend your final evening in Las Vegas.

Welcome Reception – As the premier social event of the convention, this reception boasts the highest attendance and is one of the best opportunities you will have to enjoy a fun evening with your fellow attendees.

Make money at Pawn Expo. Bring your diamonds to sell in the privacy of the secure Diamond District trading room. Here you can negotiate the best deal with any vendor you choose. No appointments required.

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NPA PAC Event - Michael Jackson ONE – Support the NPA PAC with your contribution, and enjoy a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE. By contributing to the NPA PAC, you help shape the laws that influence your business and our industry. Additional Ticket Required

Learn during educational sessions designed to give you the tools to strengthen your business and overcome challenges facing pawnbrokers today.

Awards Luncheon – Join us in recognizing our scholarship and annual award recipients, including the 2014 Pawnbroker of the Year and Industry Partner of the Year.

Connect with pawnbrokers from across the U.S. and the world and share your experiences. The most important resource could be the person next to you.

Ask the Expert Sessions – We all encounter things in our businesses that leave us with questions that we need expert advice on. This is your chance to directly “ask the expert” questions about topics affecting your business today. Trade Show Breakfast - Enjoy breakfast on the trade show floor so that you can start the day right, visiting with the exhibitors.

Do business at the trade show, where you can visit over 120 vendors who understand your needs, and represent goods and services that pawnbrokers use everyday such as security, software, jewelry tools, and much more.

MSB Compliance for Check Cashers - This seminar is designed specifically for MSBs, with all you need to know about compliance. Learn new registration requirements, training guidelines, how to spot suspicious activity, how to fill out various forms, how to conduct internal monitoring, and much more. Additional Registration Required

BUILDING THE NEW NPA NPA is poised at a new and exciting threshold of greater opportunity.

Learn more at Pawn Expo

Throughout 2014, NPA is working overtime to enhance and broaden the benefits and programs that the association provides to you, focusing on three key initiatives: Advocacy - representing your interests before elected public officials and agencies at all levels of government and telling them, the media, and other key stakeholders why the pawn industry is vitally important to our nation’s economic and social needs. Member Services – stepping up the way we serve you in an ever-changing business environment. Education – providing you, your staff, and your business new ways to broaden your knowledge and skills and to differentiate your business from those who do not meet our standards of customer service and excellence.

register now!

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EDUCATION SESSIONS Opening Session Keynote

The Cold, Hard, Ugly Truth About Success Larry Winget, Pitbull of Personal Development Tuesday, July 8, 9:00 am – 10:00 am Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development and five-time Wall Street Journal/New York Times bestselling author, attacks traditional business wisdom and offers simple truths in his caustic, thought-provoking, and hilarious style. In his presentation, he offers a realistic approach that will work for anyone, at any time, and in any business, ultimately bringing you more success.

State of the Diamond Industry Martin Rapaport Chairman and Founder, Rapaport Group

Wednesday, July 9, 10:15 am – 11:30 am Diamond and jewelry markets are changing, creating great opportunity for companies that can adapt to new realities. Martin Rapaport will discuss the development of new markets for diamonds and jewelry and how companies can grow their business in this new environment. The presentation will include an analysis of global diamond supply and demand, growth markets, consumer trends, and economic indicators.

How to Negotiate Work Drama to Get More Done Linda Byars Swindling, JD, CSP Author, Speaker, and Business Owner, Journey On Tuesday, July 8, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Constant complainers take up resources, time, and mental bandwidth. Based on Linda’s new book, Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers: How to Negotiate Work Drama to Get More Done, this program offers concrete, researched ways to help you stop complainers and energy drainers from wasting your time.

Understanding Your Precious Metals Recovery David Siminski Regional Sales Director, United Precious Metal Refining, Inc. Tuesday, July 8, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Often times, your scrap recovery does not equal your expected results. But why? This session will focus on the reasons for under-karated jewelry and how it affects your final results when scrapping; the benefits and limitations of the different testing methods; things to watch out for; and expected lead times from your precious metal recovery partner.

Valuing Coins

Rod Gillis Numismatic Educator, American Numismatic Association Tuesday, July 8, 10:15 am – 11:15 am This presentation will focus on circulated, commemorative, and bullion coins, answering questions such as: What are the variables that give collectable coins value? How do you place an accurate value on coins so that you can buy and sell intelligently? How do you tell the difference between a coin’s melt value and collector price? Is there a source to help learn how to grade coins and become proficient at counterfeit detection?

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How to Survive an Armed Robbery Mark Lowers President and CEO, Lowers & Associates Tuesday, July 8, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm This session will focus on avoiding an armed robbery and steps that can be taken to mitigate the potential. The presenter will provide real life examples and case studies to help you avoid similar situations and information and background on what to do if a robbery occurs. The key is to be prepared in advance so that you know what to do during and immediately after a robbery.

Decoding Body Language and Facial Expressions Los Ellis Author, Speaker, and Business Owner, Los Ellis, Inc. Tuesday, July 8, 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Body language and facial expressions are common, everyday actions and motions used by every person in the world, and contain a wealth of information about us. When we can identify these actions and movements, we can change or enhance them to convey a tailored message to others. Learn to identify, strengthen, and manage your body language and make it work for you.

Federal Regulation - Navigating the Compliance Waters Robert Frimet, CAMS President, RMF Consulting Group, Inc. Thursday, July 10, 1:15 pm – 3:15 pm With the ever increasing regulations pawn stores and dealers in precious metals must follow, understanding what it takes to be compliant is more important than ever. This session will cover pawn and dealers in precious metals federal regulations; 8300s; the importance of OFAC; and much more. Stay compliant, and don’t miss this important regulatory-based seminar.

How I Tackled Online Marketing Jamie Smith Owner, Allied Pawn and Jewelry

Tuesday, July 8, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Successful online marketer and pawnbroker Jamie Smith shares how he leverages the power of outsourcing to accelerate his marketing plan. See how his business uses online marketing to drive customers to his store and sell his out-of-pawn merchandise online; what tools he uses to stay above the fray with his company’s reputation and store image; and specific strategies to improve marketing efficiency.

Bridging the Generation Gap in the Workplace Cathy Gish, PHR Human Resource Director, Brittex Financial Inc. Tuesday, July 8, 10:15 am – 11:15 am Learn about generational differences in the workplace and the impact they have on your business. From recruiting to firing and everything in between, these generational differences must be taken into consideration to obtain maximum results. Understanding core value differences and what motivates your employees will help you effectively develop leaders for the next generation of pawnbrokers.

Identifying Fakes

Panelists: GIA, Dillon Gage Metals, Watch Certification Services of America Tuesday, July 8, 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Each day, pawnbrokers across the country use their expertise to evaluate merchandise brought into their stores. With the marketplace producing more and more counterfeit items, it’s more important than ever to be able to distinguish fake from real. This panel will focus on what to look for when evaluating watches, diamonds, and precious metals to help prevent fakes from costing you money.



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PAWNBROKER PEER ROUNDTABLES The pawnbroker sitting next to you is one of your greatest resources. At the roundtables, attendees have the opportunity to discuss current pawn topics with their peers and learn best practices from one another.

THURSDAY, JULY 10: Pawnbrokers Only 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm • Employee Incentives • Police Confiscations

2:15 pm – 3:00 pm • Store Merchandising • Grassroots Advocacy

3:15 pm – 4:00 pm • Value Added Services • Increasing Your Loan Base


We all encounter things in our businesses that leave us with questions that we need expert advice on. This is your chance to directly “ask the expert” questions about topics affecting your business today.

Ask the Expert: Social Media Tuesday, July 8, 10:15 am – 11:15 am

Seth Gold

Vice President, American Loan and Jewelry

Trying to reach new and existing customers through Facebook, Twitter, or other social media? Star of “Hardcore Pawn”, Seth Gold, American Jewelry and Loan, and new media strategist, Emmett Murphy from 3 CLiCk Media answer tough questions about how to build a following with social media that will benefit your business.

Emmett Murphy New Media Strategist, 3 CLiCk Media

Ask the Expert: Electronic Reporting


Tuesday, July 8, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Tim Collier Government Relations Chair, NPA

Electronic reporting often creates challenges and difficult situations for pawnbrokers who want to protect proprietary business information and customers’ personal information. NPA Government Relations Chair Tim Collier and NPA Government Relations Liaison Fran Bishop will address the tough questions raised by electronic reporting, and provide information to help you deal with the challenges it can create.

Fe Fran Bishop Government Relations Liaison, NPA

Do Pa yo

Ask the Expert: Finance and Accounting Tuesday, July 8, 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

Rob Anderson Chief Financial Officer, Vandivier Management Inc.

Between past mistakes and future concerns, balancing competing financial and daily operational priorities can seem like a daunting task. Rob Anderson, Vandivier Management Inc., and Kevin Prochaska, Lombard Financial Services, will help you identify key financial aspects of your business and tools to set yourself up for long-term success. Learn about what the important numbers are in your business, what outside lenders/investors look for, and why an audit can be good for you.

Kevin Prochaska Owner, Lombard Financial Services

Ask the Expert: Risk Mitigation Tuesday, July 8, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Mark Lowers President and CEO, Lowers & Associates

Protecting your business from both internal and external theft takes vigilance, determination, and some know how. Our speaker will give you a few quick pointers and thoughts that should be considered when you go about your daily operations. The biggest enemy is complacency and thinking it will never happen to me.

Questions? – (888) 808-7296 | 034-040_PE.indd 38

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11:30 am – 6:30 pm Convention Registration

7:30 am – 5:00 pm Convention Registration

7:30 am – 4:00 pm Convention Registration

8:00 am – 12:00 pm Convention Registration

1:30 pm – 6:30 pm Diamond District

9:00 am — 10:00 am Opening Session

8:00 am — 9:30 am State Presidents Breakfast

2:00 pm – 4:30 pm MSB Compliance for Check Cashers

9:30 am — 5:30 pm Diamond District

8:30 am — 10:00 am Annual Membership Meeting and Breakfast

Additional Registration Required

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Networking Reception


le is su

bject to

10:15 am — 4:30 pm Education and Ask the Expert Sessions

10:15 am — 11:30 am General Session 11:45 am — 1:15 pm Awards Luncheon

12:30 pm — 2:00 pm Pawnbroker Luncheon

1:30 pm — 5:30 pm Trade Show

6:30 pm — 8:30 pm Welcome Reception

3:30 pm — 4:30 pm Trade Show Reception 6:00 pm — 9:00 pm NPA PAC Event – Michael Jackson ONE


9:30 am — 1:00 pm Trade Show 9:30 am — 10:30 am Trade Show Breakfast 1:15 pm — 4:00 pm Education Sessions and Pawnbroker Peer Roundtables 5:30 pm — 7:00 pm Closing Reception

Additional Ticket Required

NPA PAC EVENT Featuring Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE

Don’t miss your chance to see the newest Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, Michael Jackson ONE at the NPA PAC Event at Pawn Expo. By contributing to the NPA PAC, you help shape the laws that influence your business and our industry, and best of all, you’ll spend a great evening with friends.

Wednesday, July 9, 7:00 pm Event tickets are $500 each, and include the following: • One ticket to Michael Jackson ONE performance. Seats are located in the front, center section of the theater. • Roundtrip transportation from The Mirage to Michael Jackson ONE performance • Welcome gift at Pawn Expo 2014 Tickets are limited. Reserve yours today at

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HOTEL INFORMATION Mirage Las Vegas 3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South | Las Vegas, NV 89109 Chic and comfy. Cotton-soft and urbanite stylish. This is your staging area for every Mirage adventure.

Pawn Expo 2014 Room Rate $106 per night, plus applicable taxes. A resort fee of $22 per night is applicable at check-in and includes: in-room internet access; cardio center admission (does not include spa access); daily newspaper; unlimited local and toll-free calls, incoming fax, and notary services; up to 20 outgoing faxes; and airline boarding pass printing. Visit to make online reservations, or call Group Reservations at (800) 627-6667. Mention NPA/Pawn Expo 2014 to receive the group rate. The group rate is available through June 12, 2014, based on availability.

AIRFARE DISCOUNTS A 5 percent discount off the lowest applicable published fare is available to attendees that book travel with American Airlines. Online reservations can be made at using promotion code 5874DH. Phone reservations can be made by calling American Airlines at (800) 433-1790 from anywhere in the United States or Canada and referring to your promotion code. Please note that additional reservation charges apply for phone reservations. The discount is valid for travel between July 3, 2014 – July 14, 2014.

Questions? – (888) 808-7296 |

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Stay in the Know

FBI preliminary 2013 numbers show violent crime continues to drop

by Steve Sanetti, National Shooting Sports Foundation President and CEO

Reports from the federal government that show a continuing decline in crime usually get little media attention. And so it was again with the release earlier this year of the FBI’s preliminary Uniform Crime Statistics for the first half of 2013. The report showed that murders fell by nearly 7 percent compared with the same period in 2012, and violent crime overall fell by 5.4 percent. These crime reductions continue a 30-year trend as reported by the Department of Justice. However, the public is largely unaware of this remarkable shift towards a safer society.

Legal Firearms

These crime reductions correspond with a steady increase in the legal demand for firearms. Lawabiding Americans continue to exercise their Second Amendment rights by enjoying recreational shooting and even go afield with a new modern sporting rifle. The latest ATF figures show that firearms’ production in 2012 topped 8.57 million, up 31 percent from 6.54 million in 2011. Let’s be clear in responding to our critics and opportunistic politicians on this important point: No matter how skilled our industry is in our marketing, there is no way that this demand could be generated through advertising and online videos. Americans want these firearms.

Correct Information

Flawed information is being disseminated. One such study suggested that alarming numbers of children are accidentally injured by firearms. However, the study mostly tracked violence among young men. The vast majority of the incidents included in the study, 84 percent, involve individuals in the range of 15 to 19 years old. In addition, almost two-thirds of the cases examined were assaults, and, not surprisingly, almost all of the assault victims were between 15 and 19 years old. It seems possible that a teenager may report an injury as unintentional when actually the result of an assault to avoid legal trouble or retribution, so the figures may be skewed A recent Gallup poll showed that the percentage of Americans favoring stricter gun laws fell 7 points in 2014, from 38 to 31 percent and that the country’s overall dissatisfaction with U.S. gun laws and policies has increased to 55 percent this year, up from 51 percent in 2013. However, that increase in dissatisfaction stemmed largely from the 16 percent of Americans who say that gun laws are too strict, more than triple the 5 percent recorded by Gallup last year. “Americans have become more dissatisfied with gun laws over the past year, but this is attributable to a greater percentage who say gun laws are too strict, rather than not being strict enough,” the poll concluded. “Americans’ changing views could set the course for future gun law debates and legislation.”

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business sense

Tips for Maximizing Your Refining Return Are you getting the best results from your refiner?

The following tips are from Jewelry Metals: A Guide to Working with Common Alloys, by MJSA. As the trade association for jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers, MJSA offers the information and resources needed to achieve professional excellence and maintain a competitive edge.

General Tips

• Keep the refining lot as dry as possible. If you can, dry the lot in a kiln prior to final processing. This will help the refiner process the material more efficiently. Be aware that drying some sweeps in a kiln may emit toxic fumes, so only do this in a well-ventilated, contained area. • Mark every lot you send with your company name, address, phone and/or e-mail, and primary contact’s name. In addition, provide information about the materials, such as the following: • Gross and net weights • Container count • Type of materials (e.g., sweeps, polishings, karat scrap) • An estimate of gold weight when possible • Keep a copy of this information for your records.


When your lot is received, the first step for refiners is obtaining a sample. For most metal lots, they typically use one of the following three methods: • Drill sample. The refining lot is melted down and formed into a bar. A small section is then drilled out of each end of the bar and used as the sample. Some companies may take a drill sample from both the top and bottom of the bar to improve accuracy. • Pin sample. The lot is melted down and a glass tube is dipped into the molten metal to draw the sample, which then cools into a pin shape.

• Dip sample. The lot is melted down and a small amount is collected and poured into water to create a granulated sample. Refiners and independent assayers may have their own preferences for which type of sampling to use, but the consensus is that the pin and dip samples tend to be more representative, because they gather a more thorough mix of metals while the sample is still molten. Note: Drill samples should be done only with higher-grade materials, although the pin and dip options are still preferable. If you are turning in sweeps or plating solutions, the refiner may use other sampling methods. Sweeps are often incinerated and the remains pulverized to ensure a fine powder is produced. The powder is poured into a drum, where it may be blended further, and the samples are then drawn through the use of a sampling rod that captures powder from different areas of the drum. Similar rods are used to draw out samples from plating solutions. It is important to be aware that with some solutions (primarily electroless), the precious metal may leach out during storage and transport and actually adhere to the inside of the drum. Make sure your refiner checks the drum’s interior during preparation, otherwise you may be losing metal—and money.


Once the sample is prepared, it’s ready to be analyzed for content. A variety of factors go into determining which analysis method to use—everything from the metals present in the sample and their concentration, to the preferred time table, to what instrumentation refiners have available. In most cases, refiners will have a preferred method (or methods) of analysis that they faithfully employ, which may include the following: (Continues on page 55)

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Conducting a Firearms’ Inventory Preventing firearms’ loss

In an effort to keep firearms out of the hands of prohibited persons and to promote good business practices, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) educates the firearms’ industry and federal firearms’ licensees (FFLs) about preventing loss. Apart from ATF compliance inspections, FFLs should conduct business inventories to identify and prevent shrink or inventory loss by theft or poor recordkeeping. By comparing the physical inventory to the acquisition and disposition record (A&D), FFLs can do the following: • Ensure the accuracy of inventory which ensures accuracy of its bottom-line profits. • Determine if firearms have been stolen by cus tomers or employees. • Stay in compliance with laws and regulations. • Provide timely trace information to assist law enforcement with criminal investigations.

A Successful Inventory

COUNT the total number of firearms in inventory and compare that number to a total count of open dispositions’ entries in the A&D record. LIST the firearms in your physical inventory and place a check mark next to the entry when the firearm is located in your A&D record. Remember to verify that all required information is properly listed in the A&D. TEMPORARILY MARK your A&D record when you have found the firearm in your physical inventory. RECONCILE your firearms physical inventory sheet(s) with the A&D record. Any firearms listed on your physical inventory sheet(s) not found in the A&D record will have to be recorded as a receipt. Research your invoices for the correct date of receipt and from whom you received the firearm.

Any open disposition entries in the A&D record which have not been marked “found” in your physical inventory must recorded as a disposition if an ATF Form 4473 is found reflecting the transfer or if an invoice reflecting the transfer to another FFL is found. If you cannot locate a firearm in inventory, you will have to report the firearm as lost or missing. Contact your local authorities and ATF’s Stolen Firearms Program Manager at (888) 930-9275. Each agency will provide a unique incident number to write on your report of theft or loss. Submit ATF Form 3310.11, Federal Firearms Licensee Firearms Inventory Theft/Loss Report, to ATF. Follow the Form 3310.11 instructions on recording the information in the A&D record for each firearm reported lost or missing.

The ATF field office in your area will provide seminars on how to conduct inventories. The ATF website includes information and updates for the FFL industry at

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United Exports North America

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vendor Spotlight

Abe Mor Diamond Cutters & Co. Questions and answers about diamonds

Abe Mor Diamond Cutters & Co. recently hosted a free conference call with over 100 members of the pawnbroker community to discuss diamond buying, diamond grading, diamond evaluation, and market trends. Here are a few of the questions and answers from the call. Question (Q): My biggest issue with buying diamonds is color. I do not have a grading kit with master stones to compare, so I have to look at the diamond in the light with a white background and kind of guess what color grade I think it is. Answer (A): Welcome to the world of diamond buying. Even with the help of GIA graded diamond samples, the greatest diamond experts in the world are really guessing or estimating because diamond grading is subjective. In fact, an interesting phenomenon we have all experienced is that the diamond grade actually improves once you own it! Professional diamond graders never grade without their color samples, and neither should you. The first recommendation is to obtain GIA graded diamond samples. Simply send 2 or 3 small diamonds (maybe .30-.50 cts) to GIA, and get them graded. I would choose a very white one (maybe a G+), a faint yellow one (maybe a J), and a yellow one (M or below). The cost to grade them will be minimal. Just make sure they are not light brown diamonds, because these appear whiter face up and may confuse you when grading. After obtaining diamond samples you trust, your color grading will vastly improve. Place the ring or the loose diamond on a special bleached white paper background, compare to your samples, and start guessing. Attention NPA members: for a complimentary white color grading paper sleeve, send an e-mail to

Abe Mor (sleeves rolled up) cutting diamonds, 1951.

Q: How does fluorescence affect the value and appearance of a diamond? A: Diamond fluorescence is a result of the effect that ultraviolet light has on a diamond. When the diamond is in natural sunlight or any light that includes ultraviolet light, it appears slightly blue. On a GIA Diamond Report, fluorescence is graded None, Faint, Medium, Strong, or Very Strong. According to the GIA Fluorescence Study, about 30 percent of stones have some degree of fluorescence. The GIA study, though, concluded that the vast majority of casual observers could not tell the difference between diamonds that had fluorescence and those that did not. In very rare instances, some diamonds with strong fluorescence appear hazy or oily. Despite how infrequently this occurs, very high quality diamonds with fluorescence are discounted anywhere between 5 and 20 percent. Q: How do you detect diamonds that have been laser drilled, and how does their value compare to untreated diamonds? (Continues on page 60)

Attention NPA members: for a complimentary white color grading paper sleeve, send an e-mail to 48 | National Pawnbrokers Association | Spring 2014

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State News

State Association Updates What’s going on across the Country


Kelly J Swisher, President Illinois Pawnbrokers Association The State of Illinois’ Precious Metal Purchasers Task Force has met twice. The purpose of the task force is to present recommendations to the general assembly on how the State of Illinois can regulate second hand dealers. The Illinois Pawnbrokers Association (IPA) supports the regulation of second hand dealers, (cash-forgold dealers.) In the past, the IPA has worked unsuccessfully to have them regulated. I feel this time we stand a fairly good chance of making this happen.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is proposing an increase to our licensing fee. Currently, our licenses are renewed every year for $765. The proposed change would create a two year license for $2,000. The fee could be paid over two years. For example, you could pay $1,000 this June and $1,000.00 the following June with the renewal paperwork and background check happening only in the first year. We have been told that the proposed changes are to help fund the rising cost of regulating our industry and to hire an assistant for regulators. In addition, the pawn shop manger biennial license would increase from $50 to $100. The last fee increase was in 2003. Be aware, be safe, and let’s put some money on the street!


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Greg Engstrom, President Indiana Pawnbrokers Association Indiana is the land of weather. This past season proved challenging to just keep stores open, and keep parking areas clear of the big piles of snow. With the quickly changing business environment, this to say the least has been a “different” season. Starting January 1 all gold buyers must register with state and local law enforcement. As of this writing only one small chain of gold buyers is on the state registration list. This legislation has been groundbreaking in the Midwest as it holds gold buyers to standards equal nearly to that of pawnbrokers, and yet does not impede their operations. Among one of the biggest changes is that all gold buyers must operate from permanent locations (i.e, not hotels.) The 23rd Annual Midwest Pawnbroker’s Conference & Convention has long sold out booths and expected to have the highest turn out ever. As always, there are a lot of opportunities for learning at these conventions. If you did not make it this year, be sure you are there next year.

(Continues on page 53)

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member news (From page 17)

Close Down the Store ticket, beginning 90 days prior to the extended closure. Sixty days prior to closure, every pawn customer receives a verbal explanation as to when and why I will be closed. Starting 30 days out, I give more information about the allowances we make for payment due or redemptions that fall during the time we will be closed. Make Accommodations: I let customers know that that if their ticket falls due during the time I’m closed, nothing is going to happen to their stuff. I also give them an extra week after I return to take care of their business. Notify Others: • I suggest arranging for a friend, neighboring business associate, or someone you trust to act on your behalf in the event of an attempted breach of your business. This also involves pre arranging with a board-up service to act in your absence, with your approval. I let one neighboring store know that I’m going to be gone, and they help keep an eye on my store. • I advise my security company of the extended absence and that there is no key holder avail able in town. They know to immediately inform law enforcement of any alarms. • I advise local law enforcement of my extended closure and request additional observation of my business. My local law enforcement has been known to park in my parking lot in the dark of night. I let law enforcement know there is no key holder in town. Because of the good relationship I’ve established with local law enforcement, they have a car that sits in front of my store during peak hours. I never asked them to do it. They chose to keep an extra eye out for me. This all makes it very easy to be gone, and I have minimal problems when I get back. Anybody can do it; you just have to be willing to do it. NP: Aren’t you afraid of losing customers? SA: The first time I attended Pawn Expo and

closed for that week, I was concerned about losing customers to the competition. I was relieved and surprised by the number of customers that put off using my competition until I reopened. Additionally, they all wanted to know, “How was the convention?”, “Did you have fun?”, and more. After doing this for several years, the question now is, “What month is your convention this year?” So it’s worked out nicely. You always risk losing customers to your competition for various reasons. The customers you may lose by closing for a week to attend Pawn Expo are customers that had no loyalty to you in the first place. If you have treated your customers professionally, honestly, and respectfully, they recognize your need to close. Taking time for professional development lets customers know you are a responsible business owner. It gives them information about you, and they become more involved in your life, as you have been in theirs. I may find that a few of my customers have used a competitor during the time I was closed, but they often return to me once I return from Pawn Expo. To successfully accomplish closing your store for a week, you need to think like a business owner for security purposes, but more importantly, you need to think like a customer and figure out the fairest way to meet their needs and concerns. NP: Any other words of advice? SA: Anyone that has never been to Pawn Expo and is hesitating is making a big mistake. There is a lot to learn that you didn’t even realize you needed to learn. If you don’t get involved, you’re just getting by. At Pawn Expo, you meet the people who are serious about our industry and you see the benefits of getting and staying involved with NPA. Once you go to the convention and live through the three days of activities and networking and seminars you get a whole different perspective on where you can go with the success of your business.

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State News

(From page 50)

State Association Updates Indiana sponsors three other opportunities for learning this year: • Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Dia mond Grading Class—second week of Septem ber (tentative) • Pawnbroker Boot Camp 101—Indianapolis, November 10-12 • Laws, Rules, Regulation and Legislation (LRRL)—1 day retreat for Indiana Pawnbro kers Association members this summer In the meantime, things are changing rapidly as many industries have their eye on the profits that are being made at pawnshops. Even Wal-Mart is moving in on the used gaming market. Your bottom line looks good to many other operators, and they are going to be busy getting some of it. Are you busy making sure you’re ahead of that locomotive?


Kevin Macdonald, President Mississippi Pawnbrokers Association Everything is rocking along well in Mississippi! We held the annual Dixie Conference and Trade Show on March 19 and it was a huge success. The speakers this year were arguably the best we’ve ever had. Over 100 pawnbrokers from Mississippi attended and not only was their feedback extremely positive, but they have already satisfied their required continuing education hours for 2015! With well over 200 pawnbrokers and over 100 men and women at the vendor booths this year, the future looks bright for even better things ahead. With the help of our government relations guru,

Tom Wallace, and a strong relationship developed over the years with our legislators, we were again successful at defeating some negative pawn related bills before they ever gained momentum. I hope everyone has had a great year!

New York

Eric Modell, President Collateral Loanbrokers Association of New York The Collateral Loanbrokers Association of New York (CLANY) continues to oppose legislation passed at the end of 2013 requiring that limited electronic records (including photographs) be uploaded to NYPD. Less than two weeks after being passed, CLANY appealed to the new administration to consider the implications of the recently passed Electronic Stop and Frisk Law. The administration replied some 60 days later that they had received the letter and would consider our point of view and get back to us. As of the date of this printing, we still have not heard a response. While we have been waiting for a response, CLANY has not been idle. With assistance from the NPA, specifically the GRC, and several nonmembers, CLANY is planning on filing a motion for injunctive relief from the courts prior to the enactment date of the law. The NYPD has recently released the regulations that will enforce this legislation and CLANY is preparing to voice our continued reservations at a hearing on May 15. CLANY greatly appreciates all the resources that the NPA has made available to us during this fight.

Find a NPA Member Store Anywhere! spring 2014 | National Pawnbrokers Association | 53

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4/29/14 7:05 AM

business sense (From page 45)

Tips for Maximizing Your Refining Return • Fire assay. This is considered the most accurate technique for gold assay. It involves taking a sample and adding silver to dilute the gold content to 25 percent or less. The sample is then wrapped in lead foil, placed in a crucible (called a cupel), and heated in a furnace to oxidize the lead and any other base metals into a slag. Cupellation is also commonly used for silver alloys. Once cupellation is finished, the resulting gold-silver alloy can be placed in a nitric acid solution to dissolve out the silver and the residue weighed to calculate the pure gold content of the sample. This process can produce a gold residue of up to 99.99 percent purity.

• Gravimetric wet chemical analysis. This method is used for lots that have a mixture of elements, including base metals and platinum group metals (PGMs). Through a series of chemical reactions, the analysis will isolate the metals into a sample so they can be weighed individually in their pure, elemental form. This method can provide extremely accurate values when performed by skilled chemists. Note: Sometimes a sample may be analyzed with both gravimetric wet chemical analysis and fire assay, depending on how many metals (precious or base) are thought to be present. Both processes can be timeand labor-intensive, taking up to a week because of the many steps involved. • X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF). XRF systems have become smaller and less expensive over the years and although accuracy can be limited, they provide small shops and even retailers with a convenient way to test metals. With this technology, the surface of a sample is bombarded with X-rays, which causes the components to give off their own radiation in particular

wavelengths. The XRF machine detects the radiation and identifies the metals and amounts present, based on the spectrum of emitted radiation. Be aware that results can be affected by the surface of the sample, as the machine is less accurate on curved and plated surfaces. In addition, the fewer alloys present, the better the results. For this reason, XRF is generally used as an initial step to discern which elements are present, as opposed to determining the value of a settlement. Some refineries or metal testing facilities will first analyze samples with XRF for a quick ballpark figure, and then re-test with another, more precise measurement. Because results are being compared to a known standard, XRF instruments need to be calibrated regularly. • Inductivity coupled plasma (ICP). ICP analysis involves converting the sample into a mist and injecting it into a plasma flame. Any solids in the sample break down into atoms, which are analyzed with a mass spectrometer or optical detector to determine the amount of each element present. The test is faster than gravimetric analysis and can determine all the elements present in a sample in one shot, as opposed to isolating one element at a time. Industry observers note that, when operated properly with a set of standards that has been carefully prepared and verified for accuracy, ICP approaches the accuracy of gravimetric analysis in many instances. One challenge of using ICP is that results are derived by comparing them to a known standard, as opposed to having an isolated amount of pure material to weigh, such as in gravimetric analysis. As with XRF, the instruments need to be calibrated regularly to ensure they haven’t drifted. (Continues on page 56)

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business sense (From page 55)

Tips for Maximizing Your Refining Return Note: Some refiners may have the capability to conduct atomic absorption spectrometry tests, although most concur that these tests are not accurate enough for results to be used as official assays. Since atomic absorption can test for only one element at a time, it is often used to gauge how much precious metal may be found in plating solutions, which typically do not contain multiple metals.

The Best Results

The best way to make sure results are as accurate as possible is to work with refiners you trust, but even then, there’s nothing wrong with asking to check their work. In fact, many refiners encourage it and have carefully outlined procedures for ensuring that both they and their customers are satisfied with the assay’s results. There are two primary ways for you to conduct such checks: Witness the processing of the lot. Many compa1 nies will, upon request, allow the preparation pro cess for the sampling to be viewed firsthand. Customers can watch the melt and then take a sample with them to have tested independently. Some companies may charge a fee for this ser vice, since it involves dedicating more staff to give a customer’s materials prompt attention, or require a minimum lot size. But, as the saying goes, seeing is believing and seeing how a refiner handles your material will give you invaluable insight into the company’s capabilities and quality of work. Customers who can’t witness the processing 2 firsthand can ask to have a sample either sent to them directly or to an independent assayer of their choice. Taking multiple samples from a lot is standard procedure for many refiners, and typi cally there is no extra fee or minimum require ment for this service, although it’s always best to check your specific refiner’s policies prior to send ing in a lot. If the results of the refiner and the independent test lab differ by a certain margin, the refiner and customer will usually turn to an umpire—an independent assayer that both parties have agreed upon, usually in advance. Most refineries are open to accommodating their customers in this way, and often keep a list of possible umpire laboratories. Typically, the party whose results are furthest away from the umpire’s assay will pay the fee for this service.

PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Ballard, Precious Metals West/Fine Gold

A Business Partner

You should treat your refiner as a partner, which means asking for advice on metal collection, communicating clearly, and reviewing your collection practices and results periodically to see if there’s room for improvement. Consider the following ways in which you and your refiner could develop a better working relationship: • Keep exact records of your refining results to get a sense of patterns, and review them with your refiner periodically. These records should show starting weight, process weight, metals market statistics, and the return for each lot. • Ask your refiner if it offers additional services, such as stone recovery or site inspections to evaluate your recovery efforts. • Above all, communicate with your refiner. Talk to them about their processes, tell them what you want, evaluate all the charges and terms, and understand the settlement options. Such commu nication is one of the best ways to ensure your scrap and sweeps continue to provide a maximum return on each and every lot.

NPA members can order Jewelry Metals at the pre-publication discount price of $24 per copy (including postage and handling). For more information, contact Shawna Kulpa at (800) 444-MJSA, ext. 3038,

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Message from the President (From page 1)

It Is Time! have the opportunity to discuss current pawn topics with your peers and learn best practices from one another.

and much more

Other Pawn Expo seminars will help you: • Understand your precious metals recovery • Survive an armed robbery • Negotiate work drama • Bridge today’s generation gap • Decode body language • Value coins • Tackle online marketing So register now!

Time Flies!

I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I began my term as NPA President, and I am so thankful to be able to serve the industry that has been so good to me.

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member news (From page 28)

Targeting Numismatic Crime Collector/Dealer Services • Downloadable property loss and inventory forms • Crime prevention training for collectors and dealers • Assistance in the recovery of stolen numismatic property • Support from NCIC after a report is filed • A listing of major crime reports on the NCIC’s web page • Dissemination of information within the numis matic community and law enforcement • Liaison services between victims, law enforce ment, prosecutors, and judges

Law Enforcement Resources • Training in numismatic crime investigations • A centralized database of numismatic crimes • A detailed numismatic crime investigation checklist • Technical case support • Access to numismatic experts • Data analysis • Identification and proper inventorying of re covered numismatic property

Doug Davis is the former Chief of Police in Pantego, TX and has over 34 years of experience in law enforcement and the numismatic industry. Doug remains a part-time investigator for the Pantego Police Department. Recognized as an expert in numismatic investigations, Doug developed the first and only accredited law enforcement school dealing with the investigation of numismatic crimes and continues to assist local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies across the country. The American Numismatic Association has recognized Doug for his numismatic investigations, and in 1988, he was presented the PNG Sol Kaplan award for setting up a clearinghouse to coordinate investigations of crimes against the numismatic industry. Doug holds membership in the American Numismatic Association, Texas Numismatic Association, Texas Police Association, Texas Association of Legal Investigator’s, and International Association of Property Crime Investigators and is a Diplomat of the American College of Forensic Science.

vendor Spotlight (From page 48)

Abe Mor Diamond Cutters & Co. A: Luckily, most laser drilled stones are pretty easy to detect with a regular 10x loupe. First, let’s explain the process. The diamond is placed under a microscope and obvious black inclusions are zapped with a laser. The diamond is then soaked in acid, under pressure, to further burn and whiten the black crystals. This creates a diamond with inclusions that are now clean to the naked eye. The structural integrity is not affected. The only thing that should concern you is the diamond’s value. Detecting a drilled diamond is relatively easy with a little practice. The laser process leaves a thin microscopic tunnel in the diamond that can be seen using a 10x loupe. The trick is to view the diamond from the bottom. Hold the diamond right up to the light with tweezers and look for unnaturally straight white lines through the bottom of the stone. The lines will be leading to a clump of inclusions that were previously dark. There might be one line or dozens of them.

Drilled diamonds should be bought at prices far lower than non-treated diamonds—perhaps as much as 30 to 50 percent less to an equal diamond without treatment. Why? Most consumers avoid these diamonds once they read about them or speak to another jeweler. Also keep in mind that when selling, according to the FTC, you must disclose drilled diamonds on the customer’s invoice.

Eric, Lisa, and Alon Mor are the owners of Abe Mor Diamond Cutters & Co., a New York based, 50 year old diamond cutter and wholesaler. The company was started by their father, Abe, who is still very active at 75 years old. With over 35 years in the diamond industry, Eric’s specific expertise is in diamond grading and diamond evaluation. Visit for more information or email Eric at

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Garfield Refining

Precious Metals Since 1892

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Voted #1 in Refining 3 Years in a Row! 810 East Cayuga Street Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19124 800.523.0968

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pawn expo presenter

(From page 31)

Great Online Customer Service professional and timely manner in which they handle these kinds of situations. You may not win every battle, but there is the chance to mitigate each one.

Create a System

Here are the important first steps for managing your online customer service: Account Set Up It is impossible to provide great online customer service without being present. It’s important to set up accounts on all of the major social media and online review sites. If an automated account has been set up for your business, claim the listing as soon as possible so that you’ll be notified immediately about any activities, photo, or video postings, or reviews on the account. It’s also a great idea to set up a Google Alert for your personal name and business name. This will provide an automated email from Google when these names appear online. Monitoring and Response Monitoring the various social media and online review accounts should be a regular part of the business day. Reading customers’ feedback and complaints is only one piece of the puzzle. You need to respond to them. The quicker you respond, the better. Silence can lead to losing the online customer service battle, as it will seem to the customer and anyone who views the complaint publicly that your social media profiles are poorly managed, or you just don’t care. According to The Social Habit, a leading social media research company, 32 percent of disgruntled customers expect a response within 30 minutes. While this may seem like an unreasonable request, 24 percent of disgruntled customers expect a reply within 30 minutes regardless of when the complaint was made, even after hours and weekends. While this may be a daunting challenge, consider the benefits of being able to meet those expectations. Not only can you quell an online fire, you may be able to regain the loyalty and continued business of a disgruntled customer. Resolution The most important thing for a pawn business to have is a plan in place for negative situations as they arise. As an example, a pre-formatted statement issued by an owner or senior manager

will avoid a scenario where an inexperienced employee further aggravates the situation by providing an ineffective or poorly composed response. Act quickly. Make sure that the response is personal and has the intent to resolve the issue. It’s best to speak in person as quickly as possible to move the argument offline. Be sure to provide a phone number or private email address where you can be reached. If the issue is resolved, it is not uncommon for the social media user to either rescind their online review, or post a follow-up thread thanking you for rectifying the situation and reconfirming their loyalty to your business. Often, this scenario can be more powerful than a simple positive online review.

Tips to apologize appropriately 3

Provide a reason for the perceived failure. Providing a reason helps assure customers that the situation did not occur out of greed or dishonesty.

3 Make sure your apology is truthful and sincere. 3

Don’t point the finger elsewhere. Accept responsibility. By trying to place the blame somewhere else, this could backfire and insult the customer or further confirm that the failure was due to the pawn store’s negligence.


Offer a solution. Depending on the type of customer (casual or long-term) the pawn store should offer a satisfactory solution to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

3 Avoid tit for tat.

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Midwest Pawnbroker’s Conference & Convention May 16-18, 2014 Booth - 30 JCK Exhibition 2014 June 1-4, 2014 Booth - B4446 Padmavati FP.indd 63

JIS Miami Beach Show October 11-14, 2014 Booth - 1317 California Pawnbrokers Association (CAPA) October 24-26, 2014 4/29/14 7:06 AM

With PawnSystem,

TIME Is On Your Side

Time is critical to your Pawn business. Rolland’s new PawnSystem brings new features to the safe you already love, and truly puts time on your side. Internet IP Connectivity lets you manage your PawnSystem anytime from anywhere you have internet access.

LED Strip Lighting

The PawnSystem is a criminal’s worst enemy. The Time Lock automatically shuts down your PawnSystem at programmable times outside hours of operation. The Time Delay and Rapid Use Penalty features use time to thwart an armed robbery attempt.

The perfect solution for a great many applications. Use it in showcases, for back lighting, window displays, channel and narrow area lighting. Features: • Consumes 80% less energy. • Can be cut to length. • Dimmable feature. • Color matched diodes.

Put a Rolland PawnSystem in your store. Put Rolland’s service on your team. And put time on your side.

• 50,000 hour projected life span. • 2 year manufacturer warranty. • Solderless connection tabs for easy field modification.

Stock No. Description 132.100 Pure White 6000°K, 16.4’ x 8mm 132.102 Warm White 4500°K, 16.4’ x 8mm 132.110 Pure White 6000°K, 16.4’ x 10mm 132.112 Warm White 4500°K, 16.4’ x 10mm 132.010 LED DC Power Supply 132.011 LED Dimmer Switch 132.012 Female Barrel Adapter 132.013 8mm Strip Adapter with Wiring 132.023 10mm Strip Adapter with Wiring

Price $155.00 Per Roll $155.00 Per Roll $195.00 Per Roll $195.00 Per Roll $ 49.00 Each $ 12.00 Each $ 2.25 Each $ 2.25 Each $ 6.30 Each

NEW installation videos on

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800.225.2984 Toll Free

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business Sense (From page 25)

Due Diligence investment returns were in the three to five percent range. This too-good-to-be-true fairy tale ended abruptly on March 12, 2008 when Madoff pled guilty to running a massive Ponzi scheme that cost his investors more than $50 billion. Many of the investors were wealthy individuals, but huge losses were incurred by corporate investment advisors and mutual funds who failed to conduct a proper due diligence check of Madoff’s operations. The failure to conduct such a review was even more surprising because there were numerous red flags that should have alerted investors that there were potentially serious problems with Madoff.

Yet the lure of doubling their rate of return allowed even these expert investors to blind themselves to troubling practices. Investors allowed Madoff to do the following: • Provide trade confirmations three to five days after trades were made rather than daily as promised • Use weighted averages rather than individual trade prices on trade tickets for securities claimed to have been bought or sold • Use a small auditing firm with dubious ability to audit a $65 billion fund • Permit his relatives to hold senior positions in the firm These are just a few of the approximately twenty red flags that were detailed in later court cases. The age old hope to get a better deal than anyone else

cost investors $50 billion. You have to do your best to get the real truth of the matter, because the deal may actually be too good to be true.

Everyday Transactions

On a personal level, it is important to conduct due diligence whenever you are going to commit your hard earned money or time to an endeavor. One of the most significant financial outlays any of us will make is the purchase of a home. Proper due diligence in this case should be proportionate to the long-term financial commitment involved, and to your specific status. Most buyers would look at property taxes and title and hire a housing inspector to help avoid expensive repairs. A family with children may want to check out the rating of the schools in the area not only for their children, but also because good schools increase resale value. One of my friends actually did due diligence on the neighbors on either side of a home he wanted to buy. He wanted to make sure they were good folks. Another personal area to conduct due diligence involves a new job offer. Before you accept that job offer and move to a new location, you might want to check to see if the new company is financially stable. What about the new industry you will be working in? Does it have a favorable forecast for the future? And then what about any employee benefits that you may have or want to negotiate prior to being hired? All of these areas involve a significant amount of due diligence on your part prior to accepting a new position at a new company.


Make sure you perform due diligence in situations where you are being called upon to trust someone else. Question everyone before you hand your hard earned money to someone to invest. Always follow up on references and go outside of the reference pool to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate entity. Make sure you check professional licenses and industry disciplinary actions. Finally, apply what one of my old law professors called “the smell test.” If the deal initially smells bad to you, it probably is.

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government relations (From page 6)

Another Successful Legislative Conference Electronic Reporting

Problems with electronic reporting continue to pop up from coast to coast. From Hawaii to New York City, state and local ordinances are being proposed which require more work for the pawnbroker and less financial privacy for our customers. Independent pawnbrokers are the only financial institutions required to report customers’ personal information to law enforcement agencies. Often we are required to do this through third-party, for-profit companies. With data breaches on the rise, our industry is in danger of being held liable for the loss of customers’ personal information through no fault of our own.

No one can tell the story of the independent pawnbroker like we can.

Michael Jackson One Support the NPA PAC

At Pawn Expo this year, we have a special event planned for NPA PAC supporters. Support the NPA PAC with a $500 contribution, and enjoy a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE during Pawn Expo 2014. For more information, see page 39. By contributing to the NPA PAC, you help shape the laws that influence your business and our industry. Go to for more information.

business sense (From page 26)

business sense (From page 32)

Risk Mitigation

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

This code allows an employee to signal the alarm company without alerting the robber. Most duress codes can be obtained by calling your alarm company.

In addition, many pawn stores have firearms for personal security, and these may be concealed. When a loss control surveyor visits and asks if you have a firearm for security or defense, if dealing with the wrong insurance carrier, saying, “Yes” may be a red flag. And remember, any untruthful answer by an insured provides grounds to deny claims due to a material misrepresentation. With an insurance company that specializes in insuring pawn stores, you can feel comfortable saying, “Yes, we have firearms for personal protection.” Always insure with an agency or broker who has access to an insurance carrier that fully understands the needs of the pawn industry, knows the pawn store owner’s exposures to loss, and fully understands that pawn store owners and employees often carry firearms as a security measure for personal safety.

Every employee should know the alarm duress code. Remember, you can mitigate the risk of a robbery during store openings or closings by being aware of your surroundings and following basic loss prevention procedures. Use good judgment every day, and be aware of suspicious cars or people in and around your store. Do not hesitate to call police about any suspicious situation. Be alert and be safe.

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Calendar of events


JCK Exhibition 2014

Mailing Address PO Box 508 Keller, TX 76244 Physical Address 891 Keller Pkwy Suite 220 Keller, TX 76248

JUNE 1-4 Mandalay Bay Convention Center Las Vegas, NV

Phone: (817) 337-8830 Fax: (817) 337-8875

Helen Moore Director of Membership Helen@ Lindsay Wilson Director of Meetings and Events Lindsay@ Chris Pearcey Communications Specialist Matthew Church Government Relations Administrator Matthew@ Terri Congleton Administrative Assistant

Texas Association of Pawnbrokers Annual Convention

October 17-19 Hilton Hotel Fort Worth, TX Contact: Peggy Roden


California Pawnbrokers Association (CAPA)

NPA Staff Dana Meinecke Executive Director



Pawn Expo 2014

JULY 8-10 The Mirage, Las Vegas, NV Contact: Lindsay Wilson (817) 337-8830 PawnExpo@

OCTOBER 24-26 Sheraton Fairplex Hotel Pomona, CA Contact: Kim Andosca (916) 669-5322


Pawn boot camp 101

november 11-13 Indianapolis, IN


Southeast Regional Convention

September 5-7 Hyatt Regency Hotel Greenville, SC Contact: Janis Feazelle (866) 438-7296



January 20–23 Sands Expo and Convention Center

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Index of Advertisers ADVERTISER Page



Aaria (248) 961-0506


Livesay’s (800) 476-2715


Saumil Diam (212) 575-3655


ABC Diamond Buyer (586) 354-7274


Manhattan Gold & Silver (212) 398-1454


Stallcup Group (817) 479-3880


Bluestone Trading Back Cover (888) -800-BLUE (2583)

Marshall & Sterling Insurance 15 (800) 333-3766 x 5550

Stebgo Metals (800) 289-0138

Burrell Printing (800) 531-5234




Steven Galapo Diamonds (212) 221-3000


The Buyers (562) 945-7276

National Jewelers Supplies (888) 657-8665



Stuller (800) 262-7700


CompuPawn (866) 545-9868

North American Metals (800) 773-1626



The Trendz (866) 337-7464


Dillon Gage (888) 436-3489

Padmavati Exports (212) 869-0544



Garfield Refining (800) 523-0968


TJS (877) 40 SHRINK


Garrett Metal Detectors (800) 527-4011


Gemological Institute of America 57 (800) 421-7250 Hi-Tech Precious Metals & Refinery 23 (866) 950-7528 Hover & Strong (800) 759-9997


International Inside Front Cover Gemological Institute

Palak Diam (213) 228-0077


Pawnshop Consulting Group (954) 540-3697


Tulsa Gold & Gems (800) 222-0573

Rapaport Auctions (212) 354-9800


United Precious Metals (800) 999-3463

Rapaport Jewelry Sales (212) 354-9800


United Exports (305) 707-7937

RMF Consulting Group (866) 204-7209


Wexler Inside Back Cover Insurance Agency (800) 432-1853

Rolland Safe (800) 225-2984


White Pine (646) 758-0292


Saghavi Diamonds (800) 234-1787


Worldwide Diamond (213) 622-2191




The NPA does not specifically endorse any entity including but not limited to exhibitors and advertisers; makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees; and assumes no responsibility for the products or services provided by these entities. The NPA expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising from the use or the performance of the products or services provided by these entities.

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SINCE 1968

The Best Coverage at Competitive Prices Available Coverages: v Pawned & Owned Jewelry & Guns

No Coinsurance for: v Pawned & Owned Guns & Jewelry or Other Stock

v Pawned & Owned Other Stock

v Business Personal Property

v Memo

We pay based on your choice of the following:

v Products Liability for Guns & Ammunition

v Actual cost of the loan plus legally accrued interest

v And many more see back page

v 2 or 3 times pawn value

Wexler Insurance Agency, Inc. 1120 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Coral Gables, FL 33134 Tel: 305-445-5050 Fax: 305-448-8189 Nationwide: 1-888-4-WEXLER 1-800-432-1853 E-mail:

v Replacement Cost

New York Office 580 Fifth Avenue Suite 715A New York, NY 10036 Tel: 212-391-5211 Fax: 212-391-5212 California Office 2711 East Coast Hwy. Suite 106 Corona del Mar, CA 92625 Tel: 949-723-3835 Fax: 949-723-3839

Ohio Office 7363 E. Kemper Rd. Suite C & D Cincinnati, OH 45249 Tel: 513-891-2131 Fax: 513-891-2132

Ask about our exclusive Workers Comp program for Pawnshops which is available in all 50 states.


4/29/14 7:06 AM

Wish granted Wholesale Diamonds

& Estate Jewelry Since 1978

“No Cost To You” Buy Program

When we buy from you, we will take care of everything, including free shipping and insurance. Since 1978, Bluestone Trading Company, Inc. has offered fine quality wholesale diamonds and estate jewelry. Our company was founded on knowledgeable service and midwest values. By paying top prices, offering excellent service and free shipping, our inventory is constantly evolving. You can check it out online at or call to speak to one of our diamond experts. Even the phone call is free. p 888.800.BLUE (2583) • 440.442.7280 | f 800.321.7979 • 440.442.0026 P.O. Box 24126 Cleveland, OH 44124 | Our bottom line is excellent value, superior service and the finest quality diamonds and estate jewelry. Learn more at

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National Pawnbroker Spring 2014  

The official publication of the National Pawnbrokers Association.

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