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Pawn shop, seeking more traffic, sets up shop downtown

STERLING – Big screen televisions. DVDs. Bicycles. Guitars.

A pawn shop is a lot like a garage sale and a flea market put together. But for Ricardo Rangel, a pawn shop is a business and a livelihood.

Rangel, 35, of Davenport, owner of Sauk Valley Pawn Loans, has moved his shop from Rock Falls to 220 E. Third St., the former Goodyear Tire building. He’s been open for business there for about 2 weeks.

He made the move to Sterling for the additional exposure.

“I’m doing really good,” Rangel said Wednesday afternoon. “Since I’ve moved within the last couple weeks, my business has already picked up, and that was expected.”

One of the main reasons for the additional business, Rangel said, is the location.

“I’m right here on the main street,” Rangel said. “If you live in this area, you drive on this street at least once a day. Right here, I get a lot of the Dixon and Morrison traffic.”

He rented in Rock Falls, but bought the building in Sterling, he said.

Sauk Valley Pawn Loans is the only pawn shop in the area.

“I’m from the Quad Cities, and they are flooded with pawn shops up there,” Rangel said. “They are flooded with pawn shops up in Rockford, too. I had to find a spot where I would do good starting off.”

Pawn shops aren’t just for shoppers. Some of the customers are on a fixed income. Because of that, some people might bring in their valuables and walk out with cash. Pawn shops provide an easy, fast way to borrow small amounts of money. Several customers have already pawned big-screen TVs at the Sterling location.

“I’ll loan someone $250 for this TV,” Rangel said, pointing to one. “It will cost a person $300 to pick it up. Within 30 days, you give me $300 to take this home, and if you don’t have $300 in 30 days, you can bring me the $50 and I’ll hold it for another 30 days.”

People can pawn their vehicles with him, but “if you want to pawn your car, you’d have to leave your car with me,” he said. “It’s illegal for me to do a title loan.”

Rangel also sells items outright.

“If you want to sell a ring, you can come in and say, ‘I’m getting a divorce, I don’t want this ring anymore,’ and I can just buy it,” Rangel said. “I can sell it, or I can melt it down.”

There are three employees working in the pawn shop, including Rangel’s son, Gabriel, 17, who manned the register Wednesday, and Roy Valladares, Rangel’s uncle.

Rangel loves working in the pawn shop business, he said.

“I have some buddies whose parents own pawn shops back at home,” he said. “I worked with them for a while and I just learned the business. This is something I have just enjoyed doing.”

About Sauk Valley Pawn Loans

Sauk Valley Pawn Loans is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 815-626-7296 or find the shop on Facebook.

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