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NPA’s People of Pawn: Ben Levinson

BEN IS A NATIVE OF GEORGIA and graduated from the University of Georgia with a BBA in Marketing. He is a former President and Vice President of the Pawnbrokers Association of Georgia and former President, Vice President, and Secretary of the National Pawnbrokers Association. He has had an active role as a pawnbroker for over thirty-five years and serves as President of Dynasty Jewelry and Loan.

How did you get started in pawn? I started my retail career with the now-defunct Radio Shack. I was on the corporate path. Fortunately, I ran into a new superior and knew that we were just not going to be able to work together. Having married into a family that had been in the pawn business since 1923 that wanted me in the business, it was an easy decision.

What is the number one pawn skill you have? Customer service.

What pawn talent do you wish you had? Although people may argue that accounting is not a pawn talent, I wish I was more talented in that department and liked it more.

What customer behavior aggravates you the most? It does not happen often, but I do not like rude people. Do not be rude to my employees or my customers.

What customer behavior brings you joy? When a customer shows they are appreciative of our services with things like a simple thank you, bringing us food, or writing a 5-star review. I really enjoy reading  our reviews.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever written a loan for?   A 7-foot Boa Constrictor! The owner had to come in and feed it periodically. We now have a policy that we do not take anything that eats, or could eat us!

What career would you pick if you were not in pawn?  Something in the entertainment field.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Dropping by the pawnshop for a quick visit every now and then semi-retirement. Also, I would love to travel more.

Do you want your children to follow in your footsteps?   My son, Joel, already has. In fact, he is a better pawnbroker than I am.

What college degree would be great to have to work in pawn? I graduated with a BBA in Marketing. It has been helpful. Having experience in a pawnshop is the real education. Yes, a college degree helps, but one from the University of Hard Knocks (UHK) will educate you well.

What is the one piece of advice to anyone considering the pawn industry? It is like any other job. You get out of it what you put into it. It is hard work and a learning curve every day. Do not think you are going to become wealthy overnight. You will earn everything you accomplish, and hopefully, you will appreciate it.