This past week has been one heck of a wild ride with the uncertainty of the Corona Virus and wondering how it will impact us in the pawn industry. We have been flooded with calls at our office with questions, concerns, fears and event pleas for help as some are expecting the worst. Many of our clients are looking for answers so we thought we should put out some of our thoughts, some suggestions and some ideas to help us all weather the storm. Here are some topics and things we are being asked about and our thoughts on them.
Will We Be Forced To Close Our Stores?
As of today (3/17/2020), 10 states and counting have closed all restaurants and bars. The city of San Francisco is on a 3 week lock down and are only allowing grocery stores, emergency response businesses, and essential businesses like banks and lenders to remain open. At this point we assume that we as pawnbrokers fall into this category and will wait to hear more. Given the rate of panic and unknown fear out there and that the latest press conference from the White House estimated yesterday that this can last until May or June before the decline in infected cases, we can expect more states to follow suit.
What Can we Expect if They do Force us to Close?
This is a scary situation for all to consider but if you have not done so, you should begin to plan for this worst case scenario and continue to hope and pray for best case scenario. If you do not have to close, at least you have a plan for the future should some other disaster happen. We recommend that in this plan first and foremost think about your safety. If you have not done so already, make sure your store is as safe and secure as possible. Ramp up the cleaning especially of door knobs, handles and counter areas. we also even recommend wiping down pawns and buys which we are normally not doing until they get placed on the sales floor. Keep Sanitizer and anti-bacterial cleaner available for your staff at all times. If your staff is feeling sick allow them to stay home. Monitor your symptoms and if you feel that you have become infected, seek medical attention and self quarantine. We also highly recommend that that you figure out how to get your customers to continue to shop and make their payments online to you. You will need the cash flow for paying your obligations but also to prepare for the rush and need for loans soon! Work with your software providers to get this in place ASAP if you do not have it it currently. we also recommend that you sell as many items online not just now because of this, but always. Currently sales of guns have not been banned yet so Guns.com can help your bottom line by selling firearms quickly and more easily than the others. Prepare for you finances and your bank situation. You will need cash during and after this event so if you have not, talk to your bank and see if they are willing to help you extend lines of credit, get more etc. Lastly, stay calm and remember that we can be the amazing saving grace for people in need during this horrible time! Do not lose sight of that!
Will Conferences & Events Be Cancelled?
This is a question that we have been asked hundreds of times of the past week. This one is tough to answer because we have no way of knowing how long this panic and the virus will last. What we do know so far is that the NPA Trip to DC has been cancelled and the Dixie Convention that was scheduled for next weekend has been rescheduled until Labor Day weekend in September. The following events are still schedule as of today (03/17/2020). CAPA Spring Conference is Scheduled for May 2-3rd (UPDATE- This event has been Postponed) , our Pawn Advisory Conference is slated for May 6th-8th, The Midwest Pawn Convention is still scheduled for May 15th-May 17th. The National Convention is scheduled for June 23rd-25th in Las Vegas, and Finally, CAPA is scheduled for October 23rd-25th. As mentioned before, as federal and local authorities continue to shut down things there is a very high likelihood that these events may need to be rescheduled. Especially those that are scheduled before September. We ask that you work with and continue to communicate with your associations and the event planners, and be flexible with them and their events should they need to reschedule. Remember, we are all in this together!
What Do We Predict Will Happen After
We are being asked this often and while there is no one who can predict the future, we are assuming that our businesses will rebound greatly, especially in the loan area. The government is working hard to protect those out of work, help businesses rebound, and more but in the meantime, people are going to need money in the next 30 days and for a longer period of time than we are used to. Are you ready to handle the influx of loan needs and the cash that this will require? If you are tapped out or not confident in that area, we have several lenders that we work with. We recommend that you speak to Scott Kranz at Legendary Capital Solutions. We also recommend Chris Smith at PB Financing and have some private investors that can also help. Make those phone calls and secure yourself financially before the banks and lending institution are out of money before the delay in federal help comes. Eventfully sales will return to normal but it may take months for the consumer confidence to return. Work your sales hard and take advantage of the loans in front of you! Lastly, be there for your community and help them in any way possible. You have the chance to make a major difference!
In summary, no one can tell this future, but now more than ever, we need each other, and our customers need us to survive to get back in the game and help them through their tough times ahead. Please contact us if you need anything or any help at 727-580-5876.