NORTHDALE – One of only a handful of female pawnbrokers in the state of Florida, Lauren Myhre knew she was on to something when she opened She Money Pawn shop two years ago at 3829 Northdale Blvd. Her husband Kevin opened his Tampa Gun & Pawn on Nebraska Avenue in 1979, and over the years, Lauren Myhre noticed a trend.
“Most pawn shops are geared toward men and take in things such as tools, lawn equipment, generators and air conditioning units,” Myhre said. “I noticed that women would come into my husband’s shop, but they weren’t interested in the items they had for collateral. I thought to myself, ‘that’s not fair,’ so I decided to open a female-friendly pawn shop a couple of years ago that was geared toward women. I call it my chic unique pawn boutique.”
Like most any pawn shop, She Money takes gold, silver and diamond jewelry, but the store accepts high-end costume jewelry, too. Most women don’t have the tools and other items that are staples of the typical pawn shop, but Myhre saw the genuine value in other items they do possess.
“Women don’t always have jewelry to pawn or sell,” Myhre said. “I take a lot of crystal, such as Waterford or Tiffany crystal, as well as designer handbags and sunglasses, figurines, hand-carved wooden pieces, art, sterling silver, pieces of fine furniture, high-end lamps, musical instruments and even high-end cars.”
The boutique setting and female-friendly atmosphere aren’t the only things that set She Money apart from other pawn shops. Myhre offers larger loans than most pawn shops, which typically make loans in the $25 to $200 range, and she will schedule private appointments upon request. With the right collateral, She Money will make loans in the thousands of dollars.
“Many women are raising children alone, nowadays,” Myhre said. “That was my reason for going into business, to try to give them a break. With the economy the way it is, many people have credit problems, and I felt there should be a place where women could sell or get loans on things of value.”
Myhre’s hunch that a female-friendly pawn shop could be successful was accurate. A couple of production companies have already approached her with the possibility of a reality TV series. Last year, She Money was picked as one of the five best pawn shops in Tampa by CBSlocal.com, and in March, she will move her shop to a larger space approximately one mile south at 14622 N. Dale Mabry Hwy.
“It’s a little more private and friendly here than many pawn shops,” Myhre said. “I get to know my customers and their situation; they’re not just a number.”
For more information, call (813) 770-5227.