NQ Pawn Stars owner Erna Zell in her Mulgrave shop where she has heaps of items for sale that are perfect for a new lockdown hobbie. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
NQ Pawn Stars owner Erna Zell in her Mulgrave shop where she has heaps of items for sale that are perfect for a new lockdown hobbie. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

Surprise items selling out at pawn shops

The looming threat of homeschooling children and many more weekends cooped up at home has led to an impressive buy-up of gaming consoles throughout Far North pawn and second-hand stores.

Erna Zell operates NQ Pawn Stars and said her business was thriving in a time of such uncertainty.

Ms Zell moved to the Showgrounds Shopping Centre from another location further down Mulgrave Rd last December.

She said while she wasn't buying anything at the moment - there was too much stock coming in from elsewhere - gaming consoles, televisions and DVD players were flying off the shelves.

"We have been selling a lot of TVs, gaming consoles, all the stuff people need when they're isolating at home," Ms Zell said.

"DVD players have been sitting on our shelves for months, but we've sold about six of them in the last week.

"We're selling musical instruments too. We sold a couple of guitars, and some digitisers, for people making their own music.

"Bikes are popular items too, so people can go riding."

Not far away, Cash City manager Toni Johnstone said many customers were picking up loans and buying very similar goods.

"We're mostly selling consoles - Xboxes, Playstations. I think people are preparing to deal with kids being home a lot next term," she said.

"We've had a few people come in and say, 'thank goodness you have Xboxes'. I had 20, now I have four. I've sold out of Playstations.

"We've sold TVs, we've sold a few laptops and tablets with parents preparing for homeschooling.

"Everyone is coming in to look for gym equipment and freezers but we don't have any. And no one is buying tools."

On the flip side, Ms Zell said the loans side of her business was down and said the cause was probably the extra payments from the government.

"Because of the boost, they haven't had to pawn stuff," she said.

"There are still a lot of people out and about, there's hardly a minute there's not anyone in our shop."

Ms Zell said the move to the Showgrounds Shopping Centre was the best thing she had ever done.

"There is definitely better parking," she said.

"The biggest complaint I had was the parking at the other site.

"Then trying to get out in the traffic on Mulgrave Rd was also terrible.

"Now we are getting customers in steadily. Our business is the opposite to everyone else - in times of a bad economy we do well."