Les Gold Interview

Les Gold: Star of Tru TV’s Number One Show, “Hardcore Pawn”
Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson - Editor
Co-written by Tamaris Barnett - Interim

Les Gold, Seth Gold, and Ashley Broad-Gold operate the largest pawn shop in Detroit. For the new season of “Hardcore Pawn”, the stars of the Tru TV’s Number One reality show are back with new exciting episodes for viewers and fans to watch.
Les Gold is an experienced hard-nosed pawnbroker who built American Jewelry and Loan from the ground up. Having over 5 decades of experience in the pawn business, Gold has been very instrumental to his community by providing over 50+ jobs in the Detroit, Michigan area. Whenever given the opportunity to represent for national media, Gold makes a way to serve as an unofficial ambassador for the city.
As a successful business owner, Gold has partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors and Conventions Bureau to promote businesses and tourism for the Detroit area. When it comes to supporting charities, the pawnbroker is in support of several, including THAW, which is an organization that focuses on low-income home energy issues. Gold has also partnered with the local arts organizations DSO. The organization will coordinate a concert of classical music at the Gold’s store later this month.
I had the opportunity to speak with Les, one of the masterminds of the Gold’s family, who is behind American Jewelry and Loan. Gold shares valuable information regarding pawning items, as well as speaks about the new season of “Hardcore Pawn” and much more for the Consciousness Magazine readers. Here is what the successful business owner had to say.

Aaron Robinson: Mr. Gold, I just want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me!
Les Gold: Aaron, it’s my pleasure! Thank you for having me in your magazine.

Aaron: No problem, thank you! What led you to want to go into the pawn business?
Les: I made my first sale when I was at my grandfather’s pawnshop when I was 7 years old dealing with an adult. As a kid that was my work. I couldn’t get out of it if I tried. Negotiating was a great lesson that I learned at 7 years old. I continued to do it up until today; I’m 63 years old.

Aaron: How long has the business been in the family?
Les: My grandpa opened the pawnshop up in the 1940’s. I opened up American Jewelry and left the family business in 1981.

Aaron: What’s the craziest thing that you have seen at the shop or the craziest thing pawned?
Les: Well it depends what you mean by crazy. Do you mean a prosthetic-eye that a guy pulled out of his eye socket or a World Series Championship ring that one of the star players took off of his finger and handed it to me? So in between those two things…those are pretty strange items!

Aaron: That’s what you’ve seen a guy actually pull a championship ring off of his finger?
Les: I had a World Championship ring in which we owned from a player of the 1968 Detroit Tigers World Series.

Aaron: Oh wow! That’s amazing! What’s the most expensive pawn that you have ever done?
Les: Well, I have taken in jewelry that has exceeded a quarter of a million dollars. We have given less than a quarter of a million dollars, but the value of the item has been far exceeding $250,000.

Aaron: You have a son and daughter who work with you. Sometimes it’s difficult for family members to work together. How do you all keep a great relationship with one another?
Les: [laugh] Well, we kiss every morning when we come to work and we kiss every night. One of the things that I made sure of is that when I brought my kids into the business that they realize that I’m still their father but I’m their boss from 9:30 until 6. They treat me like a boss during those hours and it’s a very challenging thing. And I’m really one of the fortunate fathers to be able to have both of them involved in the business.

Aaron: Would you ever sell the business?
Les: I don’t think Ashley and Seth would let me sell the business. It’s one of those things that we built as a family, and I would like to keep it in the family as long as I can. You know, I know I’m not going to be here forever and to pass it along to the next generation is something that I can really be grateful for. As long as they wouldn’t screw it up, I’m good with it! [Laugh]

Aaron: Do you have any tips that you would like to share with customers before they bring an item or items to your pawnshop?
Les: To any pawnshop in America, what people have to understand is that they have to leave their emotion at the door. If you came into any store to sell your item, if your emotions are involved in it, you’re going to ask too much for it. You have to do your homework; you have to know how much your item is worth. One of the things I talk about in my book is negotiating. Don’t be emotional, don’t have emotions selling or buying it, and don’t be afraid to walk away. That’s the bottom line to doing any negotiating. If somebody comes into a store, a pawnshop or any business, make sure you know the value of it.

Aaron: And speaking of your book, for those who haven’t picked it up or read it, what are some things that you think they can gain from your book in regards to other extra tips and so forth?
Les: One of the things in the book is business wisdom from a pawnbroker. What I do is talk about my journey from my first sale at 7 years old ‘til the time that we got the show picked up, which was four years ago. One of the things I talk about in the book is negotiating. That’s really the most important thing you’re going to get out of it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes in life are teaching tools. A failure is not. Once you fail it’s the end and that’s something that you don’t want to have. Really, the negotiating and the knowledge that you’re going to gain in business; those are the most important things.

Aaron: What can your fans and viewers expect from the new series that is coming out?
Les: The shows coming out starting this new mid-season premiere are probably the most exciting ones’ yet. You’re going to see America Jewelry and Loan have some real difficult financial problems, and you’re going to see the way we get out of it. It’s going to be the biggest deal I have ever been involved in. This could be a make it or break it life-changing event for the Gold’ family. You have to watch the show to see how it ends.

Aaron: Would you like to add anything else that we haven’t discussed or talked about before we close the interview Mr. Gold?
Les: Well, you know one of the things that has been important to me is, I just got back from being in Europe and it was amazing to know how many people watch us in Italy, how many people watch us in France and how many people watch us in Spain. I was walking down the streets of those countries, and I took notice of how many people stopped me to get my autograph because the show is very popular outside of the United States. The show is popular within the United States, but outside of the United States, it’s even bigger. So I’m very fortunate to be known as a TV personality and to be able to give the fans all around the world a little piece of America Jewelry and Loan, “Hardcore Pawn” and Les Gold.

Aaron: Awesome! Awesome! I just want to thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. It was a pleasure to speak with you Mr. Gold.
Les: It was a please to speak with you too.
For more information about Les Gold and Tru TV’s Number One show, “Hardcore Pawn” please visit http://www.pawndetroit.com Follow @lesHCP @hardcorepawn @truTV



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