Pawn shop rankles biz owners

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The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce has raised concerns over a pawnshop planned for the corner of Queens Boulevard and 46th Street, but after discussions between City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and the owner, the fears may be allayed.

“He said he wants to work with the community,” said Ira Greenberg, the chamber president, of the owner, “so we’re certainly willing to do that.”

The pawnshop, which will be called EZ Pawn Corp., will be the eighth in a chain of New York City pawnshops owned by David Kaminsky.

Greenberg said some board members had mentioned the pawnshop to him and said they were worried about the image a pawnshop would bring to the community, especially since that area is right across from the Sunnyside Arch landmark and right under a No. 7 train stop.

“The message of financial decline runs counter to every effort community groups and individuals work hard to achieve every day,” the petition said.

Greenberg signed the petition but said he had no comment himself on the pawnshop.

“People would say things like, ‘I don’t like it,’” Greenberg said.

Kaminsky said he always passed by Sunnyside and thought it was a good community to open a business. He said he did not understand the community resistance to the pawnshop. He compared his business to a bank and said he is more interested in getting the items he takes in back to their original owners than selling them for profit.

“Their perception of us is off,” he said. “They really don’t respect what we do.”

Lauren Kaminsky, David Kaminsky’s daughter and head of marketing for the corporation, said the pawnshop industry has negative stigmas that do not apply to their company.

“Rather than viewed as a sign of desperation, many of our customers see us as a ‘bridge loan’ establishment, where they can take care of what they need without the complications of a background check and loan application. We are safe, secure, licensed and bonded,” she said.

On Aug. 11, David Kaminsky met with Van Bramer and Nolan, who discussed the community’s concerns with Kaminsky. They said they had requested that the new pawnshop not be open 24 hours, some of the signage be changed to better integrate with the community and there would be ample security.

“Obviously, we would prefer not to see the space used in this way, but after repeated efforts we have some agreements from the owner,” Van Bramer and Nolan said in a news release.

David Kaminsky said the pawnshop would have security people and security cameras on hand. All items sold to the pawnshop would also be registered with the police.

“If you steal something and bring it to me, you’re going to get caught,” David Kaminsky said.

He said he did not have any plans to meet with members of the chamber at the moment, but welcomed them. He said his corporation wants to be an active part of any community where it can set up and take part in local charities and fund-raisers.

“We are involved in the communities we go into,” David Kaminsky said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 6:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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