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New Pawn Shop Opening Near Red Derby

by Prince Of Petworth February 25, 2013 at 10:30 am 77 Comments

3714 14th Street, NW

Dear PoPville,

There is a new Quickcash pawn shop opening on 14th street by Red Derby. A business like this will encourage petty crime as there will be a new place to sell stolen property. Is there a way to keep a business like this from opening?

  • Anonymous

    well that’s a healthy amount of generalizations about pawn shops…

    • Anonymous

      it’s one generalization.
      here a healthier amount: Pawn shops by nature are predatory institutions that do nothing good for a community. they are the lowest form of legal “banking” and only one step up from a loan shark.

      • +1

        And who needs pawn shops when we have eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon Marketplace for all your legitimate buying/selling needs? Pawn shops pretty much only exist nowadays for fencing stolen products.

        • Anonymous

          @zero_sum Not necessarily–I work with neighborhood-based nonprofits (across the country, not just in DC) that try to help connect residents to lower-cost financial services as an alternative to predatory lenders and pawn shops, which function as a form of high-interest lending for some customers. Given that, I’m not defending pawn shops, and I’m not arguing that stolen goods aren’t a problem at pawn shops, but in fact some low-income people use them to pawn heirlooms or other items of value that they have around the house. In many cases, Craigslist and Amazon aren’t viable alternatives because customers lack internet access OR (increasingly the case as internet access improves), they live paycheck to paycheck and need money immediately for an essential or emergency expense; they can’t just post an ad on Craigslist or Amazon, hope a buyer bites, and wait around for the payment.

      • anon


      • Chops

        Anonymous calls pawn shops the “lowest form of legal ‘banking'”. What’s wrong with that? In the developing world, a scheme like this would be a nonprofit organization and be lauded as micro-finance.

        Nobody’s forcing people to use the pawn shops, or closing down the real banks. To the extent that they are used by the law-abiding, pawn shops are a valuable service to people in vulnerable situations.

        (NIMBY aside: a pawnshop won’t increase theft near the pawnshop, it will increase theft far away from the pawnship. If your hat is stolen at the Red Derby, it won’t show up next door to be pawned! So please, put that store in my backyard and take your theft somewhere else.)

      • Jon

        I don’t like pawn shops, but how can they be both “the lowest” and “one step up” from loan sharks?

        Let’s just call them the second-lowest.

        • Anonymous

          i said the lowest form of legal banking. loan sharks aren’t legal.

    • NIMBYism – it’s not just for “West of the Park” anymore.

      • Anonymous

        never has been.

      • Anon X

        Whats wrong with NIMBYism anyway? I’ve never understood that. Are the people who are entitled to safe, quiet, undisturbed enjoyment of their own property restricted to just those who can afford to buy land to the horizon line in a 360 degree radius?

        The people who are next door to new establishments, across the street from massive developments, and in the general vicinity of proposed new construction of loud, smelly, bright, or well-populated things are entitled to have a voice. If anyone could just do anything they wanted on their own property without oversight and without their neighbors and community having the right to transparency and input, things would be chaos. I like farms, oil, mining, paper, and an array of other things. But, that doesnt mean I want them facing my property.

        For some people living across the street from a pawn store is just as intrusive into their lives as living across the street from a freight rail roundabout or a truck stop.

        I get that. What i dont get is why people think that community members standing up for themselves is something to be ridiculed. These people shouldnt always be listened to and I’m not advocating that they always get their way… but they are entitled to being heard and respected.

        • Anonymous

          People are using the term incorrectly. NIMBYism is when someone wants something to exist or relies on it in some way, but not near them. Examples: supports public housing, does not want public housing in their neighborhood. Supports wind power, does not want turbines visible from their beach house.

          People who just don’t want something like pawn shops to exist, period, are not NIMBY’s.

          • Anon X

            I like wind power. I dont want a wind turbine just on the other side of my property line.

          • JB

            I find the labels a bit confusing. I don’t really think pawn shops should exist, but I would only feel like I had a right to challenge one if it was directly impacting my own community. I don’t like pawn shops, but I don’t think I have a right to object to them existing everywhere.

  • hcfoo22

    A few years back residents in Takoma DC did a lot of work to try to stop a pawn shop from opening. I forget the whole story and what actually happened (I know, I’m a huge help) but I do know that they worked closely with Muriel Bowser’s office. You may want to contact her office to get any guidance.

  • Park View Drew

    “There is a new Quickcash pawn shop opening on 14th street by Red Derby. A business like this will encourage petty crime as there will be a new place to sell stolen property.”

    Unfortunately, I tend to agree.

    “Is there a way to keep a business like this from opening?”

    That question has no place in a free society.

    • Anonymous

      +1 I totally agree. While I don’t like pawn shops, they obviously provide a service to some people in need.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed. Those people will NEED to sell the things they stole from your car or the jewelry they robbed you for. Oh liberals

        • Anonymous

          Way to generalize. Years back I had to pawn some of my personal belongings
          to help pay the funeral expenses for a loved one. You can assume only thieves use pawn shops but this is not the case. This is a free market and if they have the money to open and did so legally then there is nothing you can do. Well except whine and generalize on a blog all day.

          • Anonymous

            you understand that when people are generalizing, it means they are not talking about each individual case.

            so how much did it cost you in the end to hock your stuff?

        • Park View Drew

          I couldn’t care less about the social benefit of this business, because that’s not the point.

          The proprietor is (in theory) engaging in a legal commercial activity. That’s the end of it.

          If it turns out that this particular pawn shop owner buys stolen property, that should be dealt with, but it’s a separate issue. So far, that’s not the case obviously, since it hasn’t even opened yet.

          But if the OP just feels like “those type of people” encourage crime, too bad.

      • Anonymous

        y’all know how pawn shops work, right?

    • JB

      I don’t know about that. I don’t imagine he’s calling for some fascist decree banning all pawn shops, but rather for people going through the proper channels to keep an unsavory and predatory business from coming into their community. I think the NIMBY types go too far a lot of the time, but if this was my community, I’d certainly fight it. The business owners would have every right to defend themselves and their business in community meetings.

    • +1 No one should ever think from the perspective of stopping people from being able to starting a business that’s deemed legal.

      Even though I don’t particularly agree with the concept of pawn shops, acting as though they don’t have a right to open in your community sounds rather segregationist. Let them either fail or succeed through the natural process of elimination.

      There are lots of people that rely on pawn shops to exchange tools and other things and to receive small-term loans, it’s no different than a consignment shop or flea market in many cases. If there isn’t a market for it they will have to eventually close, and there are plenty of laws to make it very difficult to run a “stolen goods” based operation for any meaningful amount of time. Write down serial numbers on your possessions if you’re that scared.

    • “That question has no place in a free society.”

      Lulz, wut?

      Let’s just ignore the fact that we already have zoning, business license requirements, building standards, or – god forbid – people would like to have a say in what they want to live next to. Using your logic, it’s cool for me to open a porn shop next to a church and a strip club across the street from an elementary school.

      Thanks, Uncle Rand Paul.

      • Park View Drew

        Presumably, the proprietor has met all zoning, licensing and building requirements. That’s not what the OP is questioning.

      • Anonymous

        “Using your logic, it’s cool for me to open a porn shop next to a church and a strip club across the street from an elementary school.”

        Sounds good to me. Hell, that would be a cross section of America right there.

  • Anonymous

    Haven’t you guys ever watched Pawn Stars? This place is opening in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. It will probably be fairly upscale.

    • Given that they can’t even spell “jewelry” properly, I doubt that.

      (Or were you joking?)

      • Anonymous

        +1. This just makes my over-educated skin crawl.

    • Anonymous

      the upwardly mobile will not abide by improper spelling.

    • Joe E.

      Yeah, maybe pawning stuff will be the new cupcake in DC and they’ll get a reality show on TLC.

    • Grade A trolling right here. LOL.
      Take notes, kids.

  • CP

    Get the cash you need in a flash at Cashpoint!

  • andrew

    I haven’t decided which way I come out on the issue, but to all those people who say that we should never question the opening of a legal business, I assume you wouldn’t mind if every single establishment in your neighborhood was replaced by a strip club? If you would mind, why?

    • Park View Drew

      I think it’s worth pointing out that this scenario is kind of unrealistic, but let’s go with it for a moment.

      Would I like it if my neighborhood suddenly transformed into a red light district? No. But then, I’m free to move to any neighborhood that suits me.

      Here’s what I would dislike more… Living in a world where my legal activities subject to some kind of community oversight.

      Do you rent? What if all the property owners in the neighborhood could prevent your landlord from keeping the property as a rental, because it attracts “the wrong kind of people”?

      • Anonymous

        Please revisit this blog and share your views after they rob you.

        • Wow! Generalizing much?

        • Park View Drew

          Both my house and my car have been robbed.

          But then, if if a person changed his core principles every time luck didn’t go his way, he wouldn’t have much integrity, would he?

      • “Do you rent? What if all the property owners in the neighborhood could prevent your landlord from keeping the property as a rental, because it attracts “the wrong kind of people”?”

        Yeah, we have plenty of those. They’re called co-ops.

      • JB

        But we DO live in a world where our legal activities are subject to local oversight. We can’t smoke in bars, or drink at the park, or run a casino out our homes. People are allowed to lobby one way or another before democratically elected leaders who then make the call.

        Also, the objection is based on the fact that having a pawn shop in a community leads to increase in property theft. That’s much different than the comparison you make to a property owner not renting to someone because of the (seemingly racist) desire to keep out “those types of people.”

        • Park View Drew

          What you’re describing is different – those are all laws. The law says you can’t run a casino out of your house.

          We can debate the merits of those kind of laws, but a major purpose of the civil legal system is to produce predictable business results. That’s the issue here. A person relies on the law and then finds himself subject to the whims of disinterested individuals.

          The objection is based on the *perception* that pawn shops purchase stolen goods and the police can’t effectively enforce the law, which would lead to an increase in property crime.

          My analogy had to do with the *perception* that people who rent tend to be young people who create noise problems and don’t maintain the property.

          Same difference. People want the government to step in and forward their personal interests, and ignore the rights of those who may have a conflicting interest. At least when companies do this, they do it knowingly. I think the NIMBY folks honestly believe that their personal interests are “right” and other’s don’t deserve to have their interests protected.

          • JB

            You said “legal activities.” Drinking, smoking and gambling are all legal activities that are regulated at a local level– seemingly so communities can enjoy a higher quality of life. These are things that have an impact on crime, health, property value, etc. I can see how there might be similar concerns about a pawn shop opening. It’s not a “perception” that pawn shops increase property crime, studies have shown that they do.

            Addressing community objections that have been raised through the proper channels IS part of following the law in opening a new business. I just don’t see how it’s unfair or illegal for people in the community to go to their ANC member or council member if they have an objection. Isn’t that part of why these bodies exist?

          • Park View Drew

            JB – For some reason, I can’t reply to your comment, so I’m replying to the parent comment.

            You’re still talking about laws, whether they are federal, state, or local.

            If there’s a law that says pawn shops are not a legal business, fine. But if there isn’t, and then someone tries to open one while complying with all applicable laws, and only then does someone say “not in my back yard”, that’s what I have a problem with.

            Both the complainer and the pawn shop proprietor chose to make an investment (metaphorically or literally) in a jurisdiction where pawn shops are legal. The complainer could have chosen to live elsewhere, and the pawn shop proprietor had a reasonable expectation that he would be allowed to ply his trade.

            In fact, if the complainer just wanted to prevent the establishment of future pawn shops (but this one was grandfathered in), that would be OK too. As long as in the future, it was on the books that you can’t open a pawn shop in this neighborhood.

      • You ought to position it as the “Historic Strip Club District”

    • I DO have a strip club, a check cashing store, and a pawn shop in my neighborhood. You shouldn’t have a right to say no if I can’t as well.

  • John

    How sad and pathetic must your life be to try to stop a pawn shop from opening in your neighborhood? Good God, mind your own business!

  • ceeps

    *clutches pearls*

  • Anon X

    I love the hipster masses.

    Walmart opening = first step in Apocalypse, leads to the victimization of its workers, 3rd world countries, and drives mom and pop shops out of business

    Pawn Shop opening = free enterprise at its finest.

    I have no idea who is operating this Pawn Shop, but in general, Pawn Shops have a very bad reputation. Wal-Mart, for all their capitalist ways, generally play by the rules and are the neighbors you would expect. Not to mention, Wal Mart will actually add economic activity to the city, whereas, Pawn Shops could serve to subtract economic activity.

    But yeah, DOWN WITH WALMART!

    • kc
      • Anon X

        Well yes, when anyone on here from San Juan Teotihuacan, Mexico writes a letter to PoP about organizing community members in close proximity of their walmart to protest, maybe the situation will be different.

        But, since I’m unaware of bribery of DCRA officials or anyone else in America, I’m not sure how this is relevant.

        I’d still rather have a Wal Mart next door with its giant surface parking lot, anti-worker policiies, and shopping carts littered for miles, than be next to a pawn shop or cash checking store. I can disagree with WalMart, but I dont believe that they are a parasite on the poor… in fact, they might suck, but now at least more poor people can afford to clothe their kids and get them school supplies. A Pawn Shop sort of does the opposite.

        • kc

          Not *a parasite on the poor*? Wow. From PBS: “Wal-Mart employs more people than any other company in the United States outside of the Federal government, yet the majority of its employees with children live below the poverty line. “Buy American” banners are prominently placed throughout its stores; however, the majority of its goods are made outside the U.S. and often in sweatshops. Critics believe that Wal-Mart opens stores to saturate the marketplace and clear out the competition, then closes the stores and leaves them sitting empty. ”

          • With NYT and PBS as your sources, you’ve covered the entire diversity of opinion from A to B…

          • Anon X

            Wal Mart complies with the laws of the land (as do Pawn Shops, at least in general). However, Pawn Shops really contribute very little. Wal Mart provides low cost necessities to people with modest means. They do create a lot of jobs, albeit low paying. They provide healthy food options for people who have few healthy choices.

            Pawn shops provide quick cash at high prices.

    • Anonymous

      +1 People can point a NIMBY-finger at me all they want, but I refuse to be happy about this little piece of retail development. My hope is that the neighborhood continues to improve and this establishment quickly runs too low on patrons to continue operations. The sooner the better.

    • Park View Drew

      For the record, I have no issue with Walmart either.

      And I’m clearly not a hipster.

  • kc
  • The Real Jason

    Opening by the Derby eh? I envision a a lot of hipsters pawning their fixed gear bikes and post hardcore vinyl to afford drinking $2 beers.

  • Anonymous

    You probably can’t stop it from simply opening.

    But life can be easy, or it can be hard.

    You can picket the place.

    You can (I think?) take photos of people about to enter and those who have left the place.

    You can walk in, see what’s for sale and list prominent items on this website, craigslist, etc., asking whether someone has had their X stolen.

    You can try to get the DC Council to make it harder to operate a place like this.

    These are just things I thought of in 60 seconds.

  • If it isn’t used it will go away.
    I hope the police do what the law requires/allows to ensure that this venture doesn’t assist thieves in profiting from victimizing citizens of the District and surrounding communities.

  • Anon X

    I’m not sure that Pawn Shops are actually the hot bed of fencing that many people think. There are very stringent record keeping requirements, cameras, and other measures.

    However, it is without a doubt, that they prey on the most vulnerable and oftentimes make financial crises much worse. Payday loans, cash for gold, car title loans, and similar financial institutions are definitely worse- but pawn stores are up there in terms of their predatory nature.

    I’m sure they do sell the occasional stolen good, but Craigslist and ebay see a huge amount too – but I dont see you guys stopping using those services out of solidarity with the victims of crime…

    • “However, it is without a doubt, that they prey on the most vulnerable and oftentimes make financial crises much worse. Payday loans, cash for gold, car title loans, and similar financial institutions are definitely worse- but pawn stores are up there in terms of their predatory nature.”

      Agreed (and well put).

      • gilla

        you do know that people have the right to choose whether or not they want to pawn anything right?

        • Yep. Doesn’t make the practice any less exploitative.

        • Like it or not, there are a good amount of people in this country who do not understand how finance works. a 350% APR means nothing. As a country, 51% of us just decided (voted) that we aren’t interested in allowing companies free reign to do as they will.

          Should Payday loans be allowed to exist? Sure. Should Payday loans be allowed to charge 350% interest rates? No. Should they be regulated to something like 50% interest rates? I think most rational people would say yes.

          • Anon X

            a 350% APR from a payday loan place would be an outright bargain.

  • lrds

    Is there not a license review process for the ANC for pawn shops? I could be wrong, but I had thought there was. Given the knots we tie ourselves in over new businesses which generate some controversy (e.g., new bars), I’m surprised this did not generate a similar response.

  • TheSentinel

    How precious, a pawn shop. The two jokers that are working on this seem to be trying the most obvious idea in the world to make a quick buck. Getting the sign wrong is just a reflection of their mental prowess.

    Based on the rent they’re paying, I doubt these guys will make it past six months, much less a year. Its like they sat around drunk one day, sick and tired of installing drywall in someone’s rehab, and said “You know what? I bet we could make BANK with a pawn shop”.

    They then ran out, got the cheapest spot they could find (there’s a reason they are so far from the metro station), and went to work, with everything else as an afterthought.

    They’ve already failed, they just don’t have the smarts to know it yet.

  • Quincy resident

    Wow, it Didn’t take long for OPs prediction to come true just last night 5 cars on 1400 block of Quincy, including mine, were broken in to.

  • lrds

    Since few people responded to the OPs question, here’s an input from the Petworth listserv:

    Two years ago a proposed pawnshop on Georgia Avenue received such negative feedback that there was a temporary DC Code change that provided ANCs the chance to weigh in on pawnbroker licensure with DCRA – from what I can tell that change has since expired. From 47-2884.05:

    “(a-1)(1) A license shall not be issued to an applicant unless:

    “(A) At least 30 days prior to the issuance of a license, all Advisory
    Neighborhood Commissions in the ward where the pawnbroker will be located shall be provided notice that a pawnbroker license application has been submitted to the Mayor; and

    “(B) All affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions have been accorded great weight during deliberations to approve or deny the license application.

    “(2) This subsection shall not apply to applications for licensure renewal
    submitted by any pawnbroker licensed in accordance with this part as of April 1, 2010.”.

    Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 18-200 provides that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

    (Still looks like DCRA still provided the license in that instance anyway)

    • An update from Muriel Bowser on 2/27:

      “Neighbors- I have been in contact with the Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). DCRA has not received an application for a pawn broker’s license at 3714 14th St, NW. Once an application is submitted, DCRA must give notice to the affected ANC.

      If the shop opens without a license, DCRA can force them to come into compliance, as they do not have the authority to shut a business down. I will continue to work with you, the ANC Commissioners and DCRA to ensure the application and enforcement process is followed closely.”

  • gary

    You have no I deal the good pawnshops do for people that can’t get loans from banks, or just need money to make it through the week

    • Anonymous

      You can also get money if you get a job.

      • gary

        what i was saying some people work pay check to pay check and still can’t make it through the week, you wouldn’t understand that.

  • bananas

    I think we can all agree that Red Derby is an anomaly in that strip of businesses, and in the streets on either side. Pawn Shop fits in better than RD does – wonder what the arguments against its opening were, e.g. small business owners worried about increasing rents, changing of neighborhood character etc.? On the bright side, if you’re robbed you know where to look first!

  • Gary

    9 time out of 10 if someone stole something from you he wouldn’t go to your neighborhood pawn shop,he or she would go further away like Maryland or Virginia, if someone stole from you, you should hope he take it to a pawnshop because 9 times out of 10 you will recover it, but if he sell it on the street you can forget it. You guys need to learn how pawnshops and the law works before you judge them


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