Trash and treasures: Pawnshop
sees the strange and the stranger
By Jen Pulham
MARCH 1, 2006 | In a store in downtown Logan one young
man sits playing ACDC's Thunderstruck on a
guitar that is not his and another man sits behind a
counter full of jewelry, observing his only customer.
Norr Hendricks, 64, of Smithfield, has owned the Fast
Cache Pawnshop on Main Street for 11 years. He's seen
his share of strange times, strange customers and strange
items. Originally a grocer, Hendricks and his son Rand
eventually decided to lease their grocery store, Valley
Discount, which is now El Ranchero, and buy the pawn
"We were in the grocery business for a long time but
we thought the pawn store would be a little better money,
so we bought it," he said.
The pawnshop houses a wide variety of, well, stuff,
from stacks of videos to shelves of stereo equipment
to a long row of guitars. "You see a lot of shit," Hendricks
said. His favorite "shit" is his guns, which also happen
to be his biggest seller.
The pawnshop is designed to give people loans for
"We hold [collateral] for 30 days then they either
pick it up or renew their loan." If the customer doesn't
return, the collateral belongs to Hendricks. It is then
moved from the basement storage to the selling floor
to perhaps be placed by the wetsuit, or next to the
metal detector, or under the shelf of whiskey bottles.
Clay Anderson, 19, lives 32 miles away in Malad, Idaho,
but works in Logan. His paycheck doesn't come through
until 1 p.m. Wednesdays. This Wednesday he fills his
time at the pawnshop playing anything from Black Sabbath
to ACDC on one of Hendricks' acoustic guitars, a guitar
that Anderson says plays "pretty nice." Anderson is
waiting for his money so he can buy stereo equipment.
According to him, the prices aren't that bad.
Other customers trickle into the store, giving Hendricks
enough to do for the moment. One customer barters with
Hendricks over the price of a handheld scanner, another
customer waits to ask him about guns, and more customers
walk between the aisles of saddles, sewing machines,
and snowboards. "Customers will come in spurts," he
said. "And then you'll have an hour where you have no
But the pawnshop does have its regulars. "We'll see
the same people over and over," Hendricks said. His
busiest times are at the beginning of the month, when
people get paychecks and bills. The regulars will take
out a loan, then buy their item back. Then they'll go
two or three weeks before needing more money, so they
return to the pawnshop.
His favorite item to sell is jewelry, which mostly
attracts older people. His collection of jewelry includes
diamonds rings, gold rings, pearl necklaces, and Native
American turquoise jewelry pieces. A lot of his jewelry
has come from people not being able to pay off their
loans, entire sets of jewelry, in fact. The most expensive
piece of jewelry is about $2000, although Hendricks
admits that he sometimes barters.
The pawnshop building has already seen a few occupants,
including an audio shop and a beauty shop. Now a pawnshop,
the front strip of browning grass is decorated with
two pieces of exercise equipment and an old stereo speaker.
But this is nothing unusual for the shop selling swords,
a Denver Broncos lamp, and Normal Rockwell art.
Hendricks couldn't identify his weirdest thing, but
one bizarre thing in Hendricks' shop seems to stand
out among the rest: an elephant footstool sitting in
a corner. The small stool is covered by the skin of
an actual elephant foot, and has apparently been there
since he moved in. Although it's not for sale, he doesn't
seem too attached to it.
Wendy Lemke, of Syracuse, Utah, has been working for
Hendricks for 17 years, first at the grocery store and
now at the pawnshop. She jokes that the weirdest thing
in the shop is the customers, but later identifies the
row of around 20 differently decorated whiskey bottles
as the strangest.
Hendricks had never been in a pawnshop until he owned
one, and now he spends time in one every day. "I'm just
doing this to make a living," he said. But later he
confessed that he does in fact enjoy his job.