The Local: The Shiest Retail Remains Steady in Recession

Gary Gross’ family has operated a pawnshop near Penn Station for more than a century. Though he was not around during the “real depression” in the 1920s, S&G Gross Co. has emerged more or less unscathed from multiple economic downturns in Mr. Gross’ lifetime.

The bursting of the tech bubble in the beginning of the decade barely made a dent in the lending or retail side of what is formally known as the “collateralized loan brokerage” industry—though Mr. Gross’ personal portfolio took a hit. The late 1970s was a “disastrous” time because the cost of lending went up, he said, but it, too, was short-lived. S&G Gross Co. has been making an average of 10 percent more loans since the current crisis on Wall Street began, Mr. Gross estimated.

“I can’t say we’re feeling it dramatically,” he said at his pawnshop last week. “I wasn’t here in 1929, when people literally did not have anything to pawn, but generally we do well in bad times and good. People always want a little more than they can afford.”  read more »

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