PawnMaster Blog

PawnMaster or Just Ruler of My #goldenballs?

Posted on 11 Apr 2018

header-JeniLei

My usual response to those asking for the man that runs the business consists of a smirky glaring stare as if I did not fully hear their request. It usually rolls into my explanation that I’ve been in the Pawn industry 29 years and through two ex-husbands. Which then, depending upon their demeanor, can turn into a joke about their desire to be number three or how I still haven’t popped the cherry on my Taser. I am not Disney appropriate so if you are easily offended then my shop is not for you; but if you’re seeking an experience, you just may get it under the biggest golden balls in Northeastern Nevada. 


Check out your map because Elko, Nevada, is nowhere near Las Vegas or Reno. We are the best thing happening for 300+ miles in any direction. We have three of the largest gold mines in the United States that employ a large portion of our community. We are five men to every one woman so when you walk into my shop and ask me personally to speak to the man who runs the shop, well. . .

I started my first pawn shop, with my first husband, around my birthday in 1989. My son was 6 and my daughter was just 8-months-old. We put all of our belongings out for sale and were living in a 15’ travel trailer with two kids. No running water because it was winter in Cache Valley, Utah. I read the laws, pawned some items at a few shops, created my own pawn contract, and away we went. An acquaintance from Vernal, Utah, explained the basics of pawning. I had frequented his family’s shop when his mother was running the store. She was a beautiful witty woman and her son was a practical joker but they were honest to the hilt, a trait I keep golden under my balls.

I was fortunate not to have a stigma about pawn shops. I don’t recall my parents ever mentioning them; surprising because we grew up on Military bases and the top concentration of pawn shops borders them. I do remember learning how to dumpster dive for great produce and talk down a price in a second-hand store, thanks to my mother. I knew how to start a business; heck I had my first business at 18 and by the time I started the pawn shop, I’d had 8 startup businesses. Hanging onto a business that takes you from a 600-square-foot storefront to over six thousand-square-feet in one year was a task. I needed knowledge about the industry and how to make it successful.

I found out about the National Pawn Brokers Association and attended my first Pawn Brokers Convention. The women there were either wives or girlfriends of pawn shop owners attending or working for the Association. I didn’t meet a single female pawn broker. The pawn broker owners and managers meet-and-greet really was a bunch of old balding men. All the wives and girlfriends had tons of gold and diamond adornments and I was wearing worn out jeans and a second-hand blouse.

Needless to say, while my brain exploded with the information I was learning, the only contact I made was a software salesman, retired from NASA who also owned a pawn shop in New Mexico. I hand wrote all my pawns for another year before committing to his computerized DOS magic.

It wasn’t until P. Taylor-Fletcher wrote, “Business under the Balls, How to be a Successful Pawnbroker“, that I finally got my own “goldenballs.” The book was my blueprint for turning my business into more than just a roller coaster of luck. Now, if only she’d written one for relationships!!

As I said, my first Pawn Shop was started with my first husband and I learned a lot about myself along with the business. My second husband and a short stint with my second pawn shop in Casa Grande, taught me what my business degree didn’t. I’d love to share more about that but not now. The request from Data Age /Pawn Master was as a “Woman in the Pawn Industry” share why/how you got started, challenges, accomplishments, or advice for other women.

While I have a Master’s in Business, I don’t consider myself a "Pawn Master" because I haven’t mastered my million yet. I have plenty of personal experiences, business experience, survival and life experiences that I am happy to share. So many so that my recantations won’t fit into a guest blog. I can tell you that my greatest successes have come from what we socially view as failures and moral indiscretions. I once was told that my laughter made me appear weak in interviews but I was also told that a woman’s laugh is an aphrodisiac to men.

Ruby Mountain Pawn is my third pawn shop and if you know the business, we expose and mount our triple goldenballs proudly. This one has been 20 years in the making and most days you’ll leave laughing at us or with us. Our industry is ever changing and we must be vigilant in the spit and polish of our balls because everybody’s opinion of our goldenballs depends solely on where they are standing when viewing them and even then their luster changes with the light of the setting sun.

If you’d like to gaze more deeply into my goldenballs, the industry, or my philanthropic endeavors, please feel free to LIKE, Follow, and share me @Ruby Mountain Pawn, @PawnRuby, www.rubymountainpawn.com or @DateAgeSoftware, @DataAgeBusinessSystems, blog.pawnmaster.com

Jeni-Lei R. Powell

Written by Jeni-Lei R. Powell

Single, Caucasian, Female, date of birth: March 1963; eldest of four children; my parents are Mormon and we were USAF military brats. I am twice divorced and have two grown children by birth. I am the “mother” to several others and a Me-Maw to many., I am married to my businesses. I have fur babies and one stubborn Plecostomus. like to garden, hunt, and fish on occasion I am not a hoarder, I am a maximizer and try to recycle. I am very involved in philanthropic endeavors. A Jeni (not a Jack) of many trades as I have owned and operated 15 businesses since the age of 18. I have a Masters in BM, hard knocks, and survival. I’ve been a Miss America certified judge, a licensed realtor, a state certified vehicle safety inspector, a sworn law enforcement officer, I carry a Notary Public License, and am a Licensed Marriage Officiant. I’ve been homeless and almost made a million dollars all in one year. My personal motto: My mind is my weapon, everything else is an accessory. I am Jeni-Lei Rodell (Johnson, Leiser) Powell.

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