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Pawnshops go upscale and online

from Smartmoney.com

When Jim De Lisa's chain of six furniture stores went belly-up midrecession, the New Jersey father-of-five found himself in a fix. He was suddenly unemployed and broke, and his credit score, he says, was "in the crapper." Pushed to the edge by looming house and car payments, he did the unthinkable: He pawned his wife's $18,000 engagement ring. But no one ever saw him visit the pawnshop — De Lisa hocked the 1.7-karat stunner over the Internet. Is no industry immune to the inexorable forces of technology and gentrification? more


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