Empire Loan Supports the New Bedford MA ‘Day of Portugal’ Festival

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Massachusetts and Rhode Island are home to the largest concentration of Portuguese people in America. It may be the common history of fishing and whaling that created this phenomena but one thing is for sure, the South Coast area of Massachusetts and Providence Rhode Island is also home to one of the greatest Portuguese festivals in America, the Day of Portugal. Empire Loan’s New Bedford Pawn Shop location is fortunate to be located in the middle of this tremendous festival that attracts as many as 100,000 people every year!

In 2015, Empire Loan worked with the Day of Portugal Festival committee to create a new centerpiece that provided something for the whole family and the community to enjoy. Utilizing the space in front of and surrounding the store, Empire Loan created a family friendly picnic area, free  Portuguese themed face painting for the kids, an artisan and travel and tourism area that promoted Portuguese culture and vacations.

empire 1 Empire Loan provided 15 picnic tables in a partly tented area that allowed attendees to take a seat with  food from some of the many vendors allowing them to just sit, relax and enjoy the festivities. Whether  it was Portuguese specialties or fun festival foods, the well-lit area was a welcome break from the  crowds. In the same area, Empire Loan brought in face painters who created a menu of Portuguese themed artwork that included the Portuguese flag, soccer balls, Princess crowns and other pieces that  were done free of charge for all the kids in attendance. This entirely free, family friendly offering was  very well received and appreciated.

Empire Loan also provided a huge exhibit space to a group of Portuguese artisans that allowed them to  display Portuguese arts and crafts as well as information on travel and commerce in Portugal. Attendees  were able to meet the artisans and representatives who were on hand to promote Portuguese culture  and talk about all aspects of life in the Azores.

To top it all off WJFD 97.3FM was broadcasting live from the Empire Loan store and keeping the crowds happy and entertained throughout the weekend. WJFD has been New England’s 50,000 watt voice of the Portuguese community for over 60 years and has been the centerpiece of the Day of Portugal Festival since its inception.

The Day of Portugal Festival 2015 was spectacular and Empire Loan looks to make 2016 even better!

Guitar Legends

There are guitars and then there are GUITARS! New England Pawn shops like Empire Loan are known for being a great place to pick up anything from an entry level student model guitar to a high end classic guitar with incredible collector value. You never know what may turn up at a Massachusetts or Rhode Island pawn shop.

1. World’s most expensive guitar: Fender created a one of a kind, diamond encrusted guitar worth over a million dollars. This custom made guitar is so special, if you get to hold it, they don’t want you to play it. Then again, if you can afford to own something like this, you can probably afford to have someone play it for you.guitar 12. In 1996, Eric Clapton ordered a gold plated guitar that was valued at nearly a half million dollars. One can only imagine what it would cost or weigh if it was solid gold!


3. The late Bob Marley had a custom made Washburn 22 series Hawk that had an estimated value of $1 to $2 million dollars and is classified as a national asset by the Jamaican government and was one of only seven guitars owned by the legend himself.

GUITAR 34. The 1968 Fender Stratocaster allegedly played by Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock was bought by Microsoft’s Paul Allen for $2 million dollars in 1998. This is not one he is likely to set on fire.

Photo by K. Alize Tran -

Photo by K. Alize Tran –

5, In 2005, a special autographed guitar was created by Fender to help raise money to support the victims of the tsunami. It was autographed by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Mark Knopfler and many others. The guitar sold at an auction in Qatar for $2.7 million dollars!



While you may not find some of the world’s most expensive guitars at Empire Loan’s 8 locations, you can also try Empire Guitars, their exclusive guitar shop for everybody from the Novice to the legends.



photo credit: Gary Clark Jr via photopin (license)

Three Great Father’s Day Gifts from MA & RI Pawn Shops

This weekend is Father’s day and you’re running out of time, and you don’t want to spend a ton of money to get dad a gift. What should you do? Stop into MA & RI Pawn Shops like Empire Loan and get him something he will enjoy.

Here are 3 things gift ideas for dad that you may find:

  • Dad always wanted to be a rock star and what better way to get him started than to check out the great selection of guitars they have out for sale. Acoustic guitars are the classic go-to guitar that anybody will enjoy playing on. No amps or electricity are necessary (though there is such a thing as an “Acoustic Electric”) to sit around the house and play with, take it on the road, or even just to the back deck to serenade the neighbors. If dad is a real Rock God, get him a funky electric so he can display his Jimi Hendrix like talent. Either way, stores like Empire Loan have a huge selection of guitars starting at under $50!
  • Tools! Tools! Tools! Dad’s just love getting tools. These are toys for grownups, and you won’t find a better price than at a pawn shop. Circular saws, drills, wrench sets, pneumatic nail guns, just about any too you can imagine could await you inside a pawn shop. Recently Empire Loan had Satellite locators for dad to install his own satellite TV. Whatever tool you’re looking for, you can find it at a pawn shop!
  • Gold Jewelry: When you gave dad the macaroni necklace to wear to work when you were a kid, he wore it with pride. Now that you’re older, it’s time to pay dad back with a gold chain or ring. A chain with a pendant chosen by you is something he will treasure forever. The prices for gold & diamond jewelry at Pawn Shops like Empire Loan are a fraction of what you’d pay at a jewelry store for the same quality, and the items themselves are truly unique.

Father’s day is this Sunday! Take a quick trip to one of Empire Loan’s 8 locations in Boston, Providence, New Bedford, Worcester, Stoughton, Lowell and Lynn will save the day. Do it for dad!

empire guitars electric

Providence Pawn Shop Cleans Up

Empire Loan in Providence is all about giving back to the community. With two locations in the city, Empire Loan has made commitments to the North Main Street neighborhood where in addition to a beautiful pawn shop we have built Empire Guitars, a true home spun guitar shop. But on Broad Street in Providence is where Empire Loan has made a commitment to the community unlike any other pawn shop. Through a partnership with Calle Limpia, a joint venture between Empire Loan and Mi Sueno and Acua, located on the other end of Broad St. these two businessmen have committed time, money and resources into cleaning up the street.

Since last year, these businesses have paid workers and provided them with equipment to pick up trash and sweep up dirt to help build pride in the area. “I looked out the window of the store one day and saw a guy with a trash can literally just sweeping the street in front of the store” said managing partner Jeff Keithline. “When I asked him he put me in touch with Jesus Titin, the owner of Mi Sueno and Acua at the other end of Broad St. He told me how he was paying for these guys to walk up and down the street cleaning up and I knew we just had to be a part of it.”

Now in its second year, Empire Loan came up with 4 branded trash barrels on wheels with the logo for Calle Limpia on the side. That literally translates to clean street, something everybody can appreciate.

“Empire Loan has had a long term commitment to being the leading pawnbroker in Providence and our support of this great effort is just one example of how committed we are to the city” says Keithline.  “Since 1985, Empire Loan has worked hard to become New England’s leading pawn shop and this is just one more way for us to lead.”

Calle Limpia

10 Bills you can pay with a MA or RI Pawn Loan

Pawn loans are short term cash loans that simply require a valid ID and something of value to secure the loan. Since 1985, Empire Loan has been helping customers by providing pawn loans in our Boston, Providence, New Bedford, Worcester, Stoughton, Lowell and Lynn stores. What can you use a pawn loan for? Here are ten of the most common uses

  • Car repairs: Brake jobs, new tires, or a new exhaust system are just a few of the unexpected expenses that come up when you own a car. A quick cash pawn loan could help fix it right up.
  • Rent or Mortgage: Everybody knows when the rent or mortgage is due, the problem is that other expenses come up too. When you’re a little short, this could be just what you need.
  • Overdue Bills: Every month the number of bills that comes in seems to keep growing. Cable, phone bill, gas, electric and the heating bills alone are enough to drown you. When you come up a little short, a fast and easy pawn loan could be just the ticket to avoid late fees, reactivation charges and everything else they tack on.
  • Bank Fees: If you’ve ever bounced a check with your bank you know being overdrawn can be expensive. The bank charges you $40 for being overdrawn on top of any fees the company you sent the check to charges you. A pawn loan to prevent this in the first place could be the best value.
  • School Vacation: Whether it’s just for spring break or when they are off for the summer, a pawn loan will keep everyone happy. Kid’s camp can cost a few hundred dollars a week while a pawn loan helps it all happen.
  • Medical Expenses: Even with health insurance, the cost of an office visit, prescription drug co-pay or the dreaded Emergency Room visit can add up quickly. The only thing faster is the time it takes to do a pawn loan to cover the expense
  • Night on the town: what happens when a special occasion comes up and he need to pick up the tab for dinner? How about the concert you’ve been waiting for that you have to buy tickets before they sell out? A fast cash pawn loan can get you out on the town without a care in the world.
  • College Tuition: Whether you need to get a deposit in by a certain date or buy one of those expensive text books, a pawn loan can help you make it to your degree!
  • Credit Cards: One reason many customers choose a pawn loan is to avoid having a credit card and paying all those interest and fees that come when you get behind.
  • Car Payment: Customers who are paying on a car loan know that being late on a payment does more than just effect your credit rating, it can also trigger extra fees making the loan even more expensive. Pawn loans can be cheaper than the fees that get tacked on.

Everybody has bills and most need a little help every now and then just to stay on top of them. A Pawn Loan from Empire Loan with eight convenient locations from Rhode Island to Massachusetts could be just the ticket.


Cutting Edge Technology in the Pawn Business

The pawn loan has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the early Chinese and the Roman Empire. The business of lending money based on borrowers providing collateral items to secure the loan is nothing new.  One New England based chain of pawn shops, Empire Loan, has gone where no pawn shop has gone before, with new exclusive technology making New England pawn loans easier for their customers.

Empire Loan has created an online loan payment center that allows customers to pay their loans through their website from the comfort of their own home or anywhere in the world. Customers simply go to and click on the link to “Pay Your Loan” and create a simple online account where they can renew and even redeem their loans without having to go to the store.

“Our customers lead busy lives with work, family, chores and a million other things they don’t have time for” says Empire Loan founder and President Michael Goldstein. “The last thing they have time for is a special trip to the pawn shop to pay on their loan. That’s why we created the online loan center, to make it easier for them to take care of their business whenever it is most convenient for them.”

Empire Loan did a soft launch of the loan center in March of 2014 to give customers and employees a chance to get used to it and make sure there weren’t any bugs in the system. So far things have gone smoothly for everybody.

“We have a call center that our customers can call into if they need help navigating it. The #1 problem seems to be people forgetting their password, so that means the system is working perfectly” says Goldstein.

So far customers love it.

“We’ve had customers call us from all over the world asking how they could pay their pawn loan while they were out of the country. One customer called from Alaska and ended up redeeming the loan online and had his wife pick up the item in the store.” Says Goldstein. “Another customer called us from the airport and was panicked because he had forgotten about his loan and was about to leave the country for an extended period. Once we explained he could pay for the loan online he was able to relax and enjoy his trip”.

If you think there’s nothing new in the pawnbroking industry, you just haven’t checked out Empire Loan!empireloan_617_22_3


How a New England Pawn Loan SHOULD Work

New England pawn loans are a safe and secure way to get a fast cash loan for a short period of time to take care of unexpected expenses. Pawn loans have also been around for thousands of years, dating to the ancient Chinese, 3,000 years ago. Queen Isabella even pawned the crown jewels to fund Christopher Columbus’ journey to America. While these loans are regulated by state and local authorities, there are some pawnbrokers who are willing to implement medieval terms on their pawn loans that customers should be aware of before accepting the loan.

Generally, a pawnbroker will appraise the merchandise you bring in to determine how much they can lend. If it’s gold or diamond jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, or just about anything else, a good pawnbroker will be happy to explain how they came up with that value. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, just as long as you understand how they came up with the amount. It doesn’t matter what you paid for the item, what the history behind it is, or even if you recently saw it for sale for a larger value, it’s simply based on their parameters.

The part consumers need to pay careful attention to are the terms of the pawn loan. Again, most pawn loans are regulated by state and local authorities so things like fees, interest rates or the length of the loan are set for the pawnbroker. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island where Empire Loan operates, loans are for 4 months and 3 months respectively. Certain unscrupulous pawnbrokers in these areas may tell customers they need to come in to pay their interest monthly or that the loan is only good for 30 days, but that is wrong, and illegal. It is up to the customer to say something or simply walk out.

The interest and fees are set in Massachusetts by local cities and towns where Empire Loan operates and varies accordingly. In Empire Loan’s Providence Rhode Island Pawn Shop locations the interest was set by the legislature. The staff at either Empire Loan location in Providence will explain the 3 month term and 5% monthly interest to you. Any pawnbroker in Rhode Island should tell you the same, but if they don’t, run, don’t walk, out the door and find the nearest Empire Loan location.

Other fees that pawnbrokers sometimes charge include photo fees, origination and closing costs, lost ticket fees and late fees. While many of these fees are legal, pay attention to how much they are. We recently discovered one competitor in Rhode Island offering 1 month loans and charging a $35.00 late fee on top of a $7.00 origination fee and a $7.00 closing fee on a $100.00 loan. This means if you are 1 day late (don’t forget that’s 1 month and 1 day) in redeeming the $100.00 loan, it would cost you $154! At a legitimate pawn shop like one of Empire Loan’s 2 Providence locations, that same $100.00 loan for the same 31 days would only cost you $113.00. Since by law a pawn loan in Providence is for 3 months, if you waited the entire 3 months to redeem your $100.00 loan it would actually only cost you $118.00.

The bottom line is: Buyer Beware. Don’t be ripped off by other dishonest New England pawnbrokers. Ask questions and read the fine print. Since 1985, Empire Loan has been helping people get the cash they need, fair and square. It’s that easy.

new england pawn shop

Cash for Gold in Boston Gives you the Opportunity to Recycle Your Old Jewelry

Earth Day is Wednesday April 22nd and you can do your part by recycling your old gold and silver jewelry! Most people think Earth Day is all about recycling cans, bottles and old newspapers but it’s also a great opportunity to recycle your old jewelry. Simply bring in your broken, out of date or unwanted jewelry and the experts at Empire Loan will give you cash for gold in Boston, or any of our 8 locations. Get cash for your gold. Get cash for your platinum. Get cash for your silver, including that old teapot that you have never used. The staff at Empire Loan will test and weigh your items and pay you cash.

Gold is a rare commodity, because there are very few large deposits left in the world. According to Goldman Sachs, the world only has about a 20 year supply left to be mined.“The combination of very low concentrations of metals in the Earth’s crust, and very few high-quality deposits, means some things are truly scarce,” Eugene King, European metals and mining analyst at Goldman Sachs, wrote in a recent research note.

“Gold has been used as a measure of wealth for more than 4,000 years, as the ancient Egyptians soon worked out that gold was not only shiny and heavy, but rare,” King said.

Recycling the precious metals in jewelry has been going on for centuries. Gold silver and platinum are melted down and formed into new pieces of jewelry. In all likelihood, the ring or bracelet you’re wearing now could have been somebody else’s earrings or chain in another life.

The cost of mining for precious metals like gold and silver in terms of damage to the environment makes the prospect of recycling your old, broken jewelry even more appealing. Did I mention the added bonus that you get cash for your gold?

Help the environment and make made some cash at the same time this Earth Day. What could be better!

new england pawn shop

Will you be fooled this April? Here’s how to test if your gold is real.

‘Fool’s Gold’ is often thought of as the popular 2008 Matthew McConaughey movie, however, it also refers to the mineral iron pyrite, which has a resemblance to gold. This is a material that is used in various pieces of jewelry. Often times, people think they’re buying gold, when they really aren’t.

The only way to make sure what you have is really gold is to take it to a certified, reliable jeweler or pawn shop for testing. However, there are a few things you can do yourself that can give you clues.

  • Look carefully for markings that indicate 10K (417), 14K (585) or 18K (750). This indicates the percent of gold in the piece (41.7%, 58.5% or 75%) respectively. While this test may not indicate authenticity, it can tell you more about your piece.
  • Using a magnifying glass, look for signs of wear or flaking that may occur at various spots. Plated pieces may start to show different color metal in these spots, indicating what you have is not solid gold.
  • A quick and easy test is to use a magnet. Gold (and silver) are not attracted to a magnet. You need to use a strong magnet, and if it attracts the metal, it is likely not gold. Beware though, some jewelry may have other magnetic metal inside (springs in a clasp, wire inside a bracelet) that will make it look like it’s attracted. This is because the metal inside is doing the attracting, not the gold.
  • A Porcelain Scratch test can be performed by using an unglazed tile or ceramic plate and scratching the object on the tile. If it leaves a black streak, the item is not gold. If the streak is gold in color, the item is likely gold. This may scratch the piece, but should not cause much damage, if any at all.

If these tests still leave you questioning whether what you have is authentic gold, it’s time to turn to the professionals.

The experts at Empire Loan will use an acid test. Using nitric acid, as well as hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, the tester will carefully put a drop of acid on the item and watch for a reaction. If the item bubbles or starts to turn green, it is not gold. Often the tester will lightly scratch the item on special stone, similar to the scratch test listed above, and place the drop of acid on the gold to test for a reaction.

To test the authenticity of your gold, or to get cash for your gold, visit one of Empire Loan’s 8 New England Pawn Shops.

Don’t be fooled this April Fool’s Day by fool’s gold.

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Charitable Gift Lands Allison Picott, wife of Empire CEO Michael Goldstein, in Dennis Lehane’s New Book

The new Dennis Lehane book, World Gone By, features two characters named after charitable donors. Michael Goldstein, the CEO of Empire loan, gave enough money to charity to be featured in Lehane’s new book. Rather than asking Lehane to use his name, however, Goldstein chose a mention for his wife, Allison Picott. A Read more about the book and charitable contributions here.