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.

new england pawn shop

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.

Moving the Right Pawn — Building Empires Interview With Michael Goldstein. Via Huffington Post.


What does it take to build a massive empire from scratch? You are about to find out! I recently had a sit down with entrepreneur extraordinaire Michael Goldstein. Michael has systematically built his business, Empire Loan, over the past 30 years, and today it is, by far, the most successful pawn brokerage in New England. Michael is a third generation pawn broker, having learned the trade from his dad and his grandfather, while working at their family pawn shop in the Bronx, New York. Today, Empire Loan, a company founded by Michael, has 8 stores (plus one store that specifically sells guitars) and 50 employees, and generates $9M a year in revenue. Building a successful empire is much like winning at chess, it takes strategy, experience, and the ability to consistently move the right pawn. Here are 4 lessons to building a massive empire, one pawn at a time.


Read more here.

3 Tips for Getting the Best Deal on Jewelry

Customers come into Empire Loan with jewelry that they have paid big money for and are shocked to find out how much their jewelry is actually worth. People go to the big national chains in the malls that have special collections, or specially creations from some actress with a fancy, frilly name to capture their imagination. Others head into fancy upscale jewelry stores that claim to have been in business since the beginning of time. However, designer brands and fancy names don’t always translate to value.

Shopping for jewelry can be a very exciting experience, and gives you the opportunity to make a great investment by getting the best deal on your jewelry.

Be sure to follow these three steps when shopping or selling in order to get the most value for your dollar.

  1. Look at the karat- The higher the content of gold, the higher the karat. 24k gold is 99.9% pure gold, and is rarely used in jewelry because it is not durable. Most pieces are 10K (41.7%), 14K (58.5%) or 18K (75.0%) gold. Knowing the karat of the gold is crucial in determining the value.
  1. Look at the weight – A term you might hear when buying or selling jewelry is DWT. This means “pennyweight.” A pennyweight is equal to 1.555 grams, and there are 20 DWT to an ounce. The weight of your gold, silver, or platinum is important because when combined with the karat, it’s a clear indicator of value. This means a 14K gold chain that weighs 10 DWT (DWT = pennyweight) will cost more than one that weighs 9 DWT but less than one the weighs 11 DWT.
  1. Be objective – Though the new celebrity collection may seem glamorous, it will actually add very little value to the item. The only thing that matters from a value standpoint is the karat and weight of the piece. Looking at tangible factors like karat and weight will help you make a more timeless and secure investment.

Following these three tips will ensure that your jewelry is a good value.

At our 8 Empire Loan locations, you will pay what the jewelry is worth. We look at the karat, we look at the weight, and we look at the value the jewelry will hold over time.

The next time you’re tempted to buy the “Specially Designed Collection” or the “Celebrity Endorsed Open Arms Creation”, ask what the karat of the gold is and how much it weighs. Now compare that to what you find at any Empire Loan location. When it comes to buying or selling, make sure you get the best deal on jewelry by following these three simple steps.

Cash For Gold Check Prices CTA


Empire Loan Stands With the Community

As with many small companies the communities they serve are incredibly important, often the lifeblood of their business. When we saw our neighbors at Building Bridges Through Music were the victims of a tragic robbery, leaving the charity ransacked and out thousands of dollars of equipment, we knew we had to help. With the children in mind, we sprung into action donating 7 guitars, a laptop, an amplifier, and a check for $500. We were inspired by the devastated looks on the children’s faces, and more determined then ever to empower them and the community. We are proud to stand with Doreen Murray of Building Bridges Through Music and the community of Lynn and hope our generosity inspires others.

7News Boston WHDH-TV
Coverage starts at minute 2:20

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