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Nearly two years after neighbors heard about Famous Pawn’s plan to open a store at 7201 Georgia Avenue—and after council legislation, a lawsuit, and with an appeal pending before the Office of Administrative Hearings—a new pawn shop has opened for business.
Inside, the shop is spotless—manager Scott Coleman was polishing glass cases when I entered, and a smell of detergent hangs in the air. Bargain-priced guitars hang behind the desk, digital cameras and porcelain flatware in shelves next to the window. “The neighbors have been very cool,” Coleman says, noting that some businesses along the retail strip—one of the most healthy-looking on all of Georgia Avenue—have been welcoming.
Some of them grudgingly, though. Doug Meyers opened a mid-century modern furniture store just up the street eight months ago. While he hasn’t had any issues since the pawn shop debuted last week, Meyers says he would have looked at a lot more locations around the city and negotiated a much stronger lease if he’d known they were coming.
“A pawn shop, good or bad, naturally brings down the neighborhood,” he said.
Though it’s probably fair to ask which is worse—a pawn shop, or an empty corner?