In 1978, American Jewelry and Loan opened as Metro Detroit’s first suburban pawnshop. The 1,500 square foot location in Oak Park, Michigan was an offshoot of Sam’s Loan, a pawnshop at the corner of Wabash and Michigan Avenue where Les Gold grew up working for his grandfather. The move would change the trajectory of his life in ways he couldn’t have imagined while working alongside his “Popsie” as a youngster.
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, American Jewelry and Loan, now with three stores including its iconic 50,000 sq.ft. Detroit location, Gold is partnering with Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan (JA), and its JA Company program to ensure young entrepreneurs in Southeastern Michigan are able to fund their own dream businesses.
The Gold Bank, gifted by American Jewelry and Loan, but controlled and administered by JA, will be the source for low-interest small business loans for students involved in the JA Company program, which teaches entrepreneurship to high school students.
“The hardest part of getting a business off the ground is finding start-up capital,” said Les Gold, Owner, American Jewelry and Loan. “With the Gold Bank, I am pleased that these young entrepreneurs will have one more option to find resources to build their companies and their futures,” Gold added.
Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan is the youth arm of economic development in the region. The volunteer-driven non-profit, founded in Detroit in 1949, will teach 60,000 students in 10 counties the “business of life”—financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work-readiness including career exposure and soft skills.
High school students involved in the JA Company program throughout Southeastern Michigan will be eligible for a loan from the Gold Bank. They must demonstrate the value and viability of their start-up during a “Shark Tank” style presentation to a panel of business leaders, including Les and his son Seth Gold. Students will be responsible for paying back the loans they obtain from the Gold Bank, with low interest, in the same semester in which they borrow it, thus ensuring the success of the program for years to come.
“The Gold Bank solves the problem every start-up business has—where to get money to launch a business,” said Margaret Trimer-Hartley, President of JA of Southeastern Michigan. “Our JA Company students will learn just how small business loans work in the real world,” added Trimer-Hartley.
2017 was a remarkable year for American Jewelry and Loan! Here are just a few of the highlights:
- The Detroit Regional Chamber hosted ‘Inside the CEO Mind‘ at American Jewelry and Loan, welcoming over 100 business leaders to their iconic store to hear their remarkable success story.
- We are always happy to welcome visitors to our store (including Naked Magicians) and were honored when the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau named our store to their list of ‘How to Spend a Day in Detroit’.
- Les and Seth Gold love spending time with their fellow pawnbrokers. They delivered the keynote speech and a breakout session at Midwest Pawnbrokers Convention in Nashville as well as the Dixie Pawnbrokers Educational Conference. Seth attended the NPA Legislative Conference in Washington DC. In July, they attended Pawn Expo in Las Vegas.
- Seth Gold was named to DBusiness Magazine’s 2017 Class of Thirty in their 30s.
- We created a Facebook Insider’s Group to connect with local customers who shop at our THREE Metro Detroit locations. Our VIP Insiders can take advantage of exclusive offers and see unique items as they’re added to our showroom floor. We also created an email address where customers can connect directly with our sales professionals for concierge service.
- American Jewelry and Loan Pontiac partnered with some of the most successful business leaders in the area to host a 3-week Entrepreneurship Master Class. Also in Pontiac, we repeated our popular Financial Literacy for Alternative Lending Customers Course in Pontiac.
- Seth Gold served as a panelist for Crain’s Detroit’s business webinar How to Grow Your Business Through Networking.
- Les and Seth Gold remained committed to supporting their community in 2017, beginning with attending the 2017 NAIAS Charity event. Les served as the celebrity auctioneer at The Big Auction, helping raise $125,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit. They served as Honorary Chairs of the Wigs 4 Kids Gala. Winning Futures raised over $275,000 at their 2017 Corks and Forks event, where Les Gold served as the Celebrity Auctioneer.
- The 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference 2016 To-Do List Report, presented by Dennis Archer, Jr., included a feature summarizing the Financial Literacy Workshops that were hosted by American Jewelry and Loan in partnership with Junior Achievement, Greenpath Financial Wellness, and Operation HOPE.
As we look to 2018, we’ll celebrate the 40th Year of American Jewelry and Loan with gratitude and appreciation for those who have supported our business for four generations.