Kara Blakeman: Making a Difference, One Pawn Transaction at a Time

BEING ABLE TO HELP THOSE IN NEED and knowing that she can make a difference are
the two things that Kara Blakeman, manager and bench jeweler at Classic Jewelry and Loan
in Barboursville, WV, loves best about the pawn industry. She started her pawn journey twelve
years ago when her father, Richard, who had opened a store eight months earlier, asked her to
work during the holidays. After one month, she fell in love with the pawn world and has been a
part of it ever since.

Just like any girl, Kara has dreamt of having her name in lights. So when a sign arrived that was to be put on the front of the store, Kara told her father of her dream. Doing what most fathers do, Richard gave his little girl just what she asked for. For over five years, a sign that reads “Kara is Lazy” has hung outside Classic Jewelry and Loan for all passers-by to see. Kara says, “Our customers, especially children, love it! At least once a day, I get asked, ‘Who is Kara and why is she lazy?’ It’s always a good laugh and maybe now I can prove I am NOT lazy!”

Kara is doing just that. She works the pawn counter as much as possible and also spends time searching for new faces to fill positions, ordering products, and pricing and repairing jewelry. She strives to keep good staff, stay open to suggestions, and continue to learn.

Attending NPA’s Pawn Expo is invaluable to her business, according to Kara. She has taken Certified Pawn Professional (CPP) courses, attended education sessions, and networked with other pawnbrokers that have allowed her to share new concepts with her father and co-workers. Besides Pawn Expo, Kara has attended Stuller’s Bench program twice, graduated from the New Approach School for Jewelers in Franklin, TN, and is just 30 hours shy of receiving her bachelor’s degree in public relations.

Kara has written several press releases that have attracted local news mediums. A few have even made national newsletters. She enjoys being able to educate people about the pawn industry and is hopeful that young people will continue to enter the field. “We are the future and it is extremely vital in the growth,” she states.

Kara offers three pieces of advice to young pawnbrokers who are new to the industry: 1) Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, 2) Never stop learning, and 3) Make time for
yourself.

Outside of work, Kara owns a photography business and is dog mom to two pups: Bentli, a 3 year old Chiweenie, and Roxie, a 9 year old “mix of all sorts.”