Like many others, Randi Nell is a “daughter” of pawn. Her parents started Big Dog Pawn in West Jordan, Utah, when she was 12 years old. As a teenager, she worked in the store part-time, but swore she would never work at the pawnshop when she grew up. However, after graduating from college in 2009, she went back home to work in her parent’s store until she could find something different. She soon came to enjoy the industry and has been working as a pawnbroker for the last seven years. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” said Randi, manager of Big Dog Pawn’s West Jordan location.
Since she started working at the pawnshop, the hours of operation have expanded to twelve hours a day, seven days a week. According to Randi, “It was a hard change and a lot of hours had to be put in to make it successful, but overall it has been extremely beneficial in growing our business.” Along with making the change of hours, Randi helps manage their online eBay store.
She also helped set up the store’s first franchise. A family wanted to open a pawn shop, but Big Dog Pawn did not want to get into a partnership. Instead, they created a franchise. The new store shares the same name, Big Dog Pawn, and the new staff was trained on all of the aspects of running a store.
In her seven years as a pawnbroker, Randi has accomplished many things, but she feels that her biggest achievement to date is getting involved in the NPA. “We have learned so much valuable information from Pawn Expo, pawn magazines, and other pawnbrokers as well,” said Randi. “I think that learning to have positive relationships with other pawnbrokers helps you to set higher goals for yourself.”
Randi compares her experience as a waitress in college to her career as a pawnbroker. “It can be hard to work at a place with a lot of different personalities. But if you can learn to get along with co-workers and be happy with the people around you, customers can feel the energy when they come into the store.” She believes that if everyone is happy and having a good time at work, it will be a place that customers are more likely to revisit.
One piece of advice that Randi would give to other young pawnbrokers in the industry is, “Don’t be afraid to suggest new ideas.” It’s hard to come into an already-successful store and suggest new ideas, but according to Randi, “Sometimes a new perspective and fresh ideas is just what a company needs.”
Randi graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and is currently studying to get her Graduate Gemologist certification from Gemological Institute of America (GIA).