In southwest Louisiana, there’s a chain of pawn stores where decisions are made based on the individual first and the item second. Chad Carter is the owner of Chad’s Pawn Shop and he believes in kindness and showing his customer’s empathy. That philosophy has helped him grow his business from one store in 1994 to six stores in 2018.
Chad’s Pawn Shop takes a number of items in on pawn including firearms, jewelry, tools, electronics, and car stereos. Their primary marketing methods are social media, specifically Facebook, Craigslist, Letgo, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.
With stores in Lake Charles, Sulphur, Jennings, and Deridder, keeping 42 employees up-to-date and on the same page can be tricky. Training is key and must be uniform throughout the company, Chad emphasizes. His operations supervisor uses meetings, emails, and group texts to keep everyone informed.
Other challenges of a multi-store company are security and personnel. Chad says a state-of-the-art alarm system with at least three keyholders available at all times is a must. Staying in contact with employees to ensure they are happy is vital to keeping key positions filled. When they do need to hire someone new, he looks for a nice smile, an upbeat attitude, and an engaging personality. New hires have been found through in-store advertising, social media, Indeed.com, and Monster.com.
Knowing when to expand your operation can be a tough decision. Chad considers several factors when contemplating a new location: traffic count, population, employment rate, and the average income of the area. The time is right when he has the right management team in place. Before opening a new location, the management team is trained in an existing location first. “It takes a complete management team effort to expand including an inventory auditor, a social media person, an operations supervisor, and an office manager. Each person plays a role in opening a new location,” Chad says.
The second store is the hardest to open, according to Chad, because you expect everyone to work like you do. “Communication is key and the procedures need to be the same at every location,” he shares.
Chad’s future plans include continuing to offer long-term career opportunities while opening new locations and remaining profitable.
Chad Carter is a member of NPA’s Board of Directors. For more information on operating a multi-store business, contact him at [email protected].