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‘Big city’ business going small town

By Staff | Mar 24, 2008

Paul Wright and Phillip Wright of Waseca Sign Company lift a sign into place for a new business set to open in Winnebago.

If everything goes as planned, local residents will have another option for obtaining a loan or cashing a paycheck.

Rory Thompson and Dan Timlin, both formerly of Waseca, hope to open Roxy Payday Loan & Pawn in the old Roxy Theater location at 41 Main St. in Winnebago.

For the past month the two have been cleaning, painting and getting the store ready for business the first week in April.

“We’re just getting all the stuff ready. There’s inventory that still has to come in,” says Thompson.

Running a pawn shop is nothing new for Thompson. For three years he and a partner operated one in Owatonna.

Originally from Winnebago, Thompson worked at Brown Printing for nearly 20 years before deciding he’d had enough working nights and 10- to 12-hour shifts.

“I’m pretty excited coming to Winnebago. I have a job that finally will be days,” he says.

You’ll find the usual items for sale. Jewelry, tools and video games are the big sellers, says Thompson.

But Timlin, who is Thompson’s stepson, says the new business will be more than a pawn shop.

Anyone wishing to sell an item on E-bay but does not want to create an account, can do so at their store, says Timlin.

“We’ll photograph the item, list it and get it sold. I’ll even ship it to the buyer,” he says.

Timlin also is returning to Winnebago. From 1982-84, he worked as a police officer at the Winnebago Police Department. He moved to Waseca, where he was an officer for 20 years before retiring in 2004.

Thompson and Timlin say city officials have been very supportive of their business venture.

Thompson is confident a pawn shop can be successful in a small town like Winnebago. He points to studies that show pawnbrokers can make a living just about anywhere.

“Pawn shops are one of the few businesses that do better in hard economic times,” Thompson says.

Cashing paychecks and getting payday advances also will be offered at the store.

To cash a paycheck, one will have to present a photo ID and fingerprints will be taken.

Thompson says they decided to cash checks because most banks will not do it unless one has an account with them.

“I don’t think that’s fair or right. But that’s the way it is,” adds Thompson.

While the city does not have an ordinance regulating pawn shops, there are state laws that do so.

Thompson says they have received a license from the state and are expecting one for the “payday advance” portion of the business.

Timlin says the store will join an automated pawn system aimed at preventing crime and the recovery of stolen property.

“We don’t want to be a depository for stolen items,” Timlin adds.

Police chief Bob Toland will be attending a seminar in April that will cover pawn shops.

Once the store opens, city officials may pass an ordinance to further regulate its operations and transactions.

“We’ re just hoping it adds positively to the community and it provides a service,” says Thompson.