PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — From the gas pump to the grocery store, it’s hard to escape astronomical prices.
Most Americans are beginning to worry about paying their bills and local pawn shops are reporting an increase in business as people look for ways to make some extra cash.
Alamo Auto Sales and Pawn Shop owner, Eric Cleveland, said pawn shops all over the county, including his own, are seeing an increase in business due to inflation.
“People are needing money for gas and food and just to survive we’re seeing a pretty good uptick about 20 percent up from last year on just loans you know people needing to borrow some money,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland said they’ve seen a huge increase in gold, which he said is a sign that times are tough.
“It’s tough whenever people are talking about this is my grandmother’s ring or this is my dad’s ring and they’re just needing 25, 30 maybe 100 dollars our average loan is 100 dollars to get through the month, put gas in the tank to get to work,” Cleveland said.
It’s not just nationwide inflation that’s bringing in more business at Alamo, Cleveland said the recent WestRock paper mill closure was also a big driver of business.
“A lot of the guys were preparing for that,” Cleveland said. “They were coming in, selling some of their stuff, might of been moving to go to another WestRock paper company plant and so they were just trying to make a little money until they figured out what they were going to do.”
Cleveland said it’s hard to hear some of the stories that come walking through his door.
“I don’t think any of us seen this coming,” Cleveland said. “Of course we’ve been given kind of a hand here with the hurricane, pandemic, now WestRock, now inflation, so Panama City as y’all say we’re 850 strong I think we’re gonna get through it but it’s going to be tough times here for everybody but we’re here for you.”
A few more local pawn shops also told us they have seen an increase in business as well.