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By Robert Waldner
Photo by Melissa Roby
With an upbeat atmosphere and a caring staff, 312 Pawn breaks the mold of the traditional pawn shop. In recent years, shops like these have exploded onto the pop culture scene, gaining superstar status through cable television shows documenting clients waiting for hours to have their valuables appraised. However, the fame has done little to extinguish stereotypes. Perhaps the most common pawn shop picture is that of the inner city establishment displaying the “We Buy Gold” neon sign, window security bars, and the wheeling, dealing, shop owner sitting behind the glass display case inside. Proving that not all pawn shops are created equal, the all-female operated 312 Pawn is putting a new twist on the pop culture phenomenon.
Located at 1955 A1A South, 312 Pawn is owned and operated by longtime St. Augustine resident Dana Taylor, who opened the business three years ago. With merchandise such as vintage modern furniture, fishing gear, surfboards, and jewelry, 312 Pawn has something for everybody. While many of the items in the store have been brought in by clients, much of the furniture has been acquired by Taylor and her husband during their trips around Florida. Perhaps most unique is the atmosphere of the shop.
“We’re not your typical pawn shop,” says Taylor. “We’re just an eclectic, cool, funky store that does loans,” she explains emphatically. Further distancing themselves from the pawn shop pack, 312 Pawn even has an on-staff Master Jeweler, giving them the ability to do jewelry and clock repairs onsite.
The staff at 312 Pawn is focused on making clients feel comfortable when they walk through the doors. “We’re here to help people,” says Taylor. “There will always be a need for pawn shops because bank loans can be so difficult to get. At any given moment, any one one of us can be on the other side of those doors needing a loan to stay on our feet,” she empathizes.
312 Pawn • 1955 A1A South (Amici’s Plaza) • Visit Website • (904) 217-3862