COVID-19 pandemic forces Regina pawn shop to close after 57 years in business

Regina's City Collateral closes on April 9, 2022 due to the pandemic after being in business since 1965. Picture taken April 7, 2022. Dave Parsons

City Collateral, a pawn shop in Regina, is closing its doors for good on April 9th after being a part of the community for 57 years.

“During the pandemic the business has kind of fallen off and we’ve been hoping that things would recover over the past two years but sooner or later you need to make a decision,” said owner Aaron Strauss.

When government relief became available during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for short-term lending dropped and City Collateral held on as long as they could but they couldn’t afford to absorb any more financial losses. They announced in January that keeping the business open just wasn’t a viable option anymore.

“This business has been open and been a part of Regina since 1965. My grandfather worked here. My aunt and uncle ran it for 30 years. I’ve been over 10 years here so it is an end of an era and it is kind of sad to see it close,” said Strauss.

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Like many businesses they were forced to close for months at a time during the pandemic.

“You’ve got 60 years almost that you’re walking away from,” said City Collateral operations manager Tom Davidson.

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The store has seen a lot of memorable items come through their doors over the years.

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“We’ve had a golf club in a big shadow frame that was used by Tiger Woods the first time he won the Masters,” said Strauss.

Now the shop won’t be around long enough to see if Woods will win the Masters this weekend for the sixth time in his polarizing career.

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“I’ve been here two years now and even in that short time you really get to know the people. It’s tough telling some of them that you’re not going to be here for them anymore and trying to give them the best advice you can on what to do next,” said Davidson.

Despite the guitars, the 200-year-old bibles and statues of Napoleon Bonaparte that were made in East Germany, that’s not what they’ll miss most at City Collateral.

“It’s going to be the people. You meet so many people and doing what you can to help them out but they’re helping you at the same time,” recalls Davidson.

“The pawn business is a business based on trust. People trust us to hold their item on loan then they come and get that item back. We’ve been told a lot that if we’re not here they don’t know where they will go because we are the only one they trust,” said Strauss proudly.

Strauss will now shift his focus to his other business, Cache Tactical Supply Inc. All remaining items at the shop are 70 per cent off until the Regina staple closes forever on Saturday evening.

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