By Jacob Mathias
What began as an eBay store has expanded to three locations in Central Wisconsin.
E-Way Sales and Pawn, owned by Jonathan Ruder and his father John Ruder, opened its third location at 3296 Church Street on Nov. 7. The original Wisconsin Rapids location opened in 2006 and the Marshfield shop opened about two years ago. The shop offers 30-day pawn loans as well as cash on-the-spot sales.
“Where do you go now days to get a $100 loan,” said John Ruder. “That’s kind of the backbone of the business.”
Jonathan Ruder said there was need in the area for a pawn shop, as the area was limited on companies offering small, short-term loans. No credit checks are required and the loans are secured based on collateral.
“You’ve got to work with your people. You can’t kick them when they’re down,” he said. “There’s been a lot of pawn shops out there that really kick people when they’re down and we don’t want to be that. That’s why we’re still in business and successful.”
While many pawn shops come and go, Ruder said the key to his stores’ success comes from paying a fair price to customers and being flexible. This has led to repeat customers who Ruder is happy to help out. Many customers he’s had in the Wisconsin Rapids location are now visiting the Stevens Point store closer to their home.
While E-Way will pawn or buy anything that will sell, not everything makes the cut. Firearms, gold and silver are the most highly sought after and DVDs are always a big seller.
Sometimes odd items make their way into the shop.
“The strangest thing was a great aunt in an urn [sic],” said Jonathan Ruder. “We didn’t take it.”
He said the urn belonged to a desperate traveler whose car had broken down.
The shop is currently hiring and fully licensed to pawn its items including firearms.
E-Way Sales and Pawn is open Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM and Saturdays from noon to 4 PM.