I want to sing my own personal hosanna for Jerry, who cleaned up our town and rode off into the sunset about three weeks ago. Here it is:
My three sons and I have a single store on the California coast, which has grown beyond our shoot-from-the-hip management style. We needed new and better systems and more understanding of our financials, but it seemed there was never enough time in the day to tackle it. It was as if we were trying to steer our ship from down in the engine room, hoping we were still going in the right direction. My dream for this business is that it will continue to be a source of connection and opportunity for future generations of my family, but we needed help.
When we contracted with Jerry to visit us in February of 2010, we had three months to prepare. We took that time to make changes we knew we needed so that Jerry could focus on things we didn’t know about. Just knowing he was coming lit a fire under us and led to so much progress, we got our money’s worth before he even walked in the door! But the best was yet to come.
Jerry is a numbers guy. He went over our financials with us for the last 4 years, showing us exactly what was happening with our loan and inventory yields. Like a lot of single store operations, we were in love with our profit margins and misunderstood inventory turns, which tells how much you actually make on your inventory. And we were sitting on gold, which hurt our inventory performance even more.
Jerry understood that our connection to each other as a family is very important to us, but there are always family dynamics in every family business. He fearlessly, tactfully and effectively navigated those waters, and our family is stronger, as well as the business, because of Jerry’s help.
We spent a lot of time on the showroom floor, going over layout, fixtures, and merchandizing. It was a little embarrassing. Did we really need to display every single rope and figaro chain we owned, or all 23 of our sawzalls (each one tagged in a different place)? Chainsaws in the front window? Oh yeah, that’ll bring the ladies in, for sure. Stocking new product when we can’t get enough used? What a concept! We’re a busy store, but that’s a pretty lame excuse for the neglect we were inflicting on ourselves and our customers.
On Jerry’s last day with us, he gave a motivational presentation to our entire staff, sharing much of the information he’d gone over with us owners. We have a great staff, and it’s important to us that they have opportunities to meet their personal goals here. That’s not always money, but money helps, so we drafted a productivity commission program with Jerry that was part of his presentation. The effect on our team was electric, that they could be in charge of how much money they make. We’re still hammering out the details of this program to fit our store, but everyone is energized and we already see improvements in customer service.
Although Jerry is a business consultant, we came to realize he has a higher calling, to use his special talents to help make the world a better place. He reminded us that the pawn business gives us privileged opportunities to help people in need, and there are times when there’s no money in it; it’s just the right thing to do. He certainly left our little corner of the world a better place than when he came. If you are considering bringing Jerry to your store, I recommend doing it soon. He’s very generous with information on the NPA forum, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. It might be the best money you ever spent.
Humboldt Pawn and Trading Company
I am writing to thank you for the consulting services you provided in September of 2007. We enjoyed your visit with us and would like to congratulate you on a job well done. We especially appreciate the detailed nineteen page report you wrote for us and the insightful analysis it contains. The entire report is sharp and incisive. In particular, we welcome your observations about the structure of the short-term loan industry and how we might better improve our place in it, as well as the detailed comments you provided on individual stores and personnel. Also of great value are your remarks concerning making better use of the technology we currently have available to us, both in order to reduce costs and to ensure the safety of our personnel.
Your thoughtful analysis will help to determine the course of our business well into the future. We value your strategic advice and even now are working to implement it. Please be assured of our gratitude for your work, and we look forward to doing business with you again in the future.”
Alvin Bell, Jr., Belcorp, Inc.
Big Pawn Inc/Freeman Jewelers of Chicago
Alvin Bell, Jr.
We just had Jerry Whitehead as a consultant for one week as well (in early October 2008) in our six store pawn operation in Sacramento, California and we have only good things to say. We are very impressed by Jerry’s professional manner and many insights. Jerry has natural ability to put people at ease even when he is collecting data and you never feel as though you are being interrogated, summed up or criticized.
There is no question that Jerry is an expert in the pawn industry and its many facets and has the ability to assist and advise your company on any number of concerns. His opinion is to be valued and appreciated, and not only his opinion and many insights but his concern and thoughtfulness to the needs and success of the company, its owners and its employees.
Jerry is thorough in his approach, as well as in the delivery of his advice for the advancement of your company. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship and friendship with Jerry as we continue to grow our company. We have every confidence that Jerry’s advice is a valued asset to our company today and into the future.
Thanks Jerry – Stan Lucowicz, Jr.
Capital City Pawn – Sacramento (6) stores
Stan Lucowicz, Jr.
We own 2 pawnshops located 11 miles apart. We opened our first store in 1978 while the other was opened in 1989. It seems I hit a brick wall with growth several years ago as our stores have struggled with cash flow in a major way. While desperately looking for suggestions in January 2007 I turned to my roots of Pawnbroking. I remembered several years ago being on the forum, learning volumes from pawnbrokers, and thinking outside the box. When I signed up for the forum in early 2007 I noticed several brilliant emails from a fellow named Jerry Whitehead. Our stores hummed along the first 3 months while we were riding high on the cash flow of “early income tax refund checks” from our pawners. After the cash ran out we hit the cash flow brick-wall.
Struggling for answers, I emailed Jerry whereas he offered some suggestions that helped immediately. I arranged to attend the National Convention (I had skipped about the last 6 or 7 because we had been in business since 78, I had a BS in Business Management, and thought I knew everything about pawnbroking)
Jerry agreed to visit our small towns and shops and stay for the week. I’ll never forget the anxiety and excitement I felt when I picked him up from the airport. His consultant work can be compared to a visit to the principal’s and a religious-experience. Not only did Jerry completely turn our business around in 1 short week, he energized our staff, improved my attitude, helped cure my burnout for the stores, and gave me a renewed sense of pride in being a pawnbroker. My main point is the NPA needs small town pawnbrokers like KK’s Loans, Music, and Jewelry as much as they need friends and consultants like Jerry Whitehead. The forum has proved invaluable to us as a business tool.
Next, I do not agree with every forum article I read nor does every article apply to us. However, Will I continue to attend the National Conventions, read the forum, and learn all I can about Pawnbroking-ABSOLUTELY!
In closing, a big thank-you to the NPA for the forum, Jerry Whitehead for helping our business grow again, and all of you pawnbrokers with years of experience and knowledge that share your wisdom on the forum.
Ken Huddleston – President
KK’s Loans, Music, & Jewelry, Inc.
809 Hillsboro Blvd
Manchester, TN 37355
Early in (2007) we contacted Mr. Whitehead to consult with our family on our operations both here and abroad. Our family runs a multi-unit chain of stores in excess of 40 units in several countries and has been at it for more than 45 years.
Jerry has proven to be beyond immeasurable in our overall understanding of our operations and improving their overall profitability substantially. Just in the 3 stores we have in Miami that have been operating for close to 20 years, Jerry increased our overall annual net-revenues by more than 60% in 2007 which far exceeded our prior 5 year averages and they continue to grow to this day.
His expertise in our multi unit pawn chain of 40+ stores based in Colombia and Costa Rica that has been operational for more than 40 years has been outstanding. Our loan and inventory yields in all those markets have increased by more than 20% across the board consistently over the past several years with his continued guidance and supervision.
Our business faces many challenges on many fronts and Jerry has been an immense addition to our numerous challenges both here and abroad and he has been there for us more times than once!
His expertise, professionalism and skills have not only proven themselves to us, we contract Jerry on a routine basis to continue to guide and measure our performance. Your investment in your business and Jerry will PROVE to be a wonderful benefit!
We no longer refer to him as a consultant, Jerry is family and is appreciated very much for his sincere and caring attitude not only for his clients, but for his friends, family and the industry as well.
Please feel free to contact me at anytime at the number above and I would love to speak to you about Jerry Whitehead!”
Operations Director – Jimenez Group
The Jimenez Group (Colombia &Costa Rica)
Daddy’s Cash / Quick Cash of Miami
3033 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33137
Speaking of Jerry Whitehead ………………….. …………………1 called Jerry earlier this year and asked if he would be willing to come to the Texas Association of Pawnbrokers convention and do a seminar. Not only did he agree to come but actually did TWO seminars on HR issues and breaking down the numbers to better analyze our business’s and increase our yields.
When I asked Jerry what the cost of having him come in was, he responded………………………just get me a room and get me some food!
This to me is a testament to the type of person Jerry is, to be willing to travel to Texas and give of himself, unselfishly to help other pawnbrokers better their business and their staff and increase profits at basically his own expense.
Need more be said, yes ….. Thanks Jerry!
Insta-Cash Pawn (12) Stores – East Texas
We just had Jerry Whitehead out last month (September 2008) as a pawn consultant at the advice of many NPA forum members. He spent a week here surveying our operations from top to bottom. Among many things, he analyzed our financials and opened our eyes up to a number of ways in which we could increase our bottom line, and he gave us a great metric for measuring our profit margin in the future.
He did a lot of role playing with our team members to help improve their customer service and sales skills. At the end of the week, he gave an inspirational presentation to our entire crew, summing up many of his finding about our organization and about the business, and he gave them a reason to be proud of the profession they are in. In all, we are glad we had him out and felt it was well worth the money.
Thank you Jerry!
Mack and Kim Hembree
Owners, Gems N’ Loans (3) Stores
Mack and Kim Hembree
When we first decided to venture into the Pawn Shop business in late 2008, we looked for a consultant who could assist us in evaluating the business. After many calls to people in the industry, one name kept coming up as the leading expert in the field, Jerry Whitehead. We called Jerry and laid out our plan to open a store on a small remote island that did not presently have a Pawn Shop. Instead of simply saying great and taking our fee, he asked many thoughtful questions about why we thought the business would be successful and agreed to help us analyze the market before we dove in. In addition, he came down personally to the island to assess the market and help us determine the best way to move forward with a limited budget.
To sum up the results, with Jerry’s help and contact base, we were able to get the shop open in less than 90 days. We were “PROFITABLE” the first month of operations, grew our loan book to over $300K in the first quarter and established our reputation with the local community and law enforcement agencies as a “no nonsense” operator who does it the right way. Without Jerry’s help, there is no way we could have achieved the profitability, community acceptance and favorable local press as a newbie to this industry.
In the months following our opening, Jerry has provided consistent support by guiding us with subsequent training support materials to insure we stay on the right path to maximize our business. He has always taken the initiative to stay in touch and frequently helped us navigate through the nuances encountered when doing business in a foreign land without the normal resources available to other operations. He has never taken the opportunity to extract additional fees from our fledgling operation so I consider him more a partner than a consultant.
With Jerry’s help, we will be opening our second store early in 2010 and we could not be more enthusiastic about the future of our business during these turbulent economic times. We could not be more satisfied with Jerry.
Dave Clark & Chad McGhee
Turquoise Point Plaza
Turks and Caicos Islands
Dave Clark & Chad McGhee
We have used Pawnshop Consulting Group many times over the years for special projects needing a high level of specialized expertise in the pawn industry. Most recently, they were instrumental during the acquisition phase of a multi-store operation including the initial evaluation, audit of assets and technical expertise regarding regulatory issues to get the transaction done. The professionalism, integrity and knowledge of Pawnshop Consulting Group makes them our only choice.
Kevin Prochaska MBA/CPA
CEO – Lombard Financial Services, L.P.
DBA Insta Cash Pawn Shops of Texas
Director & Treasurer 2009 – National Pawnbrokers Association
1200 E Marshall Ave
Longview, TX 75601
The praising of Jerry Whitehead may become old to some but I have to add my two cents now that he has consulted our company.
I have been in the pawn business for over 16 years. I have basically self taught myself the business. It may not have been the correct way but was what I thought was for the best. I had gotten to a point of total burnout and had no motivation to continue in the business. I had no clear goals or expectations for our company. I never thought I needed help and figured no one would be willing to help others like I now see they do. I set my stubbornness and narrow sightedness aside and finally joined the National Pawnbrokers Association in March of 2008. I dove into the member’s forum and learned more than I thought was possible from everyone’s ideas and arguments. One thing I kept noticing was all the praise Jerry was getting and decided it was my turn to get a little advice. I emailed Jerry and found out all the details of what I needed to do to get him here. I found out he was booked for quite a few months out. I now know this is due to how really good he is at what he does.
Jerry came the first week of February and we started right away going over our business from top to bottom. First thing we did was do some dark shopping at all of our locations. To say the least, I was embarrassed at the results. It is amazing what you will learn about your team members that you would have never thought possible. We moved on to a questionnaire Jerry had me fill out that gives him an idea about the way we run our business. He started tweaking the way the business was going to transform into right away. Jerry spent more hours going over every aspect of our company than I ever thought he would. I remember thinking over and over I am DEFINATELY getting my money worth here. The next few days Jerry worked with all team members and observed our daily routines and procedures. Next to the last day, he brought all the team members together for a meeting. The meeting was not only informative but very motivational. The last day Jerry spent with us was going over everything he had learned from observing our business and the direction we could be heading if we put into action the different things he taught us throughout the week. He left me with the ability to plan, organize, and execute goals. He left our team members with such a better understanding of many of the aspects of the business which previously I was afraid to disclose with them. Jerry showed me how not disclosing some aspects of the business was actually hindering the growth of our business.
It has been two months since Jerry has been gone. Results: February was our company’s largest sales month in 16 years. March was our biggest sales month for the month of March and the biggest loan month for March we have ever seen. Most importantly, I feel motivated, focused, and ready to go at least another 16 years.
Is Jerry still available to help me? You bet. He is there when needed. He has shown me that he is willing to go above and beyond.
We are about 40% of the way into getting all the tools into action that Jerry has brought to our company. I can only imagine what will happen once I get everything he taught us going.
I just want to give Jerry a big West Texas THANK YOU for all you have done for our company. Thanks again for helping me get my desire back. It would be an honor to see you come again and take us to the next level.
If anyone would like to have any more information about Jerry Whitehead’s consulting, please feel free to contact me. If not, I will see you at the NPA convention in July. I will be one of the ones sitting on the front row of Jerry’s seminar. I guarantee you this will be one of the seminars you will not want to miss.”
Chris K. Cartwright
Wild Bill’s Pawn Shops
Chris K. Cartwright
I just wanted to pass on some information to you all. This is my first time on the forum. Many of us have had the opportunity to learn a thing or two from Jerry Whitehead. He is a contributor to the NPA in too many ways to list here.
We were very fortunate to have Jerry spend a week with us. He visited our six stores, spoke to our employees and completed a thorough evaluation of our operation. He wrapped up the week with a meeting that included our employees. He spent time explaining his background and gave an informative class on how to meet, greet, qualify and take care of a customer. He gave us information that is going to make a significant difference in our business.
He provided a very extensive written overview of our operation that will help improve our company now and in the future. We are looking forward to having Jerry back in a few months for a follow up. If any of you are looking for a way to improve your business may I suggest you call Jerry with any question you may have. I guarantee that he will be of great help and ready to listen.
Sincerely – Tom Howard
Director of Operations
Worldwide Jewelry and Pawn
1072 Lincoln Way
East South Bend, IN 46601
All of you have benefited from Jerry Whitehead’s information that he posts regularly to National Pawnbrokers Association forum. In addition to these posts, I have sat through several of Jerry Whitehead’s seminars at the pawn conventions over the years. His experience and knowledge of the pawn business impressed me so much that I hired him to consult with my stores. Jerry spent a week pouring over the details of my operation on his initial visit back in 2007.
He offered many suggestions that have already more than paid for his fee. He gave my store managers a personalized seminar based on our operation. This blew me away. It was the best seminar that I have ever attended. I highly endorse Jerry and implore any of you wishing to grow your business to invest in a week consulting with Jerry. You will not be disappointed. Feel free to email me directly if you wish any further information.
I have since contracted Jerry several more times over the past couple of years. I am happy to report that with his guidance and following many of the operational protocols he designed for us, Net Revenue in my core existing stores has increased by more than 70% over the past 2 years. This is in stores that in most cases have been operational 15 years +. The results have been outstanding, our existing loan balances in the core stores is also up collectively over 100% between 2007 and 2008. The results and profitability increases have been enormous.
My investment in my business and Mr. Whitehead has proven themselves over and over again, and our business model continues to grow with Jerry’s continued consulting role with our organization.
Thank you Jerry – Bob Moulton – President
National Pawn & Jewelry of NC
Director – National Pawnbrokers Association
2334 Guess Rd
Durham, NC 27705
Just because the sun is shining and I’m in the mood, I wanted to take a moment and ad my a—kissing…I mean 3 cents worth, to the rest in regard to Mr. Whitehead. JW has been sharing info with this forum for quite a while and many of his suggestions have made money for many of us on here. I’d like to share another story about JW and pray his hat doesn’t get any bigger.
Several months ago a mutual friend, who is wheelchair bound and no longer able to work his shop, called me saying his manager of 7 years was being forced to leave due to family reasons, and asked if I could lend him a hand until a new manager was found.
Walking into his shop I discovered that during the preceding months the manager hadn’t been doing the job and the place was a complete mess. Little decent inventory for sale, mis-priced goods, loans walking out the door, just about every possible headache short of employee theft. I reported this to the owner who said to just fill the hole and let the new person deal with it. Since it was already mid May and no experienced manager was forthcoming, I called JW for some assistance. I was only able to stay in the shop for a week, but convinced the owner to pay JW’s fees to bring him in for a spell to help me turn the place around and train whomever we found to be Manager.
When Jerry first quoted his fees I dropped my dentures and the owner about had a heart attack. Not having many options, the owner finally bit the bullet and allowed me to bring JW on board. This turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to this store.
Years ago this was the #1 store in the area, with quite a jewelry, tool & music business. For one reason or another the performance had dropped off bit by bit for some time, although the owner never mentioned it. By the time JW showed up, I was able to locate a potential manager, and both he & Jerry arrived on the same day. By that time I only had one day left in the shop. Jerry said to never mind and go as he would take over from there, which is what he did.
When I came back for an inspection a month later, I found an entirely different store. JW had hired the new guy on a trial basis, the shop had been spit shined, new merchandise was everywhere, the loan balance had already increased substantially, the owner was crapping his pants for all the money JW was spending, and the new manager absolutely hated Jer (always a good sign). When I asked why he was spending so much on inventory and didn’t he think he should old back until we re-built the loan book, he smiled and said he would have, but he needed the goods to make sales (3/4 of the stuff he’d ordered had already sold at 2.5 key). Once we showed the new guy that JW wasn’t “spending”, but “investing”, and that the owner wasn’t going to fire him for using up his bankroll, he calmed down and began paying attention. Even after JW left, he continued to call and baby sit the new guy, even though he was off the clock.
By the end of his 90 day trial, the manager was kept on, the loan book had doubled (without a change in defaults), sales had increased significantly, and customers were commenting on how nice the shop looked and how pleased they were to see it look like old times.
I should mention that even though they didn’t know it, “old times” was back when Jerry’s brother Bobby ran the place. Their daddy turned out a couple of truly professional pawn brokers in those boys.
I just wanted to share this with y’all. If any of you out there are thinking there might be a hole or 2 in your business plan, or that you’d like to increase your business and not sure how to go about it, and may be scared off by what seems a high price to pay for his services, I can only tell you that whatever he charges you will come back multiplied when he gets done. Of course, he may fire you while he’s there, and you may lose a few employees, but by the time he leaves you will be pleased. Heck, if he could get that kind of money out of a couple of cheapskate guys like the owner and I, and make us want to pay more to keep him on even longer, well, he can put a smile on anyone’s face.
Cash Loan, Inc.
104 Grand Ave
South San Francisco, CA 94080
As a software provider to our industry, we sometimes have the privilege of recommending other excellent vendors to potential clients/buyers. I would encourage all members to develop strategic referrals with people that you are confident that they will provide exceptional service. This referral may be another pawnshop, an insurance agent, a jeweler or a printer. Depending on the situation, software may be the “first” decision after licensing and store selection or a decision that takes many years. I wanted to take a moment to discuss a particular vendor and how good he will make you look if you refer his services.
Most recently, I had the pleasure of recommending Jerry Whitehead from Pawnshop Consulting Group to an existing customer who had only amazing things to say about his knowledge, follow-up, professional advice and results. Plain and simple, Jerry will make you look good. His selflessness leadership and the level of information he provides and shares is simply amazing.
Our Association and Membership benefits with every response he sends on the Forum. If you are looking to improve your business and don’t know quite how to do it, please consider calling Jerry Whitehead about your own business or recommend him to someone that could utilize his services and make their business more profitable.
As my client stated: “He assisted us on all facets of our business… Improving the store look and feel, staff training, future vision, an exit strategy, my internal systems and many other aspects of my business improved as a direct result of his guidance”.
When Jerry is onsite, he made me feel like I could open another 10 stores with the systems that he implements and puts into place. Quite simply, if I could hire him permanently, I would, but he said no.
Jerry- Thanks for doing what you do great job and thanks for making all of us look good and helping us to be better business people.
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
CompuPawn Software-Vertical Computer Systems, Inc.
NPA Board of Directors
NPA Communications Chair
FPA Board of Directors
If you think this advice is good, you should have Jerry to your store. He just came up to Rhode Island at the beginning of Nov of 2009 for a week long stay and his recommendations are already paying off. He really knows how to crunch the numbers and knows where to recommend improvements to make more money. In just 1 month we have already increased our loan yields by 50% which will in turn make us a lot more money over the years. We haven’t even implemented all if his ideas yet, but he has opened our eyes to plenty of other ways to make money in this business. If you haven’t had Jerry out to do an analysis of your business, DO IT. It is well worth the investment and will pay for itself in no time at all.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Fastcash Pawn & Checkcashers, Inc