Decades of work gives unique peek into Gladstone life
WHAT does an erotic French film collection and a set of grillz have in common?
They're just two of the stranger items to come through the doors of one of Gladstone's longest running pawn shops, SpeediCash.
The second-hand store is celebrating 21 years in Gladstone, with co-manager Wayne Pearce having held the reigns for 20.
Wayne said times had changed dramatically after he moved from the Rockhampton store.
"What's happened is the way we live has changed. Technology has changed and that's been the big driver," he said.
"Compared to the way we used to live 20 years ago, we are very much a minimising type whereas back then everything was big.
"It's all about reducing now and we found that even with things like collectables diminishing over the years.
"The new generation want a more de-cluttered lifestyle."
Technological changes have not only affected the business in terms of shop stock but also customer types.
The internet has been a big factor - more-informed customers are smarter shoppers.
The rise of online marketplaces such as eBay and Facebook have challenged the industry.
But Wayne said despite the new competition and rise of clued-up shoppers, the professionalism of his business would always bring customers back.
"What we had to do was we had to be better," he said.
"Without giving away our trade secrets, what we do is research the cheapest price we can find in Australia.
"That stands us in good stead but we've factored a lot of time into getting that right and it's paid off because that's the key area.
"We were doing this years ago before it was commonplace and we can out-Google somebody because we're so proficient at it."
Wayne said providing customers with a positive experience with product-strong information and guarantees was essential to ensuring repeat business.
With all the changes over the past 20 years the store continues to move from strength to strength, even stocking some brand new items.
Second-hand shops and pawnbroking has been thrust into popular culture over the past few years, with the rise of reality TV shows providing a sneak peek into the industry.
Wayne's co-manager Thia Nendick, who is celebrating 15 years with the store, said the business was once approached to submit a resume to appear on a show.
She said while the reality series have shone a light on the industry there's been no real measurable effect.
"I'd hesitate to say any publicity is good publicity but perhaps (for) the audience who weren't as familiar with the process, prime-time TV helps give them an idea," Thia said.