For Brad Davis, one of three co-owners of Green River Pawn & Rentals in Calhoun, it’s all about making things convenient for those in McLean County.
Davis, 39, along with Steven and Eric Tomes, will be entering their third year at the pawnshop and have created a number of expansion opportunities such as setting up an auto retail store and selling automobiles on the property.
They are also in the process of opening a second location in Dawson Springs.
The main storefront of the business offers fishing, hunting, tool and rental equipment while having a collection of CDs, DVDs and sundries on the shelves that can appeal to a wide range of customers.
“I’ve had businesses in Owensboro before…and I always try to strive to make it a one-stop shop,” Davis said. “If you can avoid going to multiple places (and) if you can go to one person for all your needs, I mean, it’s much more convenient. I want to deal with one person rather than several people.
Although “pawn” is in the company’s name, Davis said it probably makes up about 20-25% of the store, but said he keeps it as part of the company for those who need it. ‘assistance.
“We are probably more of a middle to lower-middle class community; and often people might need a little help,” he said. “I have a lot of clients who are on fixed incomes…and during the month something happens and they come back and they have to pawn their iPad or computer or something to get them to the next check.
“I grew up on the other side of the tracks and have come full circle to being able to walk with all walks of life, if that makes sense.”
Davis and the Tomeses have since dove into a number of different ventures, such as opening a Town & Country auto repair shop just down the road from the store, F&F Paylakes – catfish lakes and a trophy lake that hold fishing competitions and even a real estate company B Home Realty.
But Davis said getting to this point has had its share of challenges.
During the first year the store was open, Davis, the Tomes and his fiancée and employee Hannah Harmon had to deal with uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID was happening just as we were opening,” Davis said. “…This store was nothing like what it is (now); it was basically like a garage sale. We’ve had a lot of real estate sales stuff (where) you buy a room or something and maybe you want a big item…but you have to take the whole room. So we had all this extra stuff….
Davis said they used the extra items basically as “start-up money” and said the business ended up doing well once people heard about the business, although Davis said the people assumed the store was a flea market.
“There were no garage sales, so they came here,” Davis said.
Davis then realized that there was a hole in the business world where there were no bait and tackle stores in the county and decided to add one to their own store, which he says “really got them through.”
“It really, really pushed us over the top and carried the pawnshop,” he said. “At the time, I was talking to other pawn shop owners, (who) were minimal to zero. The only reason they did that was because they were so established with the clientele. They said it was the worst they had seen in 30 years of business.
At this time, Davis began adding more components to the business based on his previous experiences and education.
Keeping in mind what he felt people needed in the county, they began offering large equipment such as tractors, combines and sprayers – which carried the business for months. winter when fishing was no longer in season.
“I knew I had to diversify to be successful, especially here,” Davis said. “So I had to offer whatever I could…to make a buck or we wouldn’t be here. We have truly been blessed. The Lord really blessed me and watched over me, because it was a difficult time.
Now, Davis is happy to say that all parts of their business model “stand on their own.”
“We are very lucky to be here,” Davis said. “It’s very difficult to be successful anywhere when starting a business.”
Davis is also branching out into a more seasonal entity with ParadICE, a shaved ice shop located directly east of the building in a converted shed offering over 30 flavors ranging from classic tastes like cherry and piña colada to more experimental tastes. like cheesecake and spearmint, alongside sugar-free options.
“We try to bring some big city stuff here,” Davis said.
He sees it as an opportunity to help local kids find jobs without having to drive to and from the Owensboro area where most of the opportunities are, which has been one of Davis’ main goals in all his businesses.
“(The business) is something that is good for the community (because it) provides jobs for people here who live in the (nearby) apartments who don’t have vehicles and can walk to work. “, did he declare. “How many options do you have in Calhoun if you’re not a farmer or want to work at the dollar store or gas station or Walgreens?” That is just about everything. We keep adding things for this community to try and grow this community. I want to see more opportunities for people here.
Even when times can be tough, Davis finds the motivation to push forward to set the bar high for her kids.
“Nobody wants to fail in anything they do,” Davis said. “With me, setting an example for my kids is the most important thing to me – making a path, showing my kids that, ‘Hey, you don’t have to have that college degree. You’re not don’t have to go to work 9 to 5. You can answer for yourself, but it takes a lot of hours and a lot of hard work. I never want my kids to say my dad didn’t give the best of himself and that he didn’t give it his all. I want them to see that you can be successful if you work hard and I want them to have a good life. That’s my number one determining factor.
Green River Pawn & Rentals is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Davis said applications are currently being accepted for ParadICE and plans to have two shifts per day.