Expansion and merger of pawn and vaccum stores seven years in the making

It’s been a seven-year wait, but ground has finally broken on an expansion and merger of Pawn-a-mania and Energetic Vacuums.

Kalmar Construction crews are building the new 3,600 square foot storefront on 99 Avenue across from the North Peace Cultural Centre, tripling the size of the two businesses.

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“We’re just excited to be able to offer more,” said Alaina Gagne, who runs the vacuum shop while her husband Dominic runs the pawn shop.

“I can bring in more lines of vacuums, offer more supplies, (and) have everything more organized. It’s kind of cluttered.

“We’re always crammed, we have more items to sell, just nowhere to put them,” she said.

The pawn shop business has been in Dominic Gagne’s family since 1967 when it started out in Hudson’s Hope. The family moved the business to Fort St. John and operated beside the Condill Hotel through the 1980s before moving to its current location in 1990.

Dominic Gagne bought the business and gave it its current name in 1997 and has been running it ever since. The couple bought the vacuum store in 2009, eventually moving it from 100 Street to its current location next to the pawn shop.

The pawn business has remained relatively stable during the economic slowdown, Dominic Gagne said.

“With the economy slow, a lot more stuff comes in,” he said.

“The people that would normally spend $500 on a brand new TV and they want to save a few bucks, they’ll come in and buy a TV for $250.”

He has had to limit pawns to $100 and cut back prices, however.

“Say you pawned your laptop, you’re used to getting $100 for it, now you’ll get it $50 for it. So if you want $100, bring two laptops,” he said. “And then what I do, instead of selling say for $300, now I sell for $150.”

editor@ahnfsj.ca

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