Rick Harrison of ‘Pawn Stars’ Spoke to Students

David 3

Rick Harrison in his shop

By David StepanianRick Harrison from the popular TV show “Pawn Stars” from A&E Television Networks spoke at the College of Southern Nevada’s inaugural Elite Business Series, which helps students become future business leaders.

Harrison stood at the podium telling his story about finding success operating Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, his Las Vegas based business, which is no easy task. In order to compete with bigger pawn companies, such as SuperPawn and EZPAWN, Harrison had to find a way to differentiate his store.

“Walmart. Think Walmart,” Harrison said. Walmart oftentimes runs small shops out of business. He didn’t want that fate for his company so he came up with an intriguing policy.

“Ever since the early ‘90s we’ve had a policy of having at least one Picasso in the store at all times,” Harrison said. From there it began.

In no other pawn shop can someone find a battle axe used in the French Revolution or a silver dollar from the 1700s. It’s rare to find Super Bowl and World Series rings, priced from $3,000 to $100,000, but they are available at Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. Buyers better be fast if they want to buy something from their favorite episode, Harrison explained. “We usually sell stuff from the show within a day of the episode airing.”

After local news did a story on his shop in 2004, Harrison spent the next few years pitching his show about people selling antiques to his shop to various TV networks. Some networks didn’t like his concept.

“HBO picked us up but they thought it was too family friendly,” Harrison said. “It wasn’t gritty enough.”

“Pawn Stars” eventually landed on the History Channel in 2009 where it remains as the network’s most popular show, Harrison continued.

Harrison received a plaque commemorating him as the first speaker at CSN’s Elite Business Series, which he promised to keep. “This is one thing I can’t sell,” he joked as the packed house of students laughed.

CSN student Joe Redensek enjoyed the speech. “He’s a really funny guy, exactly the same as on the show.”

CSN student Barry Gomez agreed but wished the speech went a little differently. “It was interesting, but I thought he was going to talk more about business and how to become a millionaire.”

Harrison might have even picked up a new fan of the show. Bryan Velez admitted, “I never watched the show but I’ll check it out.”

Harrison thanked everyone for coming and shook hands with the organizers and CSN President Michael Richards.

Harrison honored with an award

Harrison honored with an award

%d bloggers like this: