WICHITA — Country Pawn & Supply owner Mark Springs isn’t quitting the pawn shop business, but after 16 years, he’s shaking things up with two new businesses.
The current business, which is at 3842 S. West St. near I-235, is part pawn shop, part car lot and part gun dealership.
“And I’m also a pastor. I’ve actually performed nine weddings here at the counter,” Springs says.
He buys, sells and loans on most anything, but that’s about to change.
Springs is opening Country Sales & Supply and Mark Springs Machines where Country Pawn is now.
Country Sales will deal mainly with large-ticket items and accept pawns of only a minimum of $1,000.
Springs says most pawn shops do a minimum of $5 loans. He wants to do larger loans but not ones as large as a bank might make.
“We’re that kind of place in the middle.”
Another big change is Springs no longer will deal with guns.
“You have to have super-high security, and you have to deal with the federal government on guns,” he says. “It also gives the government — the ATF — access to your place of business.”
Also, when he sells a gun, Springs says he has to stay and do paperwork on the sale that day.
“I just don’t want to do that anymore,” he says.
Springs has been liquidating his firearms and has transitioned all guns that have been pawned to Charlie’s Gun & Pawn in Derby.
He’s also liquidating his smaller merchandise through eBay.
“We’ve been shipping all over the country.”
The two new businesses will be in his existing 5,000 square feet and in a vehicle shed on the property.
Springs says he wants to focus on vehicles in particular with his Mark Springs Machines. He says his interest in vehicles has always separated his business from other pawn shops.
“I mean, I have fire trucks.”
Springs plans to eventually add auctions and allow nonprofits to have events at his stores.
He’ll be closing for a week for church camp in August and then will reopen on Sept. 1 with the new businesses.
Even when he’s back at work, Springs says he won’t be as tied to it since he won’t have the firearms sales. He says that should free him to travel around the country buying and selling vehicles.
“I want the freedom to not be tied down to my place of business all the time.”