‘Hardcore Pawn’ star to visit Hollywood Casino ToledoWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Seth Gold still isn’t used to fame. And it seems he likes it that way.
It’s clear from talking to him that Gold — one of the stars of the top-rated TruTV series “Hardcore Pawn” — is genuinely tickled by the fame that has suddenly been thrust upon him. But at his core, he doesn’t think of himself as a celebrity.
“It’s surreal. It’s tough for me to even put into words,” Gold said of his newfound notoriety. “Essentially, I call myself a pawnbroker, first and foremost. And when people come around and wanna take pictures, and when I do these events, a lot of people show up, you know, obviously, they find some sort of connection with our show, with the people involved. And it’s a fun, unique, crazy experience.”
His next event will be in Toledo — Gold will be making an appearance at Hollywood Casino Toledo on Aug. 4 from 2-4 p.m. This is just the latest stop on a particularly unique path to fame for the young pawnbroker, who originally had a much different career in mind.
Gold attended the University of Michigan with an eye on eventually getting into medicine.
“I sort of changed pace my senior year. I said, ‘Well, I really don’t love what I’m doing right now, and I’ve got a lot more schooling in order to complete this degree. So, I think I’m gonna go in the family business,” he said.
The family business was American Jewelry and Loan, a large pawnshop in Detroit owned and operated by his father Les, who’s also a main figure on “Hardcore Pawn.”
“The funny part was, I didn’t even call my dad to tell him I was coming in the business because I stayed away from it for a very, very long time. And I called my mom, and I went, ‘You know, I wanna get into the business.’ And her response was, ‘What business?’ And I went, ‘The family business!’ It kind of caught everybody off guard.”
He has worked full time at American Jewelry for the past seven years, becoming his father’s business partner in the process.
When Gold speaks of misconceptions people have about the pawn business, it’s clear the younger Gold has inherited a great deal of his father’s passion for his work.
“There’s 25 million people around the United States without bank accounts. Where are those people supposed to go, you know, to get money? And a lot of people are like, well, easy, just ask a family member. Just go to the bank. Well, that’s not an option for a lot of people,” Gold said.
That’s a facet of pawn shops that Gold is clearly proud to highlight on “Hardcore.” Other shows in the genre tend to focus on pie-in-the-sky sales of big ticket items, which is actually a fairly small percentage of an average pawn shop’s transactions.
“I’m in the business of loaning money and getting interest. I’m not in the business of buying low and selling high, because ultimately, the more I loan, the more interest I accumulate,” Gold said. “So a lot of people don’t understand that there’s an actual business formula behind the method. Because once someone loses their merchandise — they’re not a customer of mine anymore.”
Nowadays, thanks to the success of “Hardcore,” business is booming. The TV process began with a phone call a few years ago.
“I got a call from a producer saying, ‘Hey, you have a unique business, I think we should film it.’ And my first reaction was, ‘Absolutely not,’ and I hung up the phone. I’m not kidding,” Gold said with a laugh. “And I was like, ‘Well, you know, I don’t really run the company, I’m not the president of the company, maybe I should talk to Les about it.’ So, I went in his office, and he’s like, ‘Absolutely, we’re doing it.’
“And I said, ‘You know Dad, I really don’t know about this whole reality TV thing.’ And he’s like, ‘Seth, how big can it possibly get?’”
How big has it gotten so far? It’s become one of TruTV’s highest rated shows: six seasons, 94 episodes and more on the way. A spinoff — “Combat Pawn” — debuted earlier this year. And now he’s booking personal appearances at casinos and the like.
Still, at the end of the day Gold said he keeps his focus on American Jewelry and Loan — a place he has put his heart into, and which he trusts will still be going strong long after the television show is a thing of the past.
“The show’s great, it’s a great experience, but I know there’s gonna be an end date at some point. And I need to keep my business going beyond that.”