Posted by Kim Leonard
I have never spent much time in pawn shops, which strikes me as silly since I love vintage anything, musical instruments, heirloom jewelry and quirky items that tell a story. Basically, a pawn shop is a thrift store, antique shop, music shop, jewelry store and boutique all in one. It appeals to the side of me that likes things that have history to them. Buying previously owned items creates less waste and really speaks to my inner hippie that demands a less disposable culture.
With all of those factors lined up, I should live at pawn shops. I should be passing through once a week and noting the new items and making mental notes; “Oh, that bracelet would look amazing on Amanda.” “Brittany NEEDS that Ukulele!”
This morning I took my break with one mission in mind- I wanted to pop into Majestic Jewelery and Loan to say “hi” to Leon Alchian, Jr., the manager of Fresno’s oldest pawn shop. He was in our office a few weeks ago and we had chatted about Facebook and Instagram and how to make both work to get the word out about businesses, so I wanted to follow up on the conversation, but really I was wanting to take a look around the shop.
Majestic opened in 1949 and has been owned by the Alchian family for over 60 years. They take great pride in being such a longstanding fixture of the downtown business landscape and it shows in their shop. Natural light from the big windows in front helps every opal ring cast its multi-colored light show and makes the abalone inlay in a guitar shimmer. The showroom itself is organized and bears great vintage rock ‘n roll concert posters along the walls and legendary rock albums in the cases.
I started out first by looking at the rings. Not sure which pop-culture reference to have on loop through my mind, I chose “one ring to rule them all” over “Single Ladies (put a ring on it)”. Diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds! Big honkin’ rocks or simple single stones, and no two the same.
I hovered over the birthstone display case a little longer than necessary- as a February baby I’ve never felt connected to my own amethyst, but I have a deep love for the opals of October and the blue topaz of December.
Then I checked out the musical instruments. As a new guitar student (I can play little bits of Sunshine of Your Love and Smoke on the Water with astonishing inaccuracy) I now have some street cred in the area, so I didn’t feel like a total fake taking my time admiring the instrument selection.
The prices ranged from $50-$500, there were lots of amps to choose from and there even was a wall of strings, reeds, picks and other miscellaneous music-y things for other instruments I can’t play. I made a mental note to keep checking back as I progress in my abilities as a guitarist- my future guitar that will get me my Grammy might be there!
Not gonna lie, I skimmed past the guns and knives, but I did hone in on a sign that said they require ID for all gun purchases. Majestic only deals in non-stolen goods and all of their transactions are closely monitored by law enforcement. Even though guns make me uncomfortable, I appreciate that they deal with them in a very responsible way.
But as I averted my eyes I found something that really excited me- vintage Nintendo games! There were also several consoles available, including a turquoise-blue wii with a matching wii-mote.
I’m really glad I took some time to cruise through Majestic Jewelry and Loan Co. this morning. They’re a great local business with a love for downtown Fresno and I’m definitely going to keep them in mind when I’m looking for unique treasures.
Great story about a really fascinating place.