Sixteen minutes after midnight, sore loser Chuck Brennan posted this happy New Year’s message on his Badlands Pawn website:
Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry was not your typical pawnshop… [“Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry Will Cease All Pawn Operations on January 1st,” badlandspawn.com, 2017.01.01].
Was. Yup, past tense. South Dakota’s most visible, vain, and vile payday lender is closing his cruder version of Wall Drug.
As usual with payday lenders, Chuck Brennan can’t even start with a completely honest sense. In one way, his closed pawn shop is quite typical, apparently not able to rise to its owner’s financial needs or aspirations in an industry declining as gold prices and unemployment fall. (Hang in there, meathead: when Donald Trump crashes the economy, pawn shops will boom again!)
Typical also is Brennan’s ungraciousness. He leaves calling the 76% of voters who supported the 36% rate cap on payday loans uninformed:
“Of course I’m let down that the initiative passed, but in many ways I think the voters were duped,” he says [Chuck Brennan, quoted in Stu Whitney, “Farewell to Badlands Pawn,” reprinted on badlandspawn.com, 2017.01.01].
…and calling sponsors of that 36% rate cap names:
But the Dollar Loan Center founder calls Hickey and Hildebrand “false prophets” and “consumer do-gooder wannabes” for their role in pushing the initiative….
“I have way more ill will against Hickey and Hildebrand than voters who stood at the voting booth not totally understanding the language of what was taking place,” says Brennan. “They thought they were protecting people, but what about people who still need money for unexpected car repairs or their power bill or rent or mortgage? Are those guys going to lend it to them? [Whitney, 2017.01.01]
Brennan tells Whitney that the 36% rate cap killed the “product that helped finance our endeavors” and that he thus had to make “hard choices”. Brennan’s choosing to keep his gun range and radio station open, but he’s bailing on those as well:
Although the Gun Range and Radio Station will remain open and NOT be shut down, we will be seeking new ownership for those businesses along with Badlands Motor Speedway in the near future.
The entire 60,000 Square Foot Badlands Pawn Building and all of the land that it is on will also be going on the market shortly [badlandspawn.com, 2017.01.01].
Buyers beware: Brennan is telling you that you need a side business to help finance the operations he’s giving up. That’s not exactly an enticing invitation to invest in any of his follies as stand-alone enterprises. And that’s not exactly the voters’ fault. The business non-viability of everything Brennan did in Sioux Falls outside the payday loan business is exactly not the voters’ fault.
But hey: Chuck Brennan is completely liquidating his South Dakota business assets and leaving our economic and cultural scene. 2017 is looking better than 2916 already. Happy New Year!
Hangover Math: Whitney reports Brennan “still has 75 stores with about 500 staff members in Nevada, California, and Utah.” That’s under seven employees per store. Brennan had eleven payday loan stores in South Dakota. That staff ratio would put maybe 75 payday loan jobs here. The pawn shop adds, what, maybe another 25? Brennan’s tantrum is costing Sioux Falls maybe 100 jobs. The South Dakota Department of Labor lists 2,700 jobs available in Sioux Falls, 470 in Aberdeen, 369 in Brookings, and 127 in Madison.
The State of South Dakota lists 108 open positions in state government alone. Working for Dennis Daugaard has got to be better than working for Chuck Brennan.