Public should decide which shops belong — Naperville Sun July 06, 2010

July 06, 2010
By Bill Mego, Columnist

Up and down the City Road, In and out the Eagle, That’s the way the money goes. Pop goes the weasel. Some people have written me, asking whether I think we should allow this kind of thing in Naperville.

The Eagle is a pub on City Road in London, officially on Shepherdess Walk, Hoxton. That’s obviously not the part of the children’s verse they’re questioning, because if there’s anything we have in this town, it’s bars. In fact, in summer, nothing says “Naperville” like loud drunks and un-muffled motorcycles.

And spending lots of money in bars is certainly not controversial. No, it’s that last line, what happens when he comes up a little short of money and the tailor, or hatter, pawns, or “pops,” his flat iron, or “weasel.” Yes, I know there are dozens of other interpretations of the verse involving Cockney rhyming slang, etc. Please don’t write me. I already know more of them than a man my age should.

There are, in fact, a few snooty towns that don’t allow pawn shops. So, essentially, the question I guess I was being asked was: Is an establishment that offers short-term loans collateralized by personal property less morally suitable for Naperville than blowing all your family’s money in bars? Gosh, that’s a tough one. So I thought I’d visit Naperville Jewelry and Loan, 635 E. Ogden, near the northwest corner of Columbia and Ogden, to see what a modern pawn shop is like.

I could have stayed in there all day. It’s a light and airy showroom, very unlike the pawn shops in old Sydney Greenstreet movies, filled with some incredible, fascinating stuff, like a six-string banjo, a pinball machine, iPods, a large DeWalt compressor, golf clubs, guitars, an arc welder, jewelry, a small suit of armor and just about anything you can imagine.

Of the two co-owners, Tom Brunzelle and Greg Holloway, only Tom was there that afternoon greeting customers, but I’m going back often enough that I’m sure I’ll meet them both. Most of their business is free appraisals, buying, and selling, although short-term loans are indeed available if that’s what you need. Their card says they also offer gold parties, whatever they are.

I’d like to think that we’re beyond the point where, in this sweet land of the free, we think we have the right to tell a person what kind of store he or she is allowed to open. That’s something that a free market society lets their customers decide. As long as entrepreneurs like Tom and Greg see Naperville as the kind of place in which they want to invest, our future is assured.