OCEANSIDE — The words “pawn shop” in the application prompted City Council members to thoroughly discuss the request for Coast Jewelry and More to open business downtown, prior to a 4-1 approval, in which Councilman Jack Feller voted no.
There were numerous concerns with the type of business operation. City staff recommended the request be denied, due to police safety concerns that statistics show higher crime rates for local pawn businesses.
Citizens also expressed concern. “I’m still struggling to believe a pawn shop is going to enhance the quality of life in Oceanside,” Jerry Rhoads, a downtown resident, said.
“There are a lot of criminal elements associated with pawn shops,” Georgeo Kerpani, an Oceanside resident, said. “I can’t say it holds true with all pawn shops, but that’s not what I would like tourists to see.”
A closer look at the business that sells and pawns jewelry proved it had high standards and a good reputation. “This is not just a pawn shop,” Tom Missett, a business consultant, said. “These applicants are outstanding and intend to be a big part of the community.”
Others mentioned there is currently a raised perception of pawn shops, which are a heavily regulated industry.
Business owner David Mueller will make a sizeable investment to upgrade the building the business will occupy on Coast Highway 101. “Visually this is much more acceptable than what’s there now,” Councilman Chuck Lowery said. “It can provide incentive for other businesses to come in and see what they can do.”
“I got to meet the owner of the building and was impressed,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said. “They made this investment in Oceanside and made a commitment to this community.”
The final OK came with conditions that include that 50 percent of sales be retail, hours of operation be limited, and the permit be looked at for renewal in a year.