Island pawn stars on Truman
By Jason Koler
Liquid 8 Pawn’s Rick Igo is a simple man with a simple business philosophy: everything is for sale. Everything – that is – except for the Short Sales expert, Theo Alexander.
“He’s for rent,” exclaims Igo.
The wild-haired, chain-smoking, Harley-riding salesman opened Liquid 8 Pawn in 2004 and has adopted a number of other store policies regarding the exchange of money and goods.
Pawn means you want a loan and are going to pay it back. If you fail to pay it back in 30 days, then you lose your item.
Packed into the 900 square feet of his Truman Ave store are a Playstation 3, Bose Acoustimass Sound System, Samurai Sword, Shoel racing helmets, a Trek mountain bike, Milwaukee sawzall, coins, and original works of art.
“That piece was still wet when they brought it in here,” Igo says, referring a $1500 watercolor marked down to $800. “I guess he needed to make rent.”
He has a number of “pawn brokers’ dream” items.
Like a baseball encased in an Acrylic cube with “Babe Ruth” scribbled across the leather.
“The guy that comes in from out of town and borrows a little bit of money, but never comes back,” Igo says and after repeated phone calls to return the ball to the owner go unanswered, the ball become the property of Liquid 8.
“I really tried to get that ball back to the guy,” he admits. “He said he wanted it for his kids.”
The ball holds an extremely high PSA rating and is priced at half a million bucks, but Igo says the piece has a bit of “tickle room.”
Everything is negotiable at Liquid Pawn, but as the sign says, “If it is worth so much, why don’t you just keep it?”
Igo runs his trading post the old fashioned way. With honesty and integrity. There is no question he is in business to make money, but the steady stream of capitalists contain an equal share of treasure-hunting tourists and resourceful, repeat customers/capitalists.
“We’ve become the biggest pawn broker south of Miami because we take care of people,” says Igo. “And we have fun doing it!”
This past Thursday, an underwater metal detector was placed on layaway with a $100 deposit. The new owner has four months to pay. There is no interest and no fees at Liquid 8.
Just past the store’s SCUBA department is the DJ section.
Everything an aspiring disc jockey could want or need has been pawned in Key West. From high-end mixers and fog machines to the fog juice, strobe lights, and speakers.
A brand new, shiny white Adidas jumpsuit is priced at $49.99. DJ Hero for the Playstation is only $69.99.
The license plate, Swinger 2, from Austin Power’s The Spy Who Shagged Me is priced at $1,799.
“I got so much (expletive deleted) it is busting at the seems,” Igo says.
CDs are $4 each or 4 for $12.
Pink Floyd’s iconic album The Wall is listed at $2,500. The cardboard is wrapped in plastic, the albums have never been touched, and the package features a back stage pass and a certified certification that the band’s signatures are real.
“That was another guy who was going to come back in a week,” said Igo.
There is also gold.
And scanners, laptops, binoculars, Shimano reels, and Callaway Warbird golf balls.
Another sign reads, “If you don’t see it – ask. We may have it in storage.
A deal for a television series featuring, Rick, Theo, and the Pawn’s treasures is in early stages of development. Igo said, “They came out, did some shooting and said, ‘We need some crazy people.’ I said, ‘We’re in Key West – what are you talking about?’” The show would feature zany antics, stun guns, strippers, a whicker motorcycle, little people, power tools, negotiation tactics, and other crazies from around Key West.
Liquid 8 Pawn is located at 1018 Truman Avenue. For more info, call 305-295-7757 or visit www.liquid8pawnshop.com to surf for specials.