Shopping

Pawn Shop Perfection on Westminster

Reliable Pawn is a surprising blend of high-end and affordable shopping

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Okay, I know what you're thinking. You're writing about a pawn shop?

You better believe it.

The new and improved Reliable Jewelry & Loan provides an amazing shopping option for people looking to get a bit of bang for their buck. Unlike some other pawn shops that are dirty, dingy and intimidating, Reliable is clean and airy, with high ceilings and extremely friendly and helpful employees.

The family-run business, owned by Jon and Pamela Gizzarelli, has been serving the community since 1922. Before moving to its new location at 875 Westminster Street in July, Reliable had a storefront just a block or two down. The recent move was incited by their need to expand both in storage and display space. The space is huge.

You'll find electronics such as cell phones and laptops, tools, musical instruments, jewelry and more on the first floor. Every single item is negotiable in price.

Those itching to get into photography but are hesitant to do so due to the cost involved may want to think about purchasing a second-hand SLR camera. On a recent visit, there was a Canon EOS Rebel T3 with upgraded lenses available for $400 and an Olympus E-600 with a 150mm lens for just $350. Again, don't hesitate to haggle.

Seasoned or budding musicians can score instruments ranging from guitars to saxophones in a variety of price ranges. Reliable managed to get its hands on a rare yellow Gibson electric guitar, one of only 100 that were made in 1988. It sells for $1,500. On the lesser end, you can pick up electrics for as low as $70 and acoustics for as low as $120.

Despite all of the wonderful household and hobbyist items, Reliable does most of its business on jewelry, with engagement and wedding rings being the most popular sell. Diamond studs for as low as $100 a pair and diamond tennis bracelets are also available, making sweet anniversary or “just be-cause” gifts for a loved one. They also stock a variety of vintage pins, perfect for making a bridal brooch bouquet.

And then there are the watches. I had to talk myself out of picking up a fabulous black-on-black ceramic Versace for my hubby that was priced at $800… It wasn't easy but somehow I managed to pry myself away from the glass case. Next to it was a Tiffany watch in solid 18k gold; new it sells for $11,000 but at Reliable it was “just” $5,000. Worry not – layaway is available, which may be needed for those luxury items!

Upstairs is a collection of some of the most stunning antique furniture I've ever seen. Run by the lovely husband-wife team of Roger and Patti Benton – who have been in the furniture business for 40 years – it's the perfect place to furnish your newly acquired home or to purchase a piece or two to add character to a room.

The Bentons' true passion is wicker furniture. Roger has restored several pieces to such exquisite condition that they've been featured in trade and collector books. On my visit, there were many rare wicker items from the 1800s for sale as well as newer outdoor patio sets in neutral colors to complement any porch or deck.

As an antique aficionado and collector myself, I cursed the lack of space in my home upon setting my eyes on the most precious full size four poster bed frame with a cream-colored knit canopy. It would be perfect in a guest room or perhaps for an older child. It's pure fantasy, fit for a princess.

Speaking of royalty, I fell in love with an amazing throne-like chair, available for $1,200. The piece was custom made for a Floridian debutante in light cream wood and a plush seat and back with a blue and cream brocade fabric. It was the type of item that a designer would build an entire room around. It's a showpiece for sure.

In addition to furniture, the upstairs space stocks fine china, silverware, silver trays and platters – all that is needed to decorate your home in the most luxurious way possible. Delivery is available too so don't hesitate to purchase that giant solid red oak cabinet that's positioned against the back wall – it would make an ideal shoe wardrobe. You've been meaning to make over your closet, right? There's no better time than now.