Mays Pawnbrokers celebrates 190th anniversary as web offer flourishes

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Mays Pawnbrokers and Jewellers in Manchester is celebrating its 190th anniversary having successfully adapted to the digital era with a bricks-and-mortar and online offering. 

The company launched its first website under the name William May in 2014, focusing on vintage jewellery and pre-owned watches. Managing director Nick Withington (pictured) has been instrumental in turning the company’s attention to ecommerce.

He says: “It’s important that retailers move with the times, and migrating over to the internet has proven difficult for a lot of jewellery companies, but we’ve been pleased with how it’s gone for us.

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“There’ll always be a place for the bricks and mortar jewellery store, as people obviously want to see and feel more expensive items before they commit to a purchase. We’ve now got six stores across the region, but we’re also catering for the digital market. Selling our jewellery and watches online has opened up a more varied customer base for us.”

William May is the modern incarnation of Mays Pawnbrokers, and Withington has noticed a dramatic change in the way people view the pawnbroking industry in recent years. He claims perceptions have been altered thanks to popular TV shows such as Channel 4’s Posh Pawn and US series Hardcore Pawn, which have served to raise awareness of the industry.

He continues: “According to figures published by the National Pawnbrokers Association of the UK, just three per cent of people use a pawnbroker, but as many as 27 per cent said they’d entertain the idea once they’d been filled in on the facts.

“Meanwhile, some 95 per cent of pawnbroking customers say they are satisfied with the services offered by their pawnbroker, so you can argue that we’re seeing a paradigm shift in the public’s attitudes towards the industry. It’s generally viewed far more positively than in previous years as people become more informed.”

William May will continue to celebrate its 190th birthday throughout 2015, with special events being lined up for later in the year.



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