Members of the Greenfield Plan Commission unanimously agreed Tuesday to schedule a public hearing for comment on a big-box pawn shop retailer proposal.
Exchange Street, an emerging merchandise resale concept, is proposing to open a retail storefront at 4585 S. 76th St., formerly filled by both Circuit City and Ultimate Electronics, across the major thoroughfare from Best Buy. The business, if successful in its bid to open the store front in Greenfield, would buy and pawn durable goods such as electronics and jewelry.
The proposal concerns Greenfield Police Department officials. Brass voiced concern that the retailer may require the department to have another detective to handle theft cases in which thieves sell stolen items at the retailer.
"This is definitely an identifiable issue and concern for the police department," said Chief Francis Springob. "Don't ever think that this is not an issue and a problem. It is. It's not Greenfield and we are not an island. We're part of a major metropolitan area."
After commending company officials for their continued dialog with the department, Springob said that even if a stolen item came from another jurisdiction, the department would still be involved.
"It's still stolen property. It's still proceeds from a criminal act and we are ethically, professionally and bound by law to take action on that. So it does have an impact," he said.
Exchange Street representatives appeared in front of the Plan Commission requesting special use of the lot to open the retail business involving the sale and purchase of used merchandise in the vacant building.
"When I first saw the proposal, I was definitely against it," said commissioner Frederick Hess. "Since then, you have softened a few edges, but I would like a few more edges softened before I would be in favor of it."
Hess said one of the objections he has is the general idea of a pawn shop.
"I have an image of pawn shops in my younger days," Hess said. "I have been looking at the pictures and it kind of softened a few edges."
Exchange Street officials assured him and the commission that the retail store is well-kepted and is staffed with well-trained professionals, who go through an extensive background check before they are hired.
"We deal with the perception issue on a daily basis," said Chuck Armstrong, Community Affairs Director for Exchange Street. "The best way to change that perception is to walk into our front door."
This would be the sixth Exchange Street location in the state. The retailer does not deal in firearms nor operates a pay-day loan enterprise.