Brad Rixmann of Pawn America started with a tiny storefront in Robbinsdale in 1991, and has since grown his business into a national force in the industry. The company recently opened its 25th location and has plans to build more. “This year we should run right around $80 million in sales, and I believe at the end of the year we’ll end up right around 800 employees,” says Rixmann. The company has worked hard to upgrade the seedy image of pawn shops by creating an appealing and professional environment in its stores. Pawn America is also experimenting with separating retail from financial services by opening what they’re calling “PA Exchange” stores that showcase sales floor. Rixmann hopes to reach new communities through this branch. They most recently opened a store in a once-vacant car dealership in which they had to battle pawn shop zoning issues and show the business would be good for the community.