Robbie Whitten went on a road trip at the age of 18 with his father in 1979 setting up booths and buying unwanted gold and silver jewelry to sell to a smelter. A year later the market collapsed and the Whittens had a warehouse full of jewelry so they decided to go into the pawn shop business. Robbie Whitten now has seven Money Mizer franchise locations and plans on opening five more this year, and eight to ten more per year after that. Whitten says he works hard to fight the negative image of pawn shops by creating a retail-like shopping experience. He also says he’s seen an increase of business on the white collar side. Upscale pawn customers can get loans from him they can’t get from a bank. People whose income has dropped drastically have “nice tangible assets” they can bring to a pawn shop. He’s also doing sales. Recently he sold a flawless 2-carat diamond to a lawyer who had it mounted for an engagement ring.