Anderson, a Marietta native who was a real estate agent prior to owning the pawn shop, bought County Line Pawn Shop from a friend and former business partner in 1986.
“It was started by a friend of mine who brought me in a few months later so he could have some time off,” Anderson said. “I had never been in a pawn shop in my life.”
Anderson said he decided to purchase the business after witnessing the pawn shop’s original owner interact with customers.
“He wouldn’t take care of customers the way I wanted customers taken care of,” he said. “He would take advantage of people and I couldn’t cope with that.”
Anderson emphasized customer service and said he always expected his employees to respect their customers.
As someone who did not have experience owning and operating a pawn shop before the purchase, Anderson had to learn quickly the best ways to operate the business.
His son, Wes Anderson, 45, began working at the pawn shoppart time in 1988 while he was a student at Kennesaw State University before leaving KSU to pursue a full-time position at the shop.
“It’s turned into a phenomenal, awesomely fantastic 25-year tenure to be able to be with my dad,” Wes Anderson said of his work at the shop. “I’ve worked with him pretty much my whole life and that’s been the best part.”
County Line Pawn Shop, on Canton Road near the county line between Cobb and Cherokee counties, sells a wide variety of items, ranging from gold jewelry to new and used power tools. Both Jim and Wes Anderson said knowing the values of the various items is the most difficult aspect of operating a pawn shop.
“One minute you’re pawning a chainsaw that you have to know what its worth and then you’re pawning a diamond ring that you have to know a good bit about and the next customer might bring you a gun,” Wes Anderson said.
clients have diversified as a result of popular television shows that clients have diversified as a result of popular television shows that feature pawn shops, such as The History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” which first aired in 2009.
“Mainstream America’s views of pawn shops have changed,” Wes Anderson said. “Pawn Stars has been great because it’s brought the soccer moms with their little kids in here just because the kids are interested in seeing something that they saw on the show.”
Although both of Wes Anderson’s children, Jake and Tatum Laine, have worked at the pawn shop with their father and grandfather, Wes said he has no plans for his children to operate the shop in the future.
“I hope to retire and let some other fortunate father and son take over the business,” Wes said.