GARDEN CITY (WWJ) – Doing your holiday shopping at the pawn shop?  WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports that’s not so odd anymore.

Tom Blaine owns the Garden City Exchange and says his business though October is already up 49 percent over December of last year.  The bad economy means he’s getting people selling new and high-end electronics like iPads and he says the popularity of reality shows mean people aren’t as embarrassed to shop there.

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(WWJ Photo/Sandra McNeil)

“Sometimes I’m sure they are.  They might want to try and make it look as new as possible,” said Blaine. “But, you know, times are tough. People don’t mind as much.  They’re looking for a deal more than anything.”

Shopper Jason Miller has no problem buying gifts there.

“Yeah, it’s a good place to shop. You know, you get a good deal on everything,” he said. “My daughter plays video games and everything for like the (Nintendo) Wii. So, if I found some good deals on Wii games I’d come up here and pick ’em up.”

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Brian Lesher says it’s better than the mall.

“They’re selling, you know, mass-produced stuff. You know, where you can find more unique stuff here at pawn shops,” said Lesher.

Lesher said he once bought a girlfriend a diamond ring at the pawn shop. And, no, he didn’t tell her where it came from.

“It’s the thought that counts, right? If it looks good, I mean, you shouldn’t ask questions like that,” he added, with a laugh.

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Blaine said he does provide brand new boxes with jewelry purchases.