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Best Pawnshop - 2011
Don Z Cash Pawnbroker
The pawnshop is the most maligned of all shopping institutions. It's the place where dreams (in the form of wedding bands) go to die and where lifelong cherished relics are traded for sweaty balls of cash that fund everything from next month's rent to this week's bail. But every so often, a shop like Don Z comes along that feels less like a money-hungry, grubby con artist and more like a smooth, slick-talking friend who dabbles in the art of brokering deals on interesting finds. Yeah, you might give him the side-eye and get a second opinion on the sly, but you trust that, at the very least, he won't mark up your sexy vintage camera something obscene after handing you the cash. And if you're a devotee of thrift-hunting, you might take a moment to sift through electronics, collectibles, and instruments, many sold outright to the store rather than as the result of default. The Don has been around for decades, and it shows — some patrons are so comfortable in the shop that they've made it a regular place to hang out and shoot the breeze. How many other pawnshops can claim the same?