Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner – Part 5: Roath’s Pawn Shop
In this installment of the continuing series about the community in City Central, get to know Ken Roath, whose family has owned Roath’s Pawn Shop at historic Whalley’s Corner for half a century. Roath’s is known in the community as the place to go for friendly, honest and fair service. Meet Ken, owner and CEO of Roath’s Pawn Shop.
The excitement is growing at Roath’s Pawn Shop — because on Friday, August 25, 2017, the family-owned business will celebrate their 50th anniversary!
Ken Roath, owner and CEO, remembers growing up in the community, “This area was our playground — from Whalley’s Corner to where city hall now stands — that was where the neighbourhood kids romped about every day.” He reminisces, “I remember the Hollands, the couple who donated the land that is now Holland Park — they lived next door to me. I have seen a lot of changes here.”
“My parents opened this shop in 1967 and it has been operating in this same location ever since.” Ken says, “I started working at the family business when I was sixteen years old — and I took over the business when I was 21, after my father passed away.” He continues, “25 years ago, I renovated the store — adding a second floor for more office space. And now, in a few days, we will be commemorating our 50th year.”
Ken’s son, Kyle, joined the team over ten years ago, making the store a third generational family operation. Kyle holds a Graduate Gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and is Registered Master Valuer Appraiser.
Ken’s approach to business is one of friendliness, honesty and credibility. The store is spotless, bright and welcoming with rows of glass cases showcasing shining jewellery pieces in gold, silver, platinum, diamonds and precious stones. Ken says, “Our staff are dedicated, knowledgeable and focused on customer service.” As well as Kyle’s expertise in jewellery appraisals, and gemology, Roath’s staff includes a master goldsmith/bench jeweller, a watch expert, and a guitar technician.
Ken is active in the industry, regularly attending trade shows and seminars — he is president of the BC Pawnshop Association. Asked about the longevity of his business, Ken says that Roath’s is more than a typical pawn shop. His clients, he explains, run the gamut of society — the majority are long-term repeat customers who return because they know Roath’s is an honest, and fair place that offers friendly and uncomplicated loans.
A place where they can have their jewellery appraised or repaired by experts — where they can find unique and first-class items for sale. “87% of our items are reclaimed,” Ken says, “Most of our customers come here when they are facing unexpected financial situations — they know that they will get a fast and fair loan from us. We listen and understand their predicaments — we want to help. I believe that is the reason, they come back.” He adds, “Knowing that Roath’s helps people when they most need it is a great feeling. All of us here try to be good listeners — we’ve all experienced tough times and we like to think that we are helping to ease people’s troubles.”
While Roath’s specialize in jewelry — gold, silver, platinum, diamonds and precious stones, they also accept electronics, musical instruments, tools and larger items such as power sports equipment. Roath’s also offer other services as well, such as jewellery appraisals for insurance purposes, custom jewellery design and jewellery and watch repair. Ken says, “I have seen a lot of change over the years in this area, and there are more changes coming, with all the new development happening in this neighbourhood.
This is the gateway to the city’s downtown core and the business owners here are committed to helping this area grow and thrive.” Congratulations, Roath’s Pawn Shop, Happy 50th Anniversary!