May 12, 2014 By Michael Florio
David Yak has cobbled together a unique blend of businesses–a pawnshop, an internet café and a dry cleaning service–all within his 1,100 square foot store.
The store, called Express Pawn, is located at 30-22 Steinway Street, and opened roughly six months ago. Yak opened the store based on has experience in the pawn business, managing a shop in New Jersey and one in Manhattan.
He said Astoria is a great place for business since it is a vibrant neighborhood. “It is almost like the city [Manhattan]… this place never sleeps,” Yak said. “There are always people hanging out.”
Yak said his pawnshop is doing well although he is working on building his inventory—particularly his jewelry supplies.
However, the pawn shop, which is his primary business, only occupies about 1/3 of the store space—so Yak has other businesses housed in that location too.
He opened an internet café, named Express Internet Café, around the same time as the pawn store and he rents out computers. Yak said he believes there is a market for his café since people enjoy playing computer games. He is in the process of adding pre-made sandwiches, candy and chips.
Last month, Yak added a dry cleaning service to his store, called Express French Cleaner. He said he decided to start that business since a relative suggested doing so. He said he provides customers with same-day or next-day service as well as tailoring.
“We are a one stop shop,” said Yak. “Customers can come in drop off their clothes, maybe use the computer or sell an item and have something to eat or drink.”
“We want to provide people items to munch on while they are on the computer or drinking their coffee,” said Yak.
The store is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week.