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12/31/2013 2:00:00 PM
Damariscotta Shop Offers Eclectic Inventory
Maine-ly Pawn proprietor Mark Hoffman and his son, Ryan Hoffman, stand behind the counter of Maine-ly Pawn in Damariscotta Dec. 26. The new pawn shop offers a variety of secondhand items, from antiques and jewelry to furniture and stamps. (J.W. Oliver photo)
Maine-ly Pawn proprietor Mark Hoffman and his son, Ryan Hoffman, stand behind the counter of Maine-ly Pawn in Damariscotta Dec. 26. The new pawn shop offers a variety of secondhand items, from antiques and jewelry to furniture and stamps. (J.W. Oliver photo)
By J.W. Oliver


A new pawn shop in Damariscotta offers a variety of secondhand items, from antiques and jewelry to furniture and stamps.

Maine-ly Pawn, at 441 Main St., opened Dec. 21. Mark and Jennie Hoffman, of Newcastle, own and operate the business.

Mark Hoffman describes Maine-ly Pawn as "an upscale pawn shop" with affordable prices.

"The trick is to flip the stuff and sell the stuff right," Hoffman said. "You don't want to ask the long dollar for anything and sit on it. You want to sell in volume."

Hoffman has several sources for his inventory. He buys from walk-ins, makes house calls and bids on storage units and the occasional estate.

"I'll buy anything that I don't have to feed," Hoffman said. "As long as I can make something on it, I'll buy it and sell it."

"I buy gold and silver for scrap or for jewelry," Hoffman said. "I like coins, early bottles, early U.S. stamps. Stamps are definitely my forte."

The large basement of the building will contain both antique and modern secondhand furniture, as well as power tools.

"I think there's a need for good used furniture," Hoffman said. "Bookcases, tables, end tables, coffee tables, whatever; household furniture."

Hoffman will also buy other traditional pawn shop items, like electronics. The front room of the shop contains shelves of CDs and DVDs and, on a recent day, a set of high-end car speakers.

Maine-ly Pawn will not sell modern firearms, Hoffman said, although he wants to obtain a "curios and relics" license to sell antique firearms. "I love guns," Hoffman said, but the federal government's "red tape" makes it too difficult to sell modern firearms.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Hoffman was a diesel mechanic aboard the fleet tug U.S.S. Paiute from 1982 to 1985.

He moved to Maine in September 1985 and started work as a salesman at Wiscasset Ford, the beginning of a long career in the auto-sales business.

He started a new job as a salesman at O'Connor in 1989. He became the finance director for all O'Connor dealerships before leaving in June 2008.

Hoffman will draw on this background in sales and a lifetime as a collector as he establishes his new business.

"I've been collecting stamps, bottles and coins since I was 10 years old," he said. "I bought and sold antiques for years, and whatever else."

"I wanted a pawn shop for 30 years and it kind of came to fruition," he said of his decision to open the storefront. "Honestly, the stars and planets kind of aligned, which is really cool."

"I just want to have fun and pay my bills, because this is fun to me," Hoffman said. "This isn't even a job, because this is what I love to do. I love buying and selling."

He chose the 441 Main St. property for its location in a high-traffic area and its ample parking, he said.

"For 15 years, I have sold stuff on eBay out of my house," he said. "I'm now going to do a lot of it right here."

Hoffman's goal is to have 100 items for sale on the auction website at all times.

As of Dec. 29, he has 44 items for sale. The eBay items range from curiosities like antique duck decoys and a set of pins from the 1997 Disney movie "The Rescuers" to a gemstone and historic items like U.S. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins' copy of the 1944 Democratic National Convention program.

The business gives Hoffman an opportunity to pass on his knowledge to the next generation.

Mark and Jennie Hoffman's son, 12-year-old Ryan Hoffman, helps out at the shop and has a small room of his own. "He wants to sell skateboards and skateboard equipment and sports cards," Mark Hoffman said.

The shop has two employees, besides the Hoffmans.

Maine-ly Pawn is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours are subject to change.

For more information, call 563-7070. To view Mark Hoffman's items for sale on eBay, visit http://www.ebay.com/usr/hoffa1.

Related Links:
• Mark Hoffman on eBay



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