Empire Editorial: Juneau's secondhand shops have chance to be heroes

Operators of Juneau’s secondhand stores have the opportunity to be heroes, even if they’re the reluctant kind.

 

The 7-2 passage of an ordinance by Assembly members this week will require shops that re-sell electronics, jewelry and gold valued at more than $50 to hold those items for at least 30 days. The reasoning is that if stolen goods are sold to secondhand shops, the wait will allow crime victims time to retrieve their valuables.

With the exception of Juneau Gold Buyer owner Dylan Hammons, the businesses that will be most impacted aren’t in favor of changing the rules. Holding merchandise for a month will hurt business, they say. These individuals are looking at the situation from the wrong angle.

What’s bad for business is when a community knows a local shop is used to fence stolen goods but the owner does nothing to prevent it. When any store puts the almighty dollar ahead of what’s right, the perception that spreads from one resident to the next is that the business, its owners and employees shouldn’t be trusted. In short, it’s bad for a shop’s image and its community relations.

On the other hand, if these businesses can reunite community members with their precious — and sometimes irreplaceable — belongings, imagine the kind of goodwill and community endorsement an act like that will lead to. It’s the kind of PR you can’t buy with an advertisement.

Instead of being viewed as the villains who bought someone’s stolen property and resold it for a profit, Juneau’s secondhand stores now have the chance to play the role of hero.

• Empire editorials are written by the Juneau Empire’s editorial board. Members include Publisher Rustan Burton, rustan.burton@juneauempire.com; Director of Audience Abby Lowell, abby.lowell@juneauempire.com; Managing Editor Charles L. Westmoreland, charles.westmoreland@juneauempire.com; and Asst. Editor James Brooks, james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com.

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