Of all the friendly faces here at TNT Pawn, the one belonging to Michael Chavarria, our genial shop manager, may be the most infectious. He loves the pawn business, and his genuine and ready smile reflects the satisfaction he derives from helping our valuable customers achieve their financial goals.
If you’ve ever been in the store, you have undoubtedly met Michael and probably worked with him on a loan, trade or purchase. The positive interaction you likely experienced owes not only to his 13 years in the business, but also to a natural ability in Michael to connect with people.
Michael entered the pawn business on a part-time basis in 2003 right out of high school, when he was looking for a better paying job to finance his studies in computer engineering at DeVry University. He worked his way to up to assistant manager by the time he was 19, and as things turned out, the longer he stayed in the business, the more he liked it. Soon, his college aspirations gave way to a career in pawn.
“I loved the business so much that I decided to train for a management position. At 20 years old I was offered my very first shop as the store manager,” Michael said. “I took several diamonds and jewelry courses online and in-class training and became a jewelry expert.
“At 21 years old I became a mentor manager for the market where I taught the jewelry and other classes in the state of Arizona. I also trained new shop managers and helped them acclimate to the pawn business. Later at 26 I became an area manager where I was responsible for 10 different locations in Arizona.”
It was while he was at Super Pawn that Michael met and was mentored by Mark Johnson, our director of consumer lending. When MJ (as Mark is known) left for TNT, he made sure to take Michael along with him.
“I have not met anyone who doesn’t respect and really like Michael,” MJ says. “He’s a guy who people instantly take to. He is trustworthy, kindhearted, and he truly endeavors to treat customers with respect and find ways to help them. That’s what makes him most successful.”
Have you ever wondered what three things Michael likes best about pawn but were afraid to ask?
1. Making people’s lives easier
“I grew up in a fairly low income home. My parents had a two-bedroom apartment with me and three of my brothers. We all shared the same room, and growing up I noticed how hard it was to always pay the bills and keep food on the table. Getting to work here, I have the opportunity to help families in need and just make things that much easier for them. I love it when customers come back and thank me for helping them out in such times. It gives me that warm fuzzy feeling inside.”
2. Helping team members fulfill their potential
“I love helping people grow. Over time I helped many people grow and better their lives, as I have had the same opportunity myself. I love training my employees and providing them with well-deserved opportunities. I also get that warm fuzzy feeling when employees call to thank me later down the line.”
“I love playing the haggle game with customers. When I’m walking around the shop and talking to my customers, they always want to try to barter on what they are purchasing. I think I may have trained them to do that as well! And I have played fun games with customers where I flip a coin to take their price or mine. All fun stuff.”
Be sure to say hello on your next visit. Michael would love to help!