‘Pawn Stars’ Update: Chumlee’s Boss Rick Harrison Sets The Record Straight

Just three months after the Inquisitr reported that Chumlee accepted a plea deal for his March drugs and weapons arrest, his best friend’s dad and longtime Pawn Stars boss Rick Harrison has now found himself on the hot seat. Four of the businesses at the Pawn Plaza adjacent to the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop have closed down. One former tenant complained to a Las Vegas television station that Rick Harrison was a bad landlord and claims that promises were made that Harrison did not fulfill. Just last week, an unnamed owner claims that Pawn Plaza is going under. What are the accusations, and does Rick Harrison set the record straight? Also, does this mean that Rick Harrison’s pawn shop is in financial trouble?

Promised to be what KTNV described as the “ultimate money maker,” Pawn Plaza was developed by Harrison as an opportunity to cash in on his Pawn Stars popularity. The birth of Pawn Plaza was quite organic. As the History Channel show Pawn Stars attracted so many visitors to the World Famous Gold And Silver Pawn Shop, Harrison, ever the entrepreneur, realized he had an opportunity hiding in plain sight. The swarm of out-of-town visitors who ventured out to the pawn shop were looking for a snack or full meal. “And I am sitting on this really nice piece of property on Las Vegas Boulevard. Why not?” This is part of why Harrison decided to create a food mall for all of the hungry visitors and curiosity seekers. “If you have all this weirdness coming together, it makes it cool.”

When creating Pawn Plaza, Harrison was specific in the kinds of tenants that he wanted. He chose independent businesses to be part of the container complex. He told the Vegas Eater that he made a point of turning down any national chains. Yet, as with any small business, these business owners could have a lot of experience in starting a new business venture, or they could totally lack any sort of preparation for what it takes to make a business successful. For whatever reason, their expectations were not met and blamed Harrison for their failure. Harrison himself pointed out that only about 50 percent of all businesses fail in that first year.

One former Pawn Plaza tenant who remains anonymous for fear of backlash claims that there were only about “30 to 40 customers a day, on a busy day.” The business owner who says that he lost his life’s savings then added that there were “days we were struggling to make $200.” The former tenant at Pawn Plaza claimed that the only advertisement was for the pawn shop and that his rent was decreased because of problems with the building and that Harrison was not getting repairs done in a timely fashion.

Harrison sees this a different way. He stated that the failed businesses did not advertise their shops. Pawn Plaza had a cornucopia of promotions in the 10 months that it was open. Just a few of the promotions included a dine around with media day, a NASCAR day, which included 400 drivers and even Pawn Stars favorite Chumlee spinning the tunes as DJ at Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke, signing autographs as well as hosting charity events at the Plaza. Harrison blames the lack of business to the lack of advertising.

“I am the landlord and I really tried to help promote them. In the end, you have to do your own marketing, When times are good, you advertise; when times are bad, you must advertise.”

In regard to the maintenance issue, Harrison claimed that this was a non-issue as he had a maintenance person dedicated to only the pawn shop and Pawn Plaza and available at all times of the day. Harrison insists that any maintenance work that needed to be done could have been taken care of within an hour. Most of all, the patriarch of Pawn Stars insists that he was not there to be a bad landlord. Instead, he wanted each business to succeed. Their success would mean money for him.

“I am a landlord. I want them to make money. Making money is my third or fourth favorite thing in the world.”

From all accounts, it does not appear that the Pawn Stars shop is in any sort of financial trouble. Based on the television report, customers are still flocking to the shop. Obviously, Rick Harrison wants to make his business venture Pawn Plaza a success. Always forward thinking and realistic, Harrison wanted to create something that would outlast Pawn Stars. He knows that the hugely popular History Channel show is not going to last forever. As his own pawn shop has been such a success, it is natural that he wants to extend that success with Pawn Plaza, making the television show just a future tv trivia question.

“Five or 10 years from now, people are going to be sitting around going, ‘Wasn’t there a show about four fat guys in a pawn shop?”

What do you think of the accusations hurled at Rick Harrison? Do you think that Chumlee’s boss set the record straight?

[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]